How to Apply for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA)

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Last updated on 6/2/2020 at 1:00 pm

NOTE: Effective April 21, 2020 you can apply for PUA online (see below for 5 steps to apply).

PUA is a federal benefit available to workers who are unable to work as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and do not qualify for Regular Unemployment Insurance (UI). This includes:

  • Independent contractors
  • Self-employed workers
  • Non-profit employees
  • Part-time workers who do not have enough work history to be eligible for a claim

To qualify for PUA, you must be unemployed as a direct result of one of 10 COVID-19 related reasons. You are required to submit proof of your income to be eligible for PUA.

Note: If you have not already done so, and have wages with a covered employer (pays taxes into UI) within the last 18 months, file a Regular UI application. PUA is only available to workers not eligible for Regular UI.

  1. APPLY ONLINE

    • File an application for PUA by creating an account or logging in at https://my.unemployment.wisconsin.gov.
    • Go to your UI summary page.
    • Select link "Click here to file for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance".
    • Have the following information available:
      • Social Security Number
      • Wisconsin Driver's License, if you have one
      • A list of all employers you worked for in the past 18 months, their complete addresses (including zip codes), telephone numbers and the dates you began and last worked for them.
      • Those who don't monetarily qualify for a UI claim will need proof of wages/self-employment from the most recent tax year.
    • Hours of Operation: Apply for PUA online during the following times:
      Sunday 9:00 AM - Midnight
      Monday – Friday Available 24 Hours
      Saturday 1:00 AM - 3:00 PM

      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.

  2. SUBMIT PROOF OF INCOME

    • After you have submitted the PUA application, submit proof of your income within 21 days.
      • Previous year’s (2019) complete Federal Tax Return. Please include the following when applicable:
        • Schedule C-Profit or Loss from Business
        • Schedule F-Profit or Loss from Farming
        • Schedule K 1- Partner's Share of Income
      • Previous year’s (2019) W-2
      • Final pay stub in 2019
      • If you do not have any of the above, you can provide your 2018 Federal tax returns (Note: If you are unable to provide proof of your 2019 wages, you will only be allowed the minimum PUA payment. Once you are able to provide your proof of earnings for 2019, your claim may be redetermined. If it results in a higher amount, adjusted payments will be issued.)
    • Submit proof of your income by mail or fax:
      • Mail:
        Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) Program
        PO Box 7905
        Madison WI 53707
      • 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.
  3. PLEASE BE PATIENT WHILE WE PROCESS YOUR APPLICATION

    • Due to the new program and unprecedented volume of applications, it may take additional time to process your application.
    • Unless you have been directed to call, you do not need to call the department. If there is a question or problem with your application, we will contact you by phone or by mail. If you have not heard from us, it means your application is still being processed.
    • No additional action is needed by you unless we contact you directly.
  4. ELIGIBILITY DETERMINED

    • Once your PUA Application is processed, we will send you a determination.
    • If you qualify for PUA, your determination will provide instructions on how to file your weekly claims.
  5. FILE A WEEKLY CLAIM

    • You cannot file weekly claims for PUA until your eligibility has been determined. If you qualify for PUA, your determination will provide instructions on how to file your weekly claims.
    • After you are told you can start filing your weekly claims, you must file a weekly claim for each week you want to receive benefits.
    • If you are eligible for weeks that have already passed, you will be able to file for those at that time as well. **You will be retroactively paid weeks due.