As the United States continues to struggle with the economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic, citizens will see a small silver lining in the recent stimulus bill of $900 billion rolled out by the Congress. It will broaden the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program’s umbrella of assistance.
Reports say that the PUA program established under the provisions of the CARES Act has been extended by 11 weeks and will provide assistance to Americans till March 14, 2021. At present, there are almost 10 million Americans who gain assistance from this program.
However, fresh rules have been applied for verifying genuine cases and controlling fraud. Under the government’s new rule for eligibility verification, beneficiaries will now need to prove that they qualify for PUA by submitting certain documents within 90 days once the bill becomes law. If not, they will have to return the assistance received as benefits.
PUA’s assistance extends to the non-traditional workforce such as gig workers and freelancers who would have to prove their jobless status, in addition to people who have been under the direct impact of the virus.
Americans who are now receiving PUA need to certify and receive their assistance as usual, but are recommended to send their eligibility documents immediately after the state agency releases the new requirements.
Those who had self-attested themselves for the benefits this year, but are unable to submit their verification documents to avail the same next year, need not refund the assistance they received from PUA assistance this year.