Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation

PEUC claims come into play after someone exhausts all their regular state unemployment benefits. 

Benefits Rapidly Expiring

Unemployment Insurance Varies Widely

My chart above is modified from CBPP Center on Budget and Policy Priorities Policy Basics: How Many Weeks of Unemployment Compensation Are Available?

Where I show two numbers, the first number is regular state unemployment insurance and the second number (if present) represents extended benefits.

Key Points

  1. Most states offer at least 26 weeks of unemployment insurance plus 13 or more weeks of extended benefits. Some states offer more. States offering 30 or fewer weeks are noted.
  2. A Federal pandemic PEUC (Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation) program kicks in after regular state programs expire. PEUC provides 13 weeks of compensation at the paid state level but the money comes from the federal government. Every state participates in PEUC. It kicks in before extended benefits.
  3. Persons not eligible for state claims can file for the federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program. PUA covers gig workers and self-employed workers who are not covered by state programs. It also covers part-time workers. PUA is rife with fraud and terrible reporting.
  4. After PEUC expires, most but not all states have Extended Benefit programs also paid by the federal government but not every state is in the program. 

Week 35 of Pandemic Unemployment Spike

Week 35 of Pandemic Unemployment Spike

Unemployment Math

  • Unemployment spiked on March 21.
  • We are in week 35 of the pandemic.
  • The federal government provides 13 weeks of unemployment insurance to all states.
  • 35 - 13 = 22.

If you lost your job early in any state that provides 22 or less weeks of state + extended benefits, then you have exhausted all of your state benefits and all of your PEUC benefits. 

Arkansas, Alabama, Florida, North Carolina ,Missouri and Idaho are all in that group. 

PUA Claims

Primary PUA Claims in 2020 Nov 19 Report

PUA Rules


Please consider the Justia report on Coronavirus and Unemployment Benefits: 50-State Resources.

The PUA benefit amount is distinct from the standard unemployment benefit amount listed for each state. It cannot exceed the maximum weekly unemployment benefit in the claimant’s state, and the minimum amount is half of the applicable state’s average weekly unemployment benefit amount.

States With Expired or Expiring Programs

  • Alabama: Standard Benefit Amount: $45 - $275 per week
  • Arkansas: Standard Benefit Amount: $81 - $451 per week
  • Florida: Standard Benefit Amount: $32 - $275 per week
  • North Carolina: Standard Benefit Amount: $15 - $350 per week
  • Missouri: Standard Benefit Amount: $35 - $320 per week
  • Idaho: Standard Benefit Amount: $72 - $448 per week

Those who expired all of their state benefits will get no more than the listed maximums. The minimum is a mere 50% of the state average.

Massachusetts and Washington provide the highest benefits with maximums over $800.

Five states (Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Louisiana, Missouri, and Tennessee) have a maximum weekly benefit under $300.

Mississippi was dead last at $235 per week.

12 Million Face Unemployment Benefit Cliff On December 26

The Century Foundation reports 12 Million Workers Facing Jobless Benefit Cliff on December 26

  • Based on the number of people already on federal and state benefits, we estimate that 12 million workers will be on one of the two main CARES Act programs—PUA and PEUC—when funding expires on December 26.
  • An estimated 4.6 million workers will see their PEUC benefits prematurely expire on December 26. Moreover, an additional 3.5 million will have already run out of PEUC benefits before the December 26 cutoff.
  • An estimated 7.3 million workers will see their PUA benefits expire on December 26, and 945,000 will run out of PUA before December. 
  • A total of more than 16 million workers will have lost CARES Act benefits by the end of the year. 

Those estimate coincide with my analysis above. 

But note that that many in Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Louisiana, Missouri, and Tennessee are already over the cliff. 

Unless there is a deal, about 12 million people will lose all their unemployment benefits in December.

Bankruptcies, evictions, and foreclosures will soar.

I expect a deal, but it will not be the all encompassing deal that Democrats want.