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Unemployment Benefits in the Age of Coronavirus

With record numbers of people seeking to collect unemployment benefits, applying has become very difficult for many. Understanding the various components can be even more complicated.

There are essentially four types of unemployment benefits that are presently available:

  1. Regular Unemployment Insurance (UI) – The typical unemployment benefits that are normally available, paid through deductions from employees’ wages. Benefits are half an employee’s wages, capped at $504/week.
  1. Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) – Additional benefits for individuals who exhaust their UI benefits or exhausted their benefits after July 1, 2019. Provides up to 13 additional weeks of benefits if the employee remains unemployed. You must be denied regular UI before you can obtain this benefit.
  1. Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) – For non-traditional recipients, i.e. self-employed workers and independent contractors who are unable to work due to COVID-19. Up to 39 weeks of benefits, but not available if you are able to telework with pay or are receiving other types of benefits, like disability.
  1. Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (PUC) – Recipients of UI and PUA receive another $600 per week until the end of July 2020. PUC benefits are only available beginning April 5, unlike PUA benefits, which can be paid retroactively beginning January 27, 2020.

For more specific information on what you are entitled to receive, please use the New York Department of Labor’s benefits calculator.

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