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CARES Act extension and changes to unemployment benefit programs

The Department of Unemployment Assistance (DUA) offers information on changes to benefit programs related to COVID-19 based on the American Rescue Plan Act.

The information below is based upon the most recent guidance from the U.S. Department of Labor. This website will be updated frequently.

NOTE: When your benefit year ends, you must reapply even if you did not work in the past year.  (Your benefit year ends 52 weeks after you applied for UI.)  If you worked in the past year, DUA will recalculate your weekly benefit amount. If your new benefit amount is lower by at least $25 and your benefit year ended after December 27, 2020, you can stay at the higher amount while getting extended weeks under the Pandemic Employment Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) program. (You cannot get the higher weekly benefit amount if you were getting regular UI or federal Extended Benefits (EB) when your benefit year ended.) 

Table of Contents

Overview and Implementation Details

The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, which extends benefits under the CARES Act, and provides new qualification requirements, was signed into law on March 11, 2021.

Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC)

  • As of January 6, 2021, DUA has implemented FPUC for UI claimants. The additional $300 was added to weekly benefit payments for the week ending January 2, 2021.
  • PUA claimants will receive their FPUC payments beginning Monday, Jan. 11, 2021.
  • These additional benefits will continue until the week ending on September 4, 2021.

Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA)

  • DUA has implemented the extended PUA program and benefits are available until the week ending September 4, 2021.
  • PUA claimants may now receive up to 79 weeks of benefits.

Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC)

  • The extended PEUC program (PEUC 1.1) has now been implemented in UI Online. Claimants may now receive up to 53 weeks of PEUC in total.
  • Claimants need to request PEUC benefit weeks through UI Online.
  • The PEUC program will conclude the week ending September 4, 2021. 

Extended Benefits (EB)

  • Extended Benefits (EB) will remain active due to continued federal funding until conditions for the 13-week entitlement “trigger off.” Eligible claimants are receiving their weekly benefits.
  • Claimants who exhaust EB need just continue certifying for benefits and will automatically transition on to PEUC 1.1.

Mixed Earners Unemployment Compensation (MEUC)

  • The Mixed Earners Unemployment Compensation (MEUC) program was created as part of the Continued Assistance Act to assist workers who qualified for traditional unemployment, but also had income from self-employment or gig work that is not included in the calculation of their regular unemployment benefits.
  • MEUC applies only to traditional unemployment claimants. Claimants who receive Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) are ineligible for MEUC.
  • You must be receiving an unemployment benefit from traditional unemployment, including Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PEUC) and Extended Benefits (EB). Claimants who are receiving benefits from Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) are not eligible for MEUC.
  • You must be receiving an unemployment benefit for claims week(s) covered by the MEUC program, which are the weeks ending Jan. 2, 2021 through Sept. 4, 2021.
  • You must have earned at least $5,000 in net self-employment income in the most recent taxable year prior to your application for regular unemployment compensation.
  • You must apply and submit documentation which clearly shows $5,000 net income.
  • To apply to MEUC program please visit: https://ui-cares-act.mass.gov/PUA/ 

Additional Resources

Summary of Programs

As a reminder, among the changes contained in the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 are:

American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 Program Summary - Extends CARES Act programs to week ending 9/4/2021
Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC)
  • Provides an additional $300 weekly benefit to eligible claimants.
  • A claimant must be eligible through a separate unemployment program to receive FPUC.
  • FPUC will be available for weeks of unemployment ending September 4, 2021.
Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA)
  • Provides an additional 29 weeks of benefits, to a maximum of 79 weeks. 
  • The PUA program will conclude the week ending September 4, 2021. 
  • New claimants filing after January 31, 2021 will be required to provide documentation of employment, self-employment, or a qualifying job offer within 21 days of filing. Claimants with established claims receiving payments in 2021 will have 90 days from the date they are notified to provide such documentation.
Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC)
  • Provides an additional 29 weeks of benefits, up to a maximum of 53 weeks. 
  • The PEUC program will conclude the week ending September 4, 2021. 
Extended Benefits (EB)
  • Extended Benefits (EB) will remain active due to continued federal funding until conditions for the 13-week entitlement “trigger off.” 
Mixed Earners Unemployment Compensation (MEUC)
  • The Mixed Earners Unemployment Compensation (MEUC) program was created as part of the Continued Assistance Act to assist workers who qualified for traditional unemployment, but also had income from self-employment or gig work that is not included in the calculation of their regular unemployment benefits.
  • MEUC applies only to traditional unemployment claimants. Claimants who receive Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) are ineligible for MEUC.
  • MEUC provides an additional $100 weekly benefit to eligible claimants.
  • Applicants who are determined eligible for the MEUC program and are paid at least $1 of their underlying unemployment benefit amount for any week of unemployment, will also receive a $100 supplemental MEUC payment. This is provided in addition to the $300 FPUC payment.

 

Contact

Phone

Call Center (877) 626-6800

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

TeleCert Line (Automated system is operational*) (617) 626-6338

To request weekly benefits, daily 6 a.m.–10 p.m.

Payment Status Line (Automated System is operational*) (617) 626-6563

To check your claim or benefit payment status (*please do not transfer to an agent while in the system-this is not staffed at this time)

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