The Covid-19 pandemic hit hard worldwide, with many people losing their jobs due to lockdowns and quarantines. Different states across the United States offered temporary financial relief to their citizens to help during the hard times.
The Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) is one of the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Insurance Programs adopted in Maryland to offer financial relief to unemployed and underemployed citizens during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Unemployment benefits under PUA in Maryland were available to those who were out of work temporarily without any fault on their part due to the pandemic. PUA offered benefits for claimants who could not claim the regular unemployment insurance and were jobless because of Covid-19, including independent contractors, gig workers, self-employed individuals, and people with insufficient work history. Details about PUA are outlined below:
PUA was available for different individuals facing different Covid-19-reated issues. Those who were faced with permanent or temporary layoff or reduction of hours resulting from Covid-19 public health issues and those who were employed, but the workplace was closed because of the pandemic were eligible.
Those who were forced to quit their job due to the pandemic, had become the primary provider because the household head died from Covid-19, were diagnosed with Covid-19, or had a household member diagnosed with the same were also eligible.
Those who were scheduled to begin working but could not because of the pandemic, could not reach the workplace because of lockdowns and quarantines, or worked at educational institutions and were fully or partially unemployed because of volatility in the working schedules directly caused by the pandemic could apply for the relief.
Lastly, those who were denied regular unemployment benefits because they refused a job offer or refused to go to work because the workplace was not compliant with the Covid-19 safety standards could also apply for PUA.
Documents and information required during application
The first details required when applying for PUA was personal information. The personal information needed included date of birth, social security number, telephone number, email address, residential address, details of dependents under 16 years, and alien registration Number for non-US citizens.
Documents to show proof of employment were also needed to apply for PUA. The documents required included paycheck stubs, W-2 forms, and leave and earning statements with employer’s address and names. Self-employed individuals were required to have business licenses, tax returns, federal or state employer identification numbers, relevant business permits, and signed affidavits to verify self-employment.
For those who had been offered a job but were unable to start, you needed to show proof you planned to begin employment before the pandemic started, including documents offering employment and statements with names and contact information from individuals verifying an employment offer.
For those who planned to start a business before the pandemic began, you needed to show proof that you planned to become self-employed, including business plans, employer identification numbers, business licenses, and lease agreements
End of Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA)
PUA was a temporary financial relief program that was part of the temporary Federal Pandemic Unemployment Insurance Programs. The programs came to an end when normality resumed in most states. PUA expired on September 4, 2021, after jobs were in good supply. Eligible claims were processed for weeks of eligibility that ended on or before the expiry date.
Many people faced difficult financial times during the pandemic because of lockdowns and quarantines that prevented them from working. The president signed the Covid-19 relief bill that provided temporary financial relief to citizens during that time. PUA, in Maryland, helped many people who were unemployed or underemployed due to Covid-19.
Can I still apply for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) in 2022)?
PUA expired in 2021 after people began returning to work and is no longer available today.