The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act that was signed into law March 27 contains three unemployment insurance stimulus programs directed towards individuals who find themselves partially or totally unemployed due to COVID-19.

The Connecticut Department of Labor is develop additional programming within Connecticut's unemployment insurance system to accommodate the new federal relief programs.

Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation

This is a federally-funded emergency increase in unemployment benefits which provides an additional $600 per week to individuals who receive a weekly benefit of at least $1 in the following unemployment benefits.

  • Regular unemployment benefits
  • Emergency unemployment benefits
  • Extended Benefits
  • Pandemic Unemployment Assistance
  • Shared Work
  • Trade Readjustment Allowance
  • Disaster Unemployment Assistance

These benefits commence with weeks ending April 4, 2020 and through week ending July 25, 2020.

Regular unemployment benefits in Connecticut currently range from $15 to $649 (without dependency allowances). The additional FPUC will bring the range to $615 to $1249 (without dependency allowances).

These additional $600 payments are 100% federally funded and will not be charged back to employers.

Individuals do not need to separately apply for FPUC.

Child support obligations must be deducted from FPUC payments in the same way they are deducted from regular benefits.

Also, up to 50% of the FPUC may be offset to capture overpayments owed to the Connecticut Department of Labor or the federal government.

Similar to regular unemployment benefits, FPUC payments are taxable.

FPUC benefits will be paid retroactively to the first week the individual filed for benefits, subsequent to March 29, 2020.

Pandemic Unemployment Assistance

PUA provides benefits to covered individuals, who are those individuals not eligible for regular unemployment compensation or extended benefits under state or federal law or pandemic emergency unemployment compensation, including those who have exhausted all rights to such benefits.

Covered individuals also include self-employed, those seeking part-time employment, individuals lacking sufficient work history, and those who otherwise do not qualify for regular unemployment compensation or extended benefits under state or federal law or PEUC.

Eligible individuals may receive up to 39 weeks of PUA benefits.

Any weeks received for regular unemployment benefits or extended benefits must be deducted from the 39 weeks.

The PUA program runs from February 2, 2020 to December 26, 2020.

Individuals found eligible for PUA will also be found eligible for the additional federally funded payment of $600 per week.

PUA payments are taxable.

Individuals must first be denied from being eligible to receive, or exhaust entitlement to, regular unemployment benefits or any state or federal extended benefits before they can be found eligible for PUA benefits.

Individuals must be able and available to work unless they cannot work because of the specific circumstances that relate to COVID-19, including:

  • The individual has been diagnosed with COVID-19 or is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and is seeking a medical diagnosis.
  • A member of the individual's household has been diagnosed with COVID-19.
  • The individual is providing care for a family member or a member of the individual’s household who has been diagnosed with COVID-19.
  • A child or other person in the household for which the individual has primary caregiving responsibility is unable to attend school or another facility that is closed as a direct result of the COVID-19 public health emergency and such school or facility care is required for the individual to work.
  • The individual is unable to reach the place of employment because of a quarantine imposed as a direct result of the COVID-19 public health emergency.
  • The individual is unable to reach the place of employment because the individual has been advised by a healthcare provider to self-quarantine due to concerns related to COVID-19.
  • The individual was scheduled to commence employment and does not have a job or is unable to reach the job as a direct result of the COVID-19 public health emergency.
  • The individual has become the breadwinner or major support for a household because the head of the household has died as a direct result of COVID-19.
  • The individual has to quit his or her job as a direct result of COVID-19.
  • The individual's place of employment is closed as a direct result of the COVID-19 public health emergency.
  • The individual meets any additional criteria established by the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Labor for unemployment assistance under the PUA program.

The state labor department is implementing this program for the federal government.

Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation

Similar to FPUC and PUA, this program is 100% federally-funded. This program provides for up to 13 weeks of benefits beyond the customary 26 weeks to individuals who have exhausted regular unemployment benefits under state or federal law.

PEUC payments are taxable.

Individuals must be able to work, available for work, and actively seeking work, except states must offer flexibility in meeting the "actively seeking work" requirement if individuals are unable to search for work because of COVID-19, including because of illness, quarantine, or movement restriction.

The state labor department is implementing this program for the federal government.