SALT LAKE CITY (April 15, 2020) — The Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program as part of the CARES Act is now available for Utahns. This program will extend benefits to individuals previously ineligible for traditional unemployment benefits such as the self-employed or gig economy workers.

“In the midst of receiving and processing a historic claim volume, our staff has created and implemented another one of these new federal programs,” explained Kevin Burt, Unemployment Insurance Division director for the Department of Workforce Services. “Our priority continues to be providing Utahns the benefits they are in need of, including access to these new federal resources.”

It is important for claimants to understand what program, whether traditional unemployment insurance or Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, is the correct program for them.

Individuals should apply for traditional unemployment benefits if they have an employer and

  • have been laid off, temporarily furloughed, or have had their hours reduced, or

  • are able and available (not showing any symptoms of COVID-19), but are unable to go to work because their place of employment has been quarantined, or

  • are quarantined, but not showing symptoms, and will return to work.

Individuals should apply for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance if they have lost income due to COVID-19 and

  • are self-employed or working in the gig economy, or

  • lack sufficient work history to qualify for traditional unemployment benefits, or

  • are employed by an organization exempt from unemployment taxes, such as religious institutions, or

  • have been diagnosed with COVID-19, have a member of their household that has been diagnosed with COVID-19, or have been denied traditional unemployment benefits.

These examples of eligible individuals are not all inclusive. For more details and to apply for the new Pandemic Unemployment Assistance benefit visit jobs.utah.gov/covid19.

Another resource available to all claimants is the “Am I Eligible?” feature at jobs.utah.gov/ui/home.  Any claimant can enter their Social Security Number; if it comes back with an eligible monetary decision the claimant should apply for unemployment, ineligible decisions should apply for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance.

Individuals who are eligible for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance will also be eligible for the $600 weekly federal stimulus program payments. Applicants should expect 21-30 days for processing and must continue to file weekly, reporting accurately their current employment circumstances.  Individuals who have already applied for or are receiving unemployment benefits should not apply for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance.

Like unemployment insurance, there is not a need for applicants of this new benefit to call.  If there are questions, the Department of Workforce Services will contact them. Please continue to check on jobs.utah.gov/covid19 for the latest information regarding unemployment insurance and other available programs.

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