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Pa. resumes COVID-19 unemployment compensation, good news for gig and self-employed workers

Following a gap in benefits after the federal government delayed approval of December’s COVID relief and government funding bill, the state Department of Labor & Industry announced it can now resume payments for its temporary federal unemployment programs.

That means L&I will resume payments for both the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation and Pandemic Unemployment Assistance programs starting this week. Late last month the department announced that more than 509,000 workers in the state could see gaps in their unemployment assistance payments as it awaited guidance and approval from the federal Department of Labor.

On Friday, L&I said it resumed payments through the PUA program and would begin accepting filings for 11 claim weeks on the same day.

The PUA program provides unemployment compensation for workers who lost their jobs during the pandemic but are not typically eligible for unemployment compensation, such as gig workers, freelancers and self-employed workers.

“We know that more than 400,000 Pennsylvanians and their families are relying on these PUA benefits to get through this terrible pandemic and have worked as quickly as possible to complete the implementation and resume payments,” said Jennifer Berrier, acting secretary for the department.

On Saturday, L&I also announced that it would resume payments through the PEUC program beginning Sunday, with claimants able to file for an additional 11 claim weeks on the same day.

PEUC provides additional claim weeks to workers who have exhausted their regular unemployment compensation benefits.

“Since receiving the information we needed from the federal Department of Labor two weeks ago, L&I has worked as quickly as possible to update our processing system so PEUC claimants can resume filing for benefits,” said Berrier.

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