COVID-19 Unemployment Insurance Claims Update

The Federal CARES Act extended the length of benefits, increased benefit amounts, and expanded access to unemployment benefits for self-employed, contractors, gig workers, and those receiving 1099s. The Massachusetts Department of Unemployment Assistance (DUA) has been working to implement these expansions.

Information provided below has been taken from the DUA website.

Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation

The FPUC program will provide an additional $600 per week to individuals who are collecting Unemployment.

DUA has already begun implementing the FPUC program for regular unemployment claimants. The $600 will be added to all eligible weeks of benefits retroactive to March 29, 2020 and continuing until July 31, 2020. FPUC monetary disbursements will begin immediately in Massachusetts for those who are currently collecting benefits on regular UC claims. Those receiving PEUC, PUA, and EB will receive the additional $600 payments retroactive to March 29, 2020 as soon as their claims are processed and determined eligible.

If you have already enrolled in unemployment benefits, you will receive these benefits automatically.

Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation

The PEUC program provides up to 13 weeks of unemployment insurance benefits to individuals who have exhausted their previous unemployment benefits.

The first week a claimant can be compensated on this benefit is the week beginning March 29, 2020, and the last payable week is the week ending December 26, 2020. DUA is awaiting additional federal guidance on how to implement and administer this program and the extended weeks of PEUC benefits are not yet available.

Pandemic Unemployment Assistance

PUA will provide up to 39 weeks of unemployment benefits to individuals who are not working as a result of COVID-19 and are self-employed, independent contractors, gig economy workers, and others who otherwise would not qualify for regular unemployment benefits.

These individuals will not be able to claim benefits directly through the UI Online System in Massachusetts, as of this time. The Department of Unemployment Assistance has engaged a vendor to build a new platform to disburse PUA benefits. The platform is expected to begin accepting PUA claims on or around April 30, 2020. Eligible claimants under PUA will be retroactively compensated with this benefit beginning February 2, 2020, or the first week a claimant was unable to work as a result of COVID-19, whichever date is later. The last week this benefit is payable is the week ending December 26, 2020.

Other Resources

DUA’s step-by-step guide walks traditional W2 workers through filing an unemployment claim over the computer.

Support for filing unemployment claims can be found in multiple languages. Multilingual guides to file for unemployment can be found here.

To locate specific information about each topic, see quick links: