What is the CARES Act?
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (“CARES”) Act is legislation that passed on March 27, 2020. This Act expands the Reemployment Assistance benefits for individuals whose employment was negatively impacted from COVID-19.
The CARES Act provides several unemployment insurance benefit programs which include: the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (“PUA”); the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (“FPUC”); and the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (“PEUC”) which are further detailed below.
The PUA benefits are for those who would not ordinarily be eligible for State Reemployment Assistance. State Reemployment Assistance covers those individuals that have lost their job through no fault of their own, those who are partially or totally unemployed, those who earned sufficient wages in their base period, and those are available and actively looking for work. Because of these eligibility requirements, individuals who are self-employed, independent contractors, gig-economy workers, and certain non-profit employees are ordinarily not covered and not eligible for State Reemployment Assistance. As such, the PUA is for those who do not meet this eligibility criteria. For PUA claims, the effective date is made retroactive in the CONNECT system.
The FPUC gives an additional $600 per week in benefits for those individuals who are receiving any amount of Reemployment Assistance benefits. This $600 benefit is in addition to the State Reemployment Assistance and other CARES Act benefits received and apply to the weeks between March 29, 2020 and July 25, 2020.
The PEUC provides up to 13 weeks in benefits for those individuals who have exhausted their Reemployment Assistance benefits. The benefits can be up to $275 per week and can be claimed for the weeks between March 29, 2020 and December 26, 2020.
The Reemployment Assistance benefits may be retroactive to the day an individual lost their job. If the system or you were prevented from submitted an accurate application, the Florida Jobs portal allows you to Modify the Claim Filing’s Effective Date. If determined eligible, the claim may be backdated to the date of the first attempt to file the application.
Am I Eligible for CARES Act Assistance in Florida?
Eligibility for PUA, FPUC, and PEUC are subject to discretion as discussed below.
For PUA, an individual may be eligible if (1) he/she became unemployed as a direct result of the pandemic; (2) he/she was scheduled to begin work but no longer have a job; and (3) he/she became the primary breadwinner because the head of household has passed.
To qualify for FPUC, the individual must be eligible for any of the following programs (1) unemployment compensation; (2) unemployment compensation for federal employees; (3) unemployment compensation for ex-service members; (4) pandemic emergency unemployment compensation; (5) pandemic unemployment assistance; (6) extended benefits; (7) trade readjustment allowances; and (8) work sharing benefits.
For PEUC, an individual may be eligible if (1) his/her existing Reemployment Assistance claim is expired and the individual is still unemployed and (2) his/her Reemployment Assistance claim expired after July 1, 2019. At the moment, Governor Ron DeSantis has waived the requirement that you have to be actively looking for work until July 4, 2020.