Unemployment Insurance is a joint state-federal program that provides benefits to eligible workers. Each state administers a separate UI program with state-specific laws and rules, but states must also follow the same guidelines established by federal law. Any answer given on a claim raising a question regarding a person’s eligibility must be fully investigated before benefits may be paid; this is referred to as the adjudication process.
Adjudication is the investigation and resolution of eligibility issues raised on unemployment insurance claims. Adjudication is a manual process that requires interested parties be provided due notice to respond to the eligibility issue. Eligibility issues arise from several places including the initial claim, weekly claim, employer contact, claimant contact, and tips from the public. Under normal conditions, adjudication typically takes 21 days to process.
Regular Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits: If you are out of work through no fault of your own, and you have worked for a covered employer (an employer who pays UI tax) in the last 18 months, you may be eligible for and should apply for regular UI benefits. Regular UI is available for up to 26 weeks (dependent upon an individual’s specific situation).
Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC): A temporary program that provides up to 13 additional weeks of payments to individuals who have exhausted their regular UI benefits.
Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA): If you are not eligible for regular UI, you may be eligible for PUA. This is a temporary federal program that provides up to 39 weeks of unemployment benefits to individuals who are not eligible for regular UI such as:
Individuals who are self-employed;
Certain independent contractors;
Individuals with limited recent work history; and
Other workers not covered by regular UI.
Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC): A temporary emergency increase of $600 per week in unemployment benefits. FPUC provided an additional payment to individuals who are collecting regular UI, PEUC, EB, or PUA. It was automatically added to the weekly benefit rate. FPUC benefits ended on July 25, 2020.
Lost Wages Assistance (LWA): This program is a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) program that provides an additional $300 per week to eligible claimants who certify that they are unemployed or partially unemployed due to disruptions caused by COVID-19. LWA payments will be made retroactively to eligible people for up to six weeks: the weeks ending August 1, August 8, August 15, August 22, August 29, and September 5, 2020. FEMA will not fund any weeks after September 5, 2020.