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HARRISBURG, Pa. - The Wolf administration said Friday a program offering unemployment assistance to those affected by the pandemic will resume.

Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry Acting Secretary Jennifer Berrier said payments for the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program in the new federal CARES Act extension are resuming.

PUA assists workers who lost their jobs due to COVID-19 and are not typically eligible for other unemployment compensation programs. This includes gig workers, freelancers, and self-employed workers.

“Since the federal legislation for the new CARES Act extension was unveiled, L&I’s dedicated team has been working tirelessly to update our processing systems,” said Berrier. “We know that more than 400,000 Pennsylvanians and their families are relying on these PUA benefits to get through this terrible pandemic and have worked as quickly as possible to complete the implementation and resume payments.”

The state outlined steps people can take to file claims:

You can begin filing for the additional 11 claim weeks Friday, January 22.

Follow the same process as before to log onto your dashboard and claim the additional weeks, which will be added to your account.

You must file by January 29. If you miss this deadline, you will need to email ucpua@pa.gov to request backdating.

You will be able to file for the weeks of January 2, 9, 16, and 23.

If you no longer had claim weeks or did not file for the week ending December 26, 2020, for any reason, you must reopen your claim before you can proceed. To do this, log onto your dashboard and click on the link to reopen a claim.

If you tried to open a new claim while the PUA program was inactive, you will have error codes that the UC staff must fix before you can proceed.

If you are a new, first-time PUA claimant opening a claim in 2021, you cannot yet file. The state is still adding 2020 as a base wage year in the system and it will notify you when you are able to file for benefits.

You will automatically receive the extra $300 weekly Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation-you do not need to take any action to get this boost.

Claimants who have questions about their enrollment in PUA can email ucpua@pa.gov.

The original CARES Act programs, including Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation, expired the end of December 2020. L&I is in the final stages of the PEUC implementation and will be providing an update to those claimants soon.

For information on unemployment programs, people can visit the Office of Unemployment Compensation website.

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