HARRISBURG, Pa. -- Due to Congressional legislation to extend the federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) programs has been delayed in Washington, D.C., the Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry (L&I) is strongly encouraging the more than 500,000 Pennsylvanians receiving payments through these expiring programs to seek other forms of assistance.
According to a statement released Saturday, under the current CARES Act, both programs will stop at the end of this month and Pennsylvania claimants will not receive payments after the week ending December 26.
“Pennsylvanians receiving PUA or PEUC payments need to be aware that they will not be able to file a claim next week and should begin preparing now to seek the necessities they will need through other means,” said L&I Acting Secretary Jennifer Berrier. “I urge current PUA and PEUC claimants to apply for additional assistance through programs outside of L&I as soon as possible to prevent their families from reaching an emergency or dangerous situation.”
The U.S. Department of Labor (US DOL) cannot issue guidance for the PUA and PEUC program extensions and required changes to the programs in the CARES Act Extension legislation until the bill is signed into law.
According to officials, because states cannot begin implementing the programs and provisions in the new law until receiving US DOL’s guidance, PUA and PEUC claimants will experience several weeks between the time the program extension is signed into legislation and payments resume.
The Department of Labor & Industry encourages PUA and PEUC claimants to review the following resources for eligibility and apply immediately if they qualify:
- Health insurance through Pennie
- Lifeline (telecommunications and broadband access)
- Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)
- Medicaid/Medical Assistance
- Meals for Senior Citizens/Meals on Wheels
- PA Food Banks and Pantries
- SNAP Benefits/Food Stamps
- Additional program information is available at PA COMPASS
PUA and PEUC claimants are also encouraged to use the United Way of Pennsylvania’s 211 program to identify local resources, including food banks, housing assistance, and utility help. Claimants can review available programs in their ZIP code by visiting pa211.org, by texting their ZIP code to 898-211, or by calling 211 any time.
According to officials, throughout November and December, Governor Tom Wolf and L&I leaders repeatedly called for the federal government to approve an extension to the CARES Act before it lapsed at the end of 2020.
The Department of Labor & Industry will make updates on the PUA and PEUC programs and other federal programs affected by the CARES Act extension as information becomes available, officials say.
More Pennsylvania resources and tips, including financial help with credit cards, mortgage or rent, and mental health resources, are available by clicking on “COVID-19” at www.pa.gov.