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Apply for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance

Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) provides up to 46 weeks of unemployment benefits to individuals who are unable to work because of a COVID-19-related reason but are not eligible for regular or extended unemployment benefits.
You should apply for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance retroactive to your first week of total or partial unemployment. Most regular UI claims are processed within 21-28 days after filing, and many are processed within the first week of filing.

Department of Unemployment Assistance

Phone

Open 8:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m., Monday–Friday. Multilingual call agents are available.

Online

To access PUA application online: Log in as a claimant 

The Details of Apply for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance

What you need for Apply for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance

Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) provides payment to workers not traditionally eligible for unemployment benefits (self-employed, independent contractors, workers with limited work history, and others) who are unable to work as a direct result of the coronavirus public health emergency.

Applicants will need to provide the following information:

  • Your social security number
  • If you are not a citizen of the United States, your A Number (USCIS Number)
  • Your residential address
  • Your mailing address (if different from residential address)
  • Your telephone number
  • Your email address
  • Your birth date
  • Your wage records for 2019, which includes:
    • 1099 forms
    • Pay stubs
    • Bank statements
  • The social security number(s) and date(s) of birth for your dependent child(ren)
  • If you want to use direct deposit for payment, your bank account and routing numbers

You may also be asked to verify your identity.

For more information on eligibility, please view our Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Guide.

Weekly benefit amount

All accepted applications will initially receive the minimum weekly benefit amount. Once a worker’s wages are verified, weekly benefit amounts may increase.

How to apply Apply for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance

You can complete the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance application by visiting https://ui-cares-act.mass.gov/PUA/_/. The application is mobile-friendly and can be completed in under 30 minutes if you have the appropriate documentation.

Resources on Pandemic Unemployment Assistance are available in Spanish here. A Spanish video tutorial on successfully completing the application is also available here.

Various translations of the guidebook are available here.

Next steps for Apply for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance

  1. The Department of Unemployment Assistance will review your application

    The Department of Unemployment Assistance will review your Pandemic Unemployment Assistance application and confirm details, including whether you are unemployed for a COVID-19 related reason, proof of your total wages, and whether, other than your COVID-19 related reason, you are able and available to work.

  2. Continue to certify for weekly benefits

    You must certify for benefits every week that your work is impacted by COVID-19. You can certify for benefits online at https://ui-cares-act.mass.gov/PUA/_/ by logging into your account. This is accessible twenty-four hours a day and seven days a week.

  3. Respond promptly to all requests you receive from the Department of Unemployment Assistance

    If there is a question of eligibility, you may receive a fact-finding questionnaire from the Department of Unemployment Assistance requesting information from you. You must respond to this questionnaire by the deadline specified. Failure to respond may result in a disqualification from receiving benefits. You can respond by logging into your account at https://ui-cares-act.mass.gov/PUA/_/.

  4. The Department of Unemployment Assistance will send a decision

    This decision tells you whether you’ve been approved for Pandemic Unemployment Benefits and how much you will potentially receive. If your application is denied, you can appeal the decision within 30 days. You can view decisions and file appeals by logging into your account at https://ui-cares-act.mass.gov/PUA/_/.

  5. Payment

    If you are approved for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance benefits, a payment will be made within 4-7 business days for individuals choosing direct deposit. For all others, a payment will be made within 10-14 business days.

More info for Apply for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance

Weekly benefits, including any increase to your weekly benefit amount, will be retroactive to January 27, 2020, or the date when you became unemployed, whichever is more recent, as long as you became unable to work because of a COVID-19 related reason.

Please note that, initially, the system can only pay benefits retroactively to the week ending March 14, 2020. Eligible workers will be able to certify for and to request benefits retroactively to January 27, 2020 if their dates of unemployment make them eligible.

Frequently asked questions about Pandemic Unemployment Assistance can be found on our CARES Act page and Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Guide.

Downloads for Apply for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance

Contact for Apply for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance

Phone

Open 8:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m., Monday–Friday. Multilingual call agents are available.

Online
To access PUA application online: Log in as a claimant 
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