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Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation – How it Works

undefinedOne of the most significant provisions of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act of 2020 was the authorization of additional unemployment benefits for workers affected by the coronavirus pandemic. It is a temporary emergency increase in unemployment compensation benefits, referred to as the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) program.

This can be extremely helpful for the many thousands of people in Oregon who have been affected by the coronavirus pandemic and find themselves either laid off, furloughed, working reduced hours, in a work-share program, unable to continue their self-employed business or entitled to other pandemic related benefits.

In order to help you understand how you may benefit from the FPUC program, and in turn be able to care for yourself and your family, we have created this set of answers regarding how it works.

Who is eligible to receive FPUC?

FPUC is payable to individuals who are otherwise eligible for unemployment benefits for weeks of

unemployment beginning March 29, 2020 and ending July 31, 2020. In order to receive the $600

benefit, an individual must have an existing Unemployment Insurance claim, continue claiming weekly

Individuals may receive FPUC if they are receiving unemployment benefits under one of the following

programs:

• Regular Unemployment Insurance;

• Unemployment Insurance for Civilian Federal Employees (UCFE);

• Unemployment Compensation for Ex-Service Members (UCX);

• Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC);

• Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA);

• Extended Benefits (EB);

• Work Share Benefits, or Oregon’s Short-Time Compensation (STC) Program;

• Trade Readjustment Allowances (TRA); or the

• Self-Employment Assistance (SEA) program.

undefinedDo I have to sign up for FPUC payments?

Once you have become eligible under one of the underlying unemployment programs, no additional action is needed to apply for or receive FPUC benefits.

How much is the emergency increase?

FPUC provides an eligible individual with an additional $600 per week. This payment is not pro-rated or dependent on how much you are eligible for. If you are eligible to receive at least $1 of unemployment benefits for the claimed week, you will receive the full $600 FPUC payment.

When does the emergency increase start?

You are eligible for the additional benefit for weeks of unemployment beginning with the week of March 29, 2020. Claimants who were unemployed for that week will receive payments retro to that week. If you become eligible to receive payments after March 29, 2020, you will eligible for the additional benefit when you become eligible to begin receiving unemployment benefit payments.

How long will FPUC be available?

FPUC is payable for every week that you are eligible for unemployment benefits through the week of July 26, 2020.

How will my FPUC be paid?

Your FPUC payments will be made at the same time and using the same payment method as for your regular unemployment insurance benefits (such as into a debit card account). However, it will be a separate payment from the regular unemployment insurance benefit payment. You will in effect receive two weekly payments.

Will payment of FPUC reduce my regular benefits?

The method governing the computation of regular unemployment compensation will remain the

same and not be reduced by the amount of your FPUC payment.

Is FPUC taxable?

Yes, the $600 FPUC is taxable. If you have elected to have taxes withheld from your unemployment benefits, they will also be withheld from the $600 FPUC payment.

Will payment of FPUC affect my right to Medicaid and OHP?

No, your FPUC payments must be disregarded when determining the amount of income under Medicaid or OHP benefits.

Will child support be deductible from FPUC?

Child support obligations must be deducted from FPUC payments in the same manner and to the same

extent as these obligations are deducted from regular unemployment compensation.

If I am denied FPUC do I have a right to appeal?

FPUC hinges on whether you are eligible for underlying unemployment benefits under regular

State or Federal programs. If a claimant is found ineligible for benefits (and therefore FPUC as well), they

would have a right to appeal that finding.

Since FPUC provides an additional $600 per week, can I quit my job and collect unemployment?

No. Quitting work without good cause just to obtain additional benefits under the regular

unemployment program or the federal programs qualifies as fraud and could subject the individual to

criminal penalties.

If you, like so many other Americans, have found yourself in the difficult position of unemployment, the FPUC program may be able to provide that extra income that is needed to support not only yourself, but your family. We understand that this time is especially difficult for everyone, and that families are finding themselves in tough binds as they try to stay afloat during this global pandemic and financial crisis. As a family law firm, we care deeply about being a resource to our clientele, and purpose to share as much valuable information as we can to help families stay afloat and receive the support they need. If you have any further questions about FPUC, please do not hesitate to contact our office to discuss your options and gain access to our extensive referral network.

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