Governor Andrew M. Cuomo has announced that unemployed New Yorkers will begin receiving extended and expanded federal unemployment benefits next week — the first week these benefits can be paid under federal law. New York is able to provide these benefits immediately due to proactive work by the State Department of Labor to prepare for the federal government finally enacting a bill to extend unemployment programs originally included in the CARES Act that were set to expire at the end of 2020. The programs extended include Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, which provides benefits for those not covered by traditional state unemployment insurance; Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation, which provides additional weeks of benefits after an individual exhausts the 26 weeks of state unemployment insurance; and Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation, which provides all New Yorkers receiving unemployment benefits an additional $300 weekly payment.
“This pandemic has created an unprecedented economic crisis, and New Yorkers have waited in uncertainty for far too long. I have repeatedly called on the federal government to do the right thing by renewing critical benefits to support millions of unemployed families through to the end of this pandemic – and now that Washington has finally acted, New York is immediately delivering those funds,” Governor Cuomo said. ” In the spring, New York led the nation in implementing federal unemployment programs, and this winter we will once again act swiftly to get money in the hands of New Yorkers who need it most.”
The federal government has extended federal unemployment benefits for an additional eleven weeks through March 14, 2021. New Yorkers currently receiving benefits do not need to call the Department of Labor to receive these extended benefits — they should continue to certify for unemployment benefits in their usual manner and will automatically receive extended benefits. Those whose unemployment benefit year has ended should reapply online. Details of how New York will implement these extensions follows:
- Pandemic Unemployment Assistance – New Yorkers can now receive up to 57 weeks of PUA benefits, with the program extended from the week ending January 3, 2021 through March 14, 2021. New Yorkers currently receiving PUA should continue to certify as usual and will continue to receive their benefits. According to the Federal government, additional eligibility documentation will be required beginning January 31, 2021. The Department of Labor will directly contact claimants who need to provide additional documentation.
- Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation – New Yorkers can now receive up to 24 weeks of PEUC (up from the 13 weeks originally authorized in the spring) with the program extended through March 14, 2021. New Yorkers who have exhausted the 26 weeks of state unemployment insurance should continue to certify as normal and will automatically receive up to 24 weeks of PEUC. Individuals who previously exhausted the original 13 weeks of PEUC and transitioned to the Extended Benefits program will begin receiving extended PEUC benefits after they exhaust their EB benefits. The Department of Labor will automatically handle these program transfers.
- Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation – New Yorkers’ FPUC benefits will resume the week ending January 3, 2021 and will last for eleven weeks. During that time, all New Yorkers who are receiving unemployment benefits — including traditional state UI, Shared Work Benefits, PEUC, EB, or PUA — will receive an additional $300 payment per week. Per federal guidelines, FPUC benefits will not be backdated, and can only be provided starting the week ending January 3, 2021.
New York State Department of Labor Commissioner Roberta Reardon said, “The extension of these federal unemployment benefits is a lifeline for many New Yorkers, and we will continue to do everything we can to bring relief to those who remain unemployed due to this unprecedented pandemic. We have paid out more than $59 billion in benefits to over 3.9 million unemployed New Yorkers during this crisis — nearly 28 typical years’ worth of benefits paid in ten months — and we will continue to move heaven and earth to serve our neighbors.”
New Yorkers may be eligible for an additional $100 per week through the Mixed Earner Unemployment Compensation program. MEUC benefits are provided for individuals who earned at least $5,000 a year in self-employment income but are disqualified from receiving more substantial PUA benefits because they may be eligible for traditional state UI. New York has signed an agreement with the US DOL to offer MEUC benefits and is currently awaiting additional guidance from the Federal government on implementing the program. The Department of Labor will provide more details as they become available.
Additional updates, including answers to Frequently Asked Questions, will be posted to the NYS Department of Labor website at www.labor.ny.gov.