Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA)

(Not Otherwise Eligible for Regular UI)

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Last updated on 7/2/2020 at 1:15 pm

NOTE: We are now accepting online applications for PUA

You will not be able to file weekly claims for PUA until your eligibility has been determined. If you qualify, your determination will provide further directions on how to file your weekly claims. If you are eligible for weeks that have already passed, you will be able to file for those at that time as well.

There is no need to call at this time. Your application will be processed as quickly as possible. Your patience is appreciated.

For help using online services, or if you are unable to go online, call the PUA Hotline at (608) 318-7100. The hotline is available from 7:30 AM to 4:30 PM, Monday through Friday. This hotline is to help you complete your PUA application and provide general information related to the PUA program only. If you are calling for any reason other than PUA, your question will not be answered; call the Claimant Assistance Line instead.

Topics:  PUA Overview  |  PUA Payments  |  How to Apply for PUA  |  PUA FAQs

PUA Overview

PUA is a new temporary federal program that provides up to 39 weeks of unemployment benefits to individuals who are not eligible for regular Unemployment Insurance (UI) such as:

  • Individuals who are self-employed.
  • Certain independent contractors.
  • Individuals with limited recent work history.
  • Other workers not covered by Regular UI.

To be eligible for PUA, your reason for no longer working must fall within one of the COVID-19 Scenarios.

Other PUA Publications:

PUA Payments

  • Payment Amount:
    • Minimum weekly benefit amount: $163.
    • Maximum weekly benefit amount: $370.

    • Did You Know? All unemployment benefits are taxable. Withhold federal and state taxes from your weekly benefit NOW, so you don't have to pay them later. You can opt to have taxes withheld at https://my.unemployment.wisconsin.gov.

  • Benefit Amount:
    • 1% of 2019 net income; subject to PUA minimum and maximum.
  • Duration of PUA Benefits (up to 39 weeks):
    • First Payable Week: Retroactive to week ending February 8, 2020 (or the first week an individual is out of work due to COVID-19, whichever is later).
    • Last Payable Week: Week ending December 26, 2020.

How to Apply for PUA

We are now accepting online applications for PUA

How to Apply for PUA
  • You will not be able to file weekly claims for PUA until your eligibility has been determined. If you qualify, your determination will provide further directions on how to file your weekly claims. If you are eligible for weeks that have already passed, you will be able to file for those at that time as well.
  • There is no need to call at this time. Your application will be processed as quickly as possible. Your patience is appreciated.

PUA Frequently Asked Questions

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The federal stimulus package known as the CARES Act has passed. Beginning on Tuesday, 4/21/2020 the application is available online.

No, this benefit is only considered when an individual is determined to be ineligible for regular Unemployment Insurance.

No, you should not apply for this benefit if you have a pending application for unemployment. If you have applied for and did not qualify or were denied for regular Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits and are out of work due to COVID-19 then you should apply for PUA. Beginning on Tuesday, 4/21/2020 the application is available online. If you are receiving regular UI benefits, you may not apply and will not be eligible for this benefit.

PUA will be a benefit for those who were working and are now out of work and were/are self-employed or others whose employment or employer does not contribute taxes towards regular unemployment; such as independent contractors. Beginning on Tuesday 4/21/2020 the application is available online. Those that are eligible for regular unemployment benefits are not eligible for PUA benefits. In addition, if you are unable to work due to COVID-19 you may be eligible. Below are some examples:

  • You have been diagnosed with COVID-19.
  • A member of your household has been diagnosed with COVID-19.
  • You are providing care to a household or family member who has been diagnosed with COVID-19.
  • Quit a job as a direct result of COVID-19.

To find out if you are covered by PUA, review these COVID-19 Scenarios.

If you are an employee working for an employer, in most instances you will need to apply for regular unemployment. If you are self-employed you should apply online beginning on 4/21/2020. Only individuals who are out of work due to COVID-19 may be eligible for PUA.

Yes. As with any unemployment claim, you are required to provide accurate information or face penalties including denial of benefits and repayment of benefits.

No, if you have the ability to telework and be paid the same as you have customarily worked prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, then you are not eligible for PUA.

No, if you are on paid leave you are considered employed.

Yes, you will need to file weekly claims to receive weekly payments. Once you are notified of eligibility for PUA you will be provided instructions on how to file your weekly claims. The weekly claims cannot be filed until you have been determined eligible.

If you are receiving PUA and become eligible for a new regular unemployment insurance claim, you will no longer be eligible for PUA.

More information will be provided once you have been determined to be eligible for PUA. The weekly claim cannot be filed until you have been determined eligible.

Proof of employment and/or self-employment is required. If the state has no proof of your employment and you have provided no proof at the time of filing, you have 21 calendar days from the time you filed your application for PUA to meet this requirement. Failure to provide adequate proof of employment will result in your being ineligible for PUA. Acceptable proof of self-employment or wages may include the previous year's tax returns, financial statement, pay checks and stubs.

Mail:
Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) Program
PO Box 7905
Madison WI 53707

OR

Fax:
(608) 327-6193
Include a cover sheet; Write ATTN: PUA on the cover sheet, and include: 1) the number of pages you are faxing (excluding cover sheet), 2) your complete name and 3) social security number.

No, you would not be eligible for PUA. However, the Federal government has made other programs available to farmers through the USDA. Find more information at https://www.farmers.gov/coronavirus.

If you worked for an employer in the last 18 months, who pays into UI, you must apply for regular UI first to determine eligibility.

If you have not worked for an employer in the last 18 months, who pays into UI, you can apply for PUA immediately.

You must wait for a determination on your eligibility for UI benefits. If you are denied then you may apply for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA).

When a claimant has successfully submitted their PUA applications, a large red box will be displayed across the top of their claimant portal dashboard containing the following message: "Your application has been received. Please allow 30 days for processing."

An individual cannot receive Social Security Disability (SSDI) payments and unemployment benefits concurrently (See s. 108.04(12)(f), Wis. Stats.) If an individual is receiving SSDI, they must report this information on their initial claim and weekly claim certifications. State law is applicable for PUA as well.

NOTE: The department is awaiting clarification from DOL regarding receipt of SSDI and PUA.

It depends on the program:

  • For Regular Unemployment Insurance it is not reportable as income.
  • For PUA it is reportable as income. Report it as "other income" when filing your PUA claim.

Grant funds do not need to be reported as wages in weekly PUA claims unless a small business owner uses the grant funds to pay him or herself wages or a corporate draw.

If you use grant funds to pay yourself wages or a corporate draw, you must report the amount your paid yourself in the week(s) it was paid.