Starting on April 24, Ohioans who are unemployed as a result of the coronavirus pandemic but who don’t qualify for regular unemployment benefits can begin preregistering for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), a new federal program that covers many more categories of workers, the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS) announced today.
In addition, more than 400,000 unemployment claimants in Ohio began receiving weekly $600 supplements last week in addition to their regular benefits as a part of the new federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (PUC) program. The weekly supplements are available through July 25 and will appear on claimants’ pay stubs with the designation “FAC.” Both the PUA program and the PUC supplements are authorized by the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.
“We are thrilled to provide this much-needed assistance to Ohioans unemployed as a result of the pandemic,” said ODJFS Director Kimberly Hall. “I also know that many eligible Ohioans are still waiting to receive benefits, and I am very sorry for the delay. We understand the urgency of providing individuals with the resources they need to support their families. Since mid-March, we have focused on expanding staff support, working longer hours, and partnering with private sector experts to add more technological capacity to our system. We will not rest until all eligible Ohioans are served.”
To preregister for PUA benefits, Ohioans should visit unemployment.ohio.gov and click on “Get Started Now.” The benefit amount will be similar to traditional unemployment benefits, plus an additional $600 per week through July 25. The preregistration tool will allow individuals to get in line early and preregister their account, so that as soon as the agency has the technical ability to process their claims in May, they can log in and complete their paperwork.
For those eligible, PUA benefits will be retroactive to the date they qualified, as early as Feb. 2. The program will provide up to 39 weeks of benefits to many who historically have not qualified for unemployment benefits, such as self-employed workers, 1099 tax filers, part-time workers, and those who lack sufficient work history. Individuals who have exhausted all regular unemployment and any weekly extensions also may be eligible for the program. Anyone with questions should call 833-604-0774.