The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act

The federal Coronavirus, Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) was signed into law in March 2020. The CARES Act created the following federal Reemployment Assistance programs:

  • Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA)
  • Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC)

The CARES Act also created the following federal supplemental Reemployment Assistance
program:

  • Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC)

On June 7, 2020, Extended Benefits were triggered on for the first time since 2009. Extended Benefits is a federal program implemented by the state. Extended Benefits authorizes up to an additional six weeks of benefits to eligible claimants who exhausted Reemployment Assistance benefits during periods of high unemployment. Extended Benefits ended on November 7, 2020, when Florida crossed the threshold of economic recovery that triggered the ending of the Extended Benefits program.

In August of 2020, the President issued a memorandum authorizing the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to use the Disaster Relief Fund to provide grants to the states to make supplemental lost wages payments to those receiving at least $100 in weekly Reemployment Assistance benefits and were unemployed as a result of COVID-19. These federal supplemental benefits are referred to as Lost Wages Assistance (LWA). LWA was available to eligible claimants for weeks of unemployment ending August 1, 2020, through the week ending August 22, 2020. The Continued Assistance for Unemployed Workers Act (“Continued Assistance Act”) was then signed into law in December 2020, which extended PUA, PEUC, and FPUC. The Continued Assistance Act also created the federal Mixed Earner Unemployment Compensation (MEUC) program.

Lastly, the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA Act) of 2021 was signed into law in March 2021, further extending federal Reemployment Assistance benefits (PUA, PEUC, FPUC, and MEUC) to September 6, 2021. The Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) program, $300 per week supplemental FPUC payment, expired on June 26, 2021, as part of DEO’s ‘Return to Work’ initiative. In addition, as Florida opted out of the FPUC program, the U.S. Department of Labor (USDOL) required that Florida end its participation in the Mixed Earners Unemployment Compensation (MEUC) program, effective June 26, 2021.



The CARES Act provided the following unemployment insurance benefit programs:

 

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PUA

Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) 


The Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program provided up to 86 weeks of Reemployment Assistance benefits to individuals who were self-employed, independent contractors, certain non-profit employees and gig economy workers, as well as to individuals working part-time, or who otherwise would not qualify for regular state Reemployment Assistance benefits under state or federal law or PEUC. Floridians may have been eligible for up to $275 in weekly benefits for the week beginning February 2, 2020, through the week ending September 6, 2021.

PEUC

Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC)


Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) is a federal CARES Act program administered by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) that allows up to an additional 53 weeks of unemployment benefits to the end of state Reemployment Assistance benefits. Through PEUC, Floridians were eligible for up to $275 in weekly benefits beginning March 29, 2020, through the week ending September 6, 2021.

Individuals must have met the following criteria in order to apply for PEUC:

  • The balance of their current Reemployment Assistance claim is expired or exhausted and they remain unemployed.
  • They have a Reemployment Assistance claim that expired after July 1, 2019.

EB

Extended Benefits (EB)


On June 7, 2020, Extended Benefits were triggered on for the first time since 2009. Extended Benefits is a federal program implemented by the state. The U.S. Department of Labor uses a state’s unemployment metrics to determine when the state’s Extended Benefits program will begin and end. By law, Extended Benefits become available to claimants when the state’s 13-week insured unemployment rate (IUR) is above 5.0%. Extended Benefits authorizes up to an additional six weeks of benefits to eligible claimants who exhausted Reemployment Assistance benefits during periods of high unemployment. Extended Benefits ended on November 7, 2020, when Florida crossed the threshold of economic recovery that triggered the ending of the Extended Benefits program.

LWA

Lost Wages Assistance (LWA)


Lost Wages Assistance (LWA) was a federal program provided to states through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The state of Florida provided eligible Floridians who had a weekly benefit amount of at least $100 in an eligible state or Federal Reemployment Assistance program and whose unemployment had been disrupted by COVID-19, an additional $300 per week, for the benefit week beginning August 1, 2020, through the week ending August 28, 2020.

FPUC

Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC)


Florida ended its participation in the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) program, the $300 per week supplemental FPUC payment, effective June 26, 2021, as part of DEO’s ‘Return to Work’ initiative.

Under FPUC, eligible individuals received an additional $600 per week for the week beginning March 29, 2020, through the week ending July 25, 2020, and $300 per week for the week beginning December 27, 2020, through the week ending June 26, 2021, in addition to their weekly state Reemployment Assistance or other CARES Act program benefits.

FPUC is payable alongside the following programs:

  • Individuals who are collecting regular state Reemployment Assistance benefits
  • Individuals receiving Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC)
  • Individuals receiving Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA)

MEUC

Mixed Earner Unemployment Compensation (MEUC)


Mixed Earner Unemployment Compensation (MEUC) was a federally funded program that provided an additional $100 per week to eligible individuals in addition to the benefits they were receiving for the week beginning January 2, 2021, through the week ending June 26, 2021.

  • Individuals eligible for MEUC would have received at least $5,000 in net income from self-employment for the tax year prior to their initial claim.

Reemployment Assistance Waivers

Reemployment Assistance Waivers


DEO waived the waiting week requirement for claimants for the week beginning March 15, 2020, through the week ending June 26, 2021. The governor also waived the work search and work registration requirements for the week beginning March 15, 2020, through the week ending May 29, 2021

Benefit Program Infographic

Benefit Program Infographic


The Benefit Program Infographic provides an overview of the different programs and benefits that were available during the pandemic period.


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