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PUA: Am I Eligible?

Updated: Jan 16

What should I do if I don’t know if I am eligible for UI or PUA?

  • UI Online is the EDD’s application portal for both regular UI and PUA claims. Based on your responses as well as wage information reported to the EDD, the EDD will determine if your claim is processed as a regular UI claim or a PUA claim.

  • Guide to applying HERE.

  • Portal to register HERE.


Am I eligible for PUA?

You may qualify for PUA benefits if you are unemployed, partially unemployed, unable to work or unavailable to work as a direct result of a COVID-19 related reason and you meet one of the following criteria:

  • You are a business owner, self-employed, independent contractor or gig worker (and are not participating in the UI Elective Coverage program). You will be able to indicate if you have no employment wages (for example, you did not receive a W-2), solely for the purpose of applying for the PUA program (and not to be used for any other purpose). However, you may proceed with a regular Unemployment Insurance (UI) claim if you believe you were misclassified and have wages from an employer.

  • You don’t have sufficient work history. This generally means you don’t have enough wages reported as an employee during the last 18 months to establish a regular UI claim. This could be the case if you are self-employed or an independent contractor. But this could also be the case if you are an employee with insufficient earnings. To qualify for PUA based on insufficient work history, you must have been recently employed, which could be satisfied if you had a bona fide offer to start working on a specific date but were unable to start as a direct result of a COVID-19 related reason.

  • You have collected all unemployment benefits for which you were eligible and remain unemployed or partially unemployed as a direct result of a COVID-19 reason. This means that you were qualified for regular UI but have exhausted those benefits, as well as any extended benefits.


What are COVID-19 related reasons for being out of work under PUA?

  • You have been diagnosed with COVID-19 or are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and are seeking a medical diagnosis.

  • You are unable to work because a health care provider advised you to self-quarantine due to concerns related to COVID-19.

  • A member of your household has been diagnosed with COVID-19.

  • You are providing care for a family member or a member of your household who has been diagnosed with COVID-19.

  • A child or other person in the household for whom you have primary caregiving responsibility is unable to attend school or another facility that is closed as a direct result of the COVID-19 and the school or facility care is required for you to work.

  • You became the breadwinner or major support for a household because the head of the household has died as a direct result of COVID-19.

  • You have to quit your job as a direct result of COVID-19.

  • Your place of employment is closed as a direct result of COVID-19.

  • You were scheduled to start a job that is now unavailable as a direct result of the COVID-19 public health emergency.

  • You are unable to reach the place of employment as a direct result of the COVID-19 public health emergency.

  • If you work as an independent contractor with reportable income, you may also qualify for PUA benefits if you are unemployed, partially employed, or unable or unavailable to work because the COVID-19 public health emergency has severely limited your ability to continue performing your customary work activities, and has thereby forced you to stop working.

  • FAQ's located here.

What do I need to prepare for my application?

1) Proof of Citizenship or employment authorization

2) Employment history (last 18 months)

  • Company/companies as they appear on your paycheck -- if you are self-employed or an independent contractor you will LIST YOURSELF as the employer

  • Dates of employment

  • Hours worked per week

  • Net income from 2019 tax return

  • The reason you are no longer working

  • The reason for your change in employment.

What do I need to prepare if I'm a former federal employee or served in the military?

  • If you are a former federal employee, have your Notice to Federal Employees About Unemployment Insurance (Standard Form 8) ready.

  • If you served in the military in the last 18 months, have your Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty (DD 214) ready.


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