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VEC: Renewed CARES Act unemployment benefit programs delayed

Published: Jan. 15, 2021 at 1:27 PM EST
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HENRICO Co., Va. (WWBT) - The Virginia Employment Commission (VEC) says there has been a delay in implementing the unemployment benefit programs through the “Continued Assistance to Unemployed Workers Act of 2020”.

On Jan. 6 the VEC released a general timeline for when Virginians may be able to receive these extended benefits for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation.

[ VEC releases timeline for implementing renewed unemployment benefits programs ]

Legislation signed by President Trump on Dec. 27, 2020 allowed all of the CARES Act unemployment compensation programs to be extended for an additional 11 weeks through March 13, 2021.

Originally, Virginians who had exhausted these benefits in 2020 were hoping to start filing claims as of Jan. 8 and Jan. 14 respectively.

However, on Wednesday the VEC announced a new implementation date of Jan. 29 for those programs.

  • “Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA). What you can expect:
    • If you exhausted the original 39 weeks, you will then be considered for an additional 11 weeks of PUA benefits under this legislation. The first payable week in this scenario would be for the week ending January 2, 2021. Please be advised that we are working on programming our benefit systems to allow for these changes. *** Update: The target date for implementation is 01/29/21.
  • Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC). What you can expect:
    • If you exhausted the original 13 weeks you will then be considered for an additional 11 weeks of PEUC benefits under this legislation. The first payable week in this scenario would be for the week ending January 2, 2021. Please be advised that we are working on programming our benefit systems to allow for these changes. *** Update: The target date for implementation is 01/29/21.

The U.S. Department of Labor has begun to issue guidance necessary for the proper administration of various programs under the unemployment insurance umbrella,” the VEC stated. “Please be aware that there are some details still being worked out by USDOL with respect to implementation.”

Meanwhile, Virginians who did not exhaust their PEUC and PUA benefits from 2020 were expected to start filing additional claims as of Jan. 8 and Jan. 14.

  • “If you did not exhaust your 13 weeks of PEUC you will be allowed to claim additional weeks. Please be advised that we are working on programming our benefit systems to allow for these changes. The target date for implementation is 01/08/2021. ** Update: Individuals in this category should now be able to claim the remaining weeks beginning with the benefit week ending 1-2-21 and payment issued if eligible for that week.
  • If you did not exhaust your 39 weeks of PUA you will be allowed to claim additional weeks. Please be advised that we are working on programming our benefit systems to allow for these changes. The target date for implementation is 01/14/2021.”

Additionally, the VEC stated Wednesday the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC), which adds an additional $300 per week, was being added to individuals under the following programs:

  • Regular Unemployment Insurance (UI)
  • Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA)
  • Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC)

“This additional benefit will be added to weeks claimed beginning with the week ending January 2, 2021,” the website stated. “FPUC will be payable as long as you are eligible through benefit week ending March 14, 2021.”

The target date for implementing the program for UI and PEUC was Jan. 8. With the target date for PUA Jan. 14.

More information on the benefits program is expected to be released Jan. 20 at 2 p.m.

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