July 08, 2020

CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security) ACT

Updated September 28, 2020

On March 27, 2020, the President signed the CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security) Act to expand unemployment insurance benefits and other economic relief measures aimed at reducing the economic impact of the novel coronavirus 2019 ("COVID-19") pandemic and authorized $2.1 trillion in aid to various sectors of the economy. This economic relief package is in addition to the Family First Corona Virus Response Act.

CARES includes the following:

Pandemic Unemployment Assistance or PUA, is the program that will provide unemployment benefits to those not ordinarily eligible for them. This includes individuals who are self-employed, gig workers, 1099 independent contractors, employees of churches, employees of non-profits or those with limited work history who will not qualify for state unemployment benefits.

The Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation program, or FPUC, provides a $600 supplement per week to any individual eligible for any of the Unemployment Compensation programs - State and Federal. Those who receive this benefit and were receiving UI benefits at that time will get benefits back to April 4, 2020. The FPUC program ended with the week ending July 25, 2020.

The Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation program, or PEUC, allows for up to an additional 13 weeks of benefits added to the end of regular unemployment benefits. This means claimants may collect unemployment benefits for a longer period of time than under normal circumstances. Claimants are potentially eligible if they have been unemployed between March 29 through December 26, 2020 and have exhausted regular state or federal benefits after July 6, 2019. Individuals must be ineligible for state or federal benefits and able and available to work.

State Extended Benefits, or SEB, is an extension of benefits that occurs when a state meets the unemployment rate threshold for a designated period. Georgia became eligible to pay SEB May 10, 2020. However, the first payable week ending date (WED) was July 4, 2020 based on the first payable WED of PEUC was April 4, 2020 for 13 weeks. As of July 5, 2020, Georgia began a high unemployment period in the Extended Benefits program increasing the maximum potential entitlement for claimants from 13 weeks to 20 weeks. On October 11, due to a decrease in the unemployment rate, we will begin low unemployment period and decrease the maximum potential entitlement for claimants back to 13 weeks.

Lost Wages Assistance (LWA) is part of President Trump's executive order to extend enhanced federal unemployment benefits. Claimants who qualify for the LWA program are issued supplemental payments for all eligible weeks. LWA is a program that receives funding from the Federal Emergency Management Administration's (FEMA) Disaster Relief Fund. LWA allows distribution of an additional $300 weekly supplement to eligible individuals receiving UI benefits from state and federal unemployment insurance programs. FEMA announced that all states would be limited to six weeks of benefits. The GDOL received approval for all six weeks of LWA benefits. These will be LWA benefits for weeks ending August 1 through September 5.