CARES ACT – Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act – UPDATE
Through the creation of the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) Program, the CARES Act provides emergency unemployment assistance to workers who traditionally are NOT eligible for state Unemployment Insurance, or who have exhausted their state UI benefits.
Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) provides up to 39 weeks of unemployment benefits to individuals who are unable to work because of a COVID-19-related reason but are not eligible for regular or extended unemployment benefits.
Those eligible for PUA include:
• Self-employed workers, including gig workers, freelancers and independent contractors
• Freelancers and workers seeking part-time work
• Workers who do not have a long-enough work history to qualify for state UI benefits.
*Full Eligibility Checklist
Those who are eligible for PUA can receive the same benefits as those provided in the Families First Act (expanded UI benefits and one-time payment.)
You should apply for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance retroactive to your first week of total or partial unemployment. Most regular UI claims are processed within 21-28 days after filing, and many are processed within the first week of filing.
MASSACHUSETTS STATE UNEMPLOYMENT ASSISTANCE:
The Department of Unemployment Assistance (DUA) is the prime source for the latest information on COVID-19 related unemployment if you work in the film industry as an “employee” (receive W-2s, taxes taken out, etc.) Below is the link to get you started:
Also, the DUA hosts daily Virtual Town Halls to guide attendees through the process to achieve a successful unemployment claim and to answer questions. Read more at www.mass.gov/forms/massachusetts-department-of-unemployment-assistance-dua-virtual-town-halls
You can also learn more about unemployment benefits in light of COVID-19 at DUA’s website, here; this page will continue to be updated as additional guidance is available.
FAMILIES FIRST ACT
Families First applies to workers who are currently eligible for state Unemployment Insurance and provides the following benefits:
Expanded unemployment insurance
Members who have lost work due to the virus are eligible to collect expanded Unemployment Insurance (UI). UI is now expanded to provide participants with an extra $600 per week for four months, and also allow them to remain on unemployment for 13-weeks longer. Participants can now collect UI for 39 weeks total.
Direct, one-time payments to individuals and families
Individuals earning up to $75,000 annually will receive a check for $1,200. The check value will decrease respectively as an individual’s income exceeds $75,000, up to the limit of $99,000. Folks who earn more than $99,000 are ineligible. Similarly, married couples who earn up to $150,000 will receive $2,400, plus $500 per each dependent 16 years of age or younger. If you haven’t filed your taxes in recent years, it could affect your ability to receive this payment.