Recertification for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) Benefits
On February 25, 2021, the U.S. Department of Labor approved new COVID-19 related reasons under which you may self-certify eligibility for PUA, if applicable. Below is a complete list of the COVID-19 related reasons:
- I have been diagnosed with COVID-19 or am experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and am seeking a medical diagnosis.
- A member of my household has been diagnosed with COVID-19.
- I am providing care for a family member or a member of my household who has been diagnosed with COVID-19.
- A child or other person in my household for which I am the primary caregiver 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 me to work.
- I am unable to reach my place of employment because of a quarantine imposed as a direct result of the COVID-19 public health emergency.
- I am unable to reach my place of employment because I have been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine due to concerns related to COVID-19.
- I was scheduled to commence employment and do not have a job or am unable to reach the job as a direct result of the COVID-19 public health emergency.
- I have become the breadwinner or major support for my household because the head of the household has died as a direct result of COVID-19.
- I quit my job as a direct result of COVID-19.
- My place of employment is closed as a direct result of the COVID-19 public health emergency.
- I am self-employed (including an independent contractor and gig worker) and experienced a significant reduction of my customary usual services because of the COVID-19 public health emergency.
- I was denied continued unemployment benefits because I refused to return to work or accept an offer of work at a worksite that, in either instance, is not in compliance with local, state, or national health and safety standards directly related to COVID-19. This includes, but is not limited to, those related to facial mask wearing, physical distancing measures, or the provision of personal protective equipment consistent with public health guidelines.
- I provided services to an educational institution or educational service agency and am unemployed or partially unemployed because of volatility in the work schedule that is directly caused by the COVID-19 public health emergency. This includes, but is not limited to, changes in schedules and partial closures.
- I am an employee and my hours have been reduced or I was laid off as a direct result of the COVID-19 public health emergency.
- None of the above apply to me.
If any of the reasons apply to you for a week that you were previously denied or for a week prior to the start date of your PUA claim, you may go to https://dol.nebraska.gov/uibenefits and complete the PUA Recertification Form for all applicable weeks by January 7, 2022. PUA claims filed prior to December 27, 2020 may certify eligible benefit weeks back to February 2, 2020. PUA claims filed on or after December 27, 2020, may certify eligible benefit weeks back to December 6, 2020. In addition to completing the PUA Recertification Form, you must upload the following documentation to your NEworks account:
- Government issued photo ID
- Proof of Employment or Self-Employment (initial PUA claims filed in 2020 will require proof of employment or self-employment documentation for calendar year 2019; initial PUA claims filed in 2021 will require proof of employment or self-employment documentation for calendar year 2020). Information regarding acceptable documentation can be found at https://dol.nebraska.gov/uibenefits.
Failure to provide the information requested in the PUA Recertification Form and/or upload required documentation will result in the denial of your recertification request.
Federal Programs Ended June 19, 2021
Nebraska is no longer participating in federal pandemic unemployment programs effective June 19, 2021. Unemployment claims for the last week of federal pandemic benefits can be filed through June 26. All claims for federal benefits covering weeks of unemployment through June 19 will be processed. The last payable week under the programs may vary. Notwithstanding the termination, you may be eligible for additional benefits under the Continued Assistance Act of 2020 (CAA) or the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) of 2021.
- Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA)
- Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC)
- Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC)
- Mixed Earners Unemployment Compensation (MEUC)
The CARES Act, CAA, and ARPA provide states the ability to waive recovery of PUA, PEUC, FPUC, MEUC, and Lost Wages Assistance (LWA) overpayments in the event the overpayments were established through no fault of the claimant and the recovery of the overpayment would be against equity and good conscience.
To apply for a waiver of overpayment, you must complete the Waiver of Overpayment by July 31 or within 30 days of the notice of overpayment, whichever is later. Pursuant to federal law, NDOL’s decision on the waiver is final and may not be appealed.
Applicants will be required to provide the following:
- 2019 and 2020 tax returns and/or Schedule C (Instructions for uploading documents in NEworks are included on the waiver application form.
- Monthly gross income (before deductions)
- Monthly expenses
- Why you believe you are not at fault for the overpayment
- Why you believe it’s unfair for you to pay back the overpayment
Mixed Earners Unemployment Compensation (MEUC)
Benefits: Individuals who receive at least $5,000 a year in self-employment income will receive an additional $100 weekly benefit, in addition to the benefit amounts they otherwise would be eligible for from traditional employment under state law. The new federally funded “mixed earner” benefit is in addition to the $300 supplemental weekly benefit under FPUC.
Eligible Weeks: MEUC applies to weeks beginning December 27, 2020 for individuals who meet eligibility criteria and qualify for any amount of regular state unemployment benefits.
Unemployment Fraud: Intentionally providing false information for the purpose of receiving MEUC is fraud. Consequences of unemployment fraud may include: repaying benefits received, a 15% penalty based on the amount of the overpayment; losing eligibility to receive benefits now and in the future, intercept of state and federal income tax refunds, criminal charges, jail time, and felony or misdemeanor conviction.
Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and Medicaid: Note that section 2104(h) of the CARES Act was not amended to add reference to MEUC. As a result, there is no statutory exception providing that MEUC payments will be disregarded for purposes of determining income for Medicaid and CHIP. Therefore, MEUC payments may affect an individual’s eligibility for these programs.