Who does the PUA cover?
This PUA covers workers who would not ordinarily qualify for unemployment, but have either stopped working or, in certain cases, have significantly reduced earnings, because of COVID-19 related reasons. A non-exhaustive list of such workers includes:
- Self-employed, independent contractors or gig workers for whom COVID-19 has severely impacted their ability to perform their normal work resulting in either no income or a significant loss of income;
- People who didn’t earn enough or work long enough to qualify for regular unemployment insurance;
- Workers in religious organizations; and
- People who have used up all of their state and federal unemployment benefits.
What are COVID-19 related reasons?
COVID-19 related reasons may include (but are not limited to):
- You were diagnosed with COVID-19 or you have symptoms.
- A member of your household was diagnosed with COVID-19.
- You are caring for a family or household member who tested positive or was diagnosed with COVID-19.
- You have primary responsibility for a child whose school or child care is closed and you need to care for them.
- You have primary responsibility for a member of your household who needs care.
- Your employer, or a government order told you to "self-quarantine."
- You have been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine.
- You are a self-employed, an independent contractor or gig worker and COVID-19 has severely limited your ability to perform normal work.
- You don’t have a recent history of sufficient work and were scheduled to start a job with a new employer, but cannot start that job or the offer was withdrawn as a result of COVID-19.
- The head of your household died from the coronavirus so now the whole household depends on you for support.
- Your place of work closed or reduced your hours because of COVID-19
- You had to quit your job because of COVID-19.
- You had an unemployment claim with the DUA that ended after July 5, 2019, but there are no benefits left.
- You otherwise do not qualify for regular or extended UI benefits and are affected by COVID-19.
What are the other requirements to receive unemployment under the PUA?
You need to be able and available to work other than being impacted by COVID-19.
How much money will you receive if your claim is accepted?
If your claim is accepted, the amount of money you will be eligible for will vary.
- If you did not earn anything after you stopped work, you will be eligible for a minimum of $268 a week up to a maximum of $823 a week, depending on how much you made before your income was reduced due to COVID-19. The more you made before, the more unemployment you are eligible to collect. Your unemployment amount may be reduced if you are still receiving some pay. You may not be eligible to collect unemployment if you currently earn too much money.
- Until July 25, 2020, you will also receive an extra $600 a week.
- Therefore, until July 25, 2020, you will receive between $868 a week and $1423 a week if you are not receiving earnings that reduce your unemployment amount.
- You will also receive $25 for each child for whom you provide 50% or more support if the child is (a) under 18, (b) under 24 and a full-time student or (c) is of any age and cannot work due to physical or mental disabilities. The amount you receive for your children cannot exceed 50% of your weekly unemployment benefit.
How do you apply for unemployment?
To apply for unemployment, you can apply online by going to the Department of Unemployment Assistance website at https://www.mass.gov/orgs/department-of-unemployment-assistance. You can also find out more about unemployment benefits and how to apply on this website.
The link to apply for regular unemployment insurance is:
The link to apply for PUA for those who do not ordinarily qualify for regular unemployment insurance is:
You can also call the DUA on the phone to apply at 877-626-6800, but many find it easier to apply online.
Can you receive both regular unemployment insurance and PUA?
No, if you qualify for regular unemployment insurance, you are not eligible for PUA.