As part of the CARES Act, a number of unemployment provisions and programs were created to assist the workforce. The Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program is specifically designated for those who are not eligible for traditional state unemployment benefits such as independent contractors, sole proprietors, and other self-employed individuals.

Important to note: all unemployment benefits are paid through the STATES. Even though parts of these programs are federally funded and mandated, it is still the state unemployment office that will be implementing this program.

PUA offers up to 39 weeks of unemployment benefits. This is available through December 31, 2020 with an additional $600 / week on top of state benefits through July 31, 2020. The program also includes regulations implementing Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA). The weekly benefit amount is equal to amount under state law (subject to minimum DUA benefit). 

If you can get regular unemployment benefits, then you would not be eligible for this program (but you may be eligible for FPUC or PEUC). If you can telework or have paid leave, you are not eligible for PUA.