BISMARCK, N.D. (Job Service North Dakota) -On Sunday, December 27, President Trump signed into law H.R. 133, Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021, which included portions related to Coronavirus Stimulus & Relief.  Included within the Coronavirus Stimulus & Relief portion are items relating to the Unemployment Insurance program.

Although further guidance is required from the United States Department of Labor in order to implement some aspects of the Unemployment Insurance provisions, Job Service is actively re-programming our systems to account for the changes we believe we can safely make while awaiting official guidance.  A high-level overview of the primary changes relating to Unemployment Insurance follows:

Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC)

  • Provides an additional $300 per week to all claim types for individuals during the effective timeframe.
  • The effective timeframe for the FPUC program begins the week ending Saturday, January 2, 2021 through the week ending Saturday, March 13, 2021.
  • An individual must be receiving Unemployment Insurance benefits to be eligible to receive weekly FPUC payments.  All Unemployment Insurance benefit types (state, PUA, PEUC, etc) are eligible for FPUC payments for weeks where at least one dollar ($1) of benefits were paid for the week.
  • No action will be necessary on the part of the individual to receive FPUC.  Job Service will automatically add the FPUC payment to each weekly benefit payment.
  • Although computer programming is expected to go quickly for FPUC, if there is any delay in payments due to lack of official guidance or programming issues, payments will be retroactively paid to eligible individuals.  No benefits will be lost due to any delay.  If a delay occurred, it would only impact the $300 FPUC payment.  The regular benefit payment would not be impacted.

Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA)

  • Continues the PUA program that expired December 26, 2020.  The PUA program will now be available through the week ending March 13, 2021.
  • Provides up to an additional 11 weeks of benefits, increasing the maximum number of weeks of benefits from 39 to 50 for individuals who are unemployed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • Most requirements remain the same as were in place with the now expired PUA program, however there are some changes to income documentation requirements and other items.  Job Service is awaiting guidance on these changes from the United States Department of Labor.
  • A phase out period has been provided within the program that could allow a limited number of payments to eligible individuals after March 13, 2021.  As details are made available, Job Service will update guidance.
  • It is not currently expected that individuals with existing PUA claims will have to file a new claim or take any further action other than continuing to certify eligibility as they normally would.  However, there may be a timeframe for which the system will not accept certifications.  Further guidance will be provided as details are provided to Job Service.
  • Because of the complicated nature of the changes to this program, computer reprogramming is expected to take longer to implement. As guidance is provided by the United States Department of Labor, Job Service will work as quickly as possible to make the required changes.  If there is any delay due to lack of official guidance or programming issues, payments will be retroactively paid to eligible individuals.  No benefits will be lost due to any delay.

 

Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC)

  • Continues the PEUC program that expired December 26, 2020.  The PEUC program will now be available through the week ending March 13, 2021.
  • Provides up to an additional 11 weeks of benefits, increasing the maximum number of weeks of benefits from 13 to 24 for individuals who are unemployed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • Most requirements remain the same as were in place with the now expired PEUC program. Job Service is awaiting this guidance from the United States Department of Labor.
  • A phase out period has been provided within the program that could allow a limited number of payments to eligible individuals after March 13, 2021.  As details are made available, Job Service will update guidance.
  • It is not currently expected that individuals with existing PEUC claims will have to file a new claim or take any further action other than continuing to certify eligibility as they normally would.  However, there may be a timeframe for which the system will not accept certifications.  Further guidance will be provided as details are provided to Job Service.
  • Job Service expects computer programming to go fairly quickly for PEUC, if there is any delay in payments due to lack of official guidance or programming issues, payments will be retroactively paid to eligible individuals.  No benefits will be lost due to any delay.