FAQs for Unemployment Claimants about the American Rescue Plan Act

Note: All federal CARES Act unemployment assistance programs, including PUA will discontinue week ending June 19, 2021. Additional information is available here.

 

Are the unemployment insurance benefits funded through the CARES Act extended?

Yes. On March 12, 2021, Pres. Joe Biden signed the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. This Act extended the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program, the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) program and the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) program. The programs are set to end on week ending Sept. 4, 2021. The American Rescue Plan contains a new provision to exempt $10,200 of unemployment benefits received in 2020 from federal income taxes. The state of Idaho does not exempt unemployment insurance benefits from state income taxes.

I am currently on an extension. Am I eligible for additional weeks?

Yes. Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) is often referred to as extended benefits. The bill added 29 weeks, extending the maximum number of benefit weeks from 24 to 53.

I am currently self-employed and receiving Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA). Are my benefits extended?

Yes. PUA is a program for low wage earners and self-employed individuals. The bill extended the program an additional 29 weeks, extending the maximum number of weeks from 50 to 79.

Do I need to re-apply for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) with the new American Rescue Plan Act of 2021?

You do not need to reapply, but you must submit proof of 2019 earnings if you have not already done so. See Step 3 of the application process on the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Labor web page.

Will I receive an additional $300 per week?

Yes. The bill maintains a supplemental payment through the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) and adds an additional $300 to a weekly benefit payment. The bill extended the program an additional 29 weeks, extending the maximum number of weeks from 24 to 53.

I was receiving Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) and my employment situation has not changed. Why was I recently denied benefits?

We recently received clarification from the U.S. Department of Labor (USDOL) on PUA eligibility requirements that could have impacted your eligibility. To be eligible for PUA, the claimant must meet one of the PUA conditions  regarding their COVID-19 circumstances listed during the benefit week. If the claimant does not meet at least one of the conditions, they will be denied benefits and receive a PUA self-certification denial letter.

How do I apply for the additional $300 per week?

No additional action is required on your part. If you submit your weekly certification report and are eligible for a full or partial unemployment payment, you will receive the additional $300.

When do the benefits listed end?

The programs are set to end on week ending Sept. 4, 2021.

My work search requirements have changed. Why do I have to look for work now?

On April 2, 2021, the Idaho Department of Labor notified all unemployment insurance claimants currently receiving benefits that pre-pandemic work search requirements will be reinstated starting April 25, 2021. Claimants are not required to seek work if they are returning to work with their employer within 16 weeks. After 16 weeks, claimants must seek work to remain eligible for unemployment insurance. Work search requirements apply to regular and CARES Act unemployment insurance programs. They also apply to all claimants, including self-employed individuals.