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PUA: Guide to Applying

Updated: Feb 10, 2021

1. FAQ's before applying

Where do I go to apply for PUA?

  • It's the same as regular unemployment, through the UI portal here.

  • If you haven't made an account, register and the bottom

  • File a New Claim

  • Guide for eligibility here.

What do I need to apply?

  • Proof of citizenship or employment authorization

  • Net income from 2019 taxes - Schedule C, line 31

How do I know if I'm eligible to receive PUA? If you meet one of the following:

  • You had a definite date to begin work, but the job is no longer available, or you could not reach the job as a direct result of COVID-19.

  • You are unable to travel to your job as a direct result of COVID-19.

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

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

  • You are unemployed, partially employed, or unable to work because COVID-19 has forced you to stop working.

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

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

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

  • You are caring for a dependent during the work day because their school or another care facility has closed due to COVID-19.

  • Your healthcare provider has told you to self-quarantine because of COVID-19.

  • You have become the main income provider due to a COVID-19 death in your household.

2. FAQ's while applying

I am applying for PUA through UI Online, and the application asks me to list my total income. Is this gross or net income, and why am I being asked for this information?

  • When you apply for PUA, you will be asked for your total income received in calendar year 2019. The income you report may be used to increase your PUA weekly benefit amount from the minimum amount of $167 up to $450, based on your income (regardless of the amount of income you report, you will receive an additional $600 with your PUA weekly benefit amount, for weeks you were out of work due to COVID-19 from March 29, 2020 to July 25, 2020). If you are self-employed or an independent contractor, the law requires that the EDD look at your net income, total after taxes, to determine your PUA weekly benefit amount.

What are some tips for applying?

  • On the Employment History screen when you supply your last employer information, select "No."

  • On the Availability Information page, answer question 7 with "No."

  • On the Disaster Information page, answer question 1a.3 with “You are an independent contractor.” If you got paid in cash, select “None of these options apply to me.”

DOUBLE CHECK FOR SPELLING ERRORS! Triple check birthdate, social security, driver's license and name!! Don't put yourself in the identity verification black hole.


1. General information

  • Applicant Info: social security, date of birth, gender, name, etc

  • Driver license information

  • Prior claim info (see below)

  • Contact info

  • Citizenship info

  • Statistical Info

2. Last Employer

Last Employer:

If you are self-employed and have been self employed for the last 18 months

  • NO you did not work for any employer for the last 18 months

  • YES if you did in fact have a W2 employer in the last 18 months

School Employee information

3. Employment History

  1. Search for work type

  2. Search for another type of work you can perform

  3. Is your work seasonal? Yes if only certain times of the year, NO if employed year round

  4. Do you expect to return to a former employer? If you don't have an employer (because you are self employed) then click NO.

  5. Do you have a date to start work? Most are answering NO because the end date to quarantine is unknown

  6. Are you ready and willing to accept work? Should be YES (ignoring the fact of COVID. This is a big question that can automatically disqualify you by saying no with regular unemployment)

  7. Are you currently self-employed or plan to be self-employed? If you are impacted by COVID-19 pandemic CLICK NO. This question has been the most confusing of all, but click NO if the pandemic has effected you

  8. Are you a member of a union? Yes/No depending on if you are

4. Additional Information:

Disaster information:

Are you unemployed as direct result of recent disaster? YES

  • 1a. COVID-19

  • 1a.2 Enter NET income (line 31 of schedule C from 2019)

  • 1a.3 Provide description of how your work has been impacted and why you are unable to work ("state mandated quarantine orders" or "non-essential work") -- as an independent contractor, click bubble that says "you are an independent contractor with reportable income..."

  • 1b. State the county you reside in

  • 1c. State the county you worked in (if worked from home, it's same as 1b)

  • 1d. If you travel for work and you had to travel through a disaster county, put YES

  • 1e. Unemployed self-employed individual (if you are self-employed and don't have any other prospective work currently)

  • 1.e2 State your weekly hours

  • 1e.3 Physical address of your business (put business location if you have one, if you work from home put your home address. Do not list who you contract with if 1099)

  • 1f. Declare and done

Certification Preference


3. FAQ's after initial application

What's next after applying?

  • It'll take 2-3 weeks for your claim to process

  • You should receive your EDD account number, which will allow you to sign in

  • Online account will say "Check back on xx/xx/xxxx" - log in after that date to certify for the two weeks prior

  • Once you get paid, you will receive for Bank of America debit card 7-10 business days

  • You can set up your BoA account online and transfer money to your personal account (there is no direct deposit)

I haven't filed my 2019 taxes, will they go off of 2018 taxes?

  • This is not 100%, but some members have reported that some people have received an increase despite not filing the 2019 taxes yet.

I applied in March, but I still have 0.00. What should I do?

  • If you applied before 4/28, the applications for PUA were not implemented yet. You need to go into the online portal and apply again.

I made a mistake!! What do I do?

  • The only way to correct a mistake is contacting EDD. There is not a way to make changes online. Here are phone tips.

4. FAQ's after having access to online portal

I got everything with $0.00's. What's next?

  • If you had not waited at least 2-3 weeks, that is how long it takes to process

  • If you applied prior to 4/28/20, you need to reapply because they have the PUA up for 1099, self-employed and independent contractors now

  • If you applied AFTER 4/28/20, wait at least 2 weeks before calling. It could just be processing time causing the delay.

I just certified, how long will it take for me to receive money?

  • If you certified for only two weeks - the regular amount, it should take only a few days for it to show up on your Bank of America account.

  • If you certified for MULTIPLE weeks -- expect at least one week for ALL of those to process

Will they backpay me for my increase? Will I get the $600?

  • Any weeks between February 2, 2020 and July 25, 2020 should get the additional $600 assuming the weeks are eligible (you are able and avail to work, etc)

  • If you received an increase, all qualifying weeks should be retro-paid to you

It says "Check back on xx/xx/xxxx" - what does that mean?

  • It means check back on that date

  • On that date you will have weeks to certify for. Log in online and you will have to answer eligibility questions for specific weeks

  • Once you answer those questions, if there are no problems and you meet eligibility, it should be processed and paid to your bank account within 48 hours.

  • Read more about certifying in this article here

More about PUA


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Tools & Resources:

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  • Do I qualify for LWA?

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