Federal PUA claims may now be filed

Last week, Ohio’s Job and Family Services (JFS) launched their new Federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) computer system, so Federal PUA claims can now be filed. The Federal (PUA) unemployment has much-needed, expanded eligibility for unemployment compensation.

In Ohio, unemployment claimants must meet a threshold to be eligible for State of Ohio unemployment compensation — an average weekly wage of at least $269 per week and a work history of twenty (20) weeks of covered employment during the (base period) year.

Unfortunately, a lot of State unemployment claims were outright denied due to the claimant failing to meet that threshold. Now, the expanded coverage of the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) would cover these individuals who were denied Ohio unemployment because they did not meet the $269 wage and/or twenty (20) weeks requirement as long as their unemployment was related to the COVID-19 epidemic.

The Federal (PUA) expanded unemployment coverage reaches a lot more ‘workers’ than Ohio’s unemployment coverage, including part-time employees, individuals with limited work history, and self-employed individuals.

These additional categories of ‘workers’ covered by the PUA must apply for a Federal PUA claim through the State of Ohio JFS new Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) online claim system at: https://unemploymenthelp.ohio.gov/expandedeligibility Federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) benefits will be retroactive to the date that the individual experienced a job loss or reduction in income due to the COVID-19 epidemic.

In summary, if a claimant’s State of Ohio unemployment claim was denied due to their being ineligible (insufficient wages and/or insufficient weeks of work), that individual now needs to apply for Federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA).

Likewise self-employed individuals (who are not covered by Ohio’s unemployment) should now file for the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA).

Just make sure that you are accessing the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA)claims processing site (noted above )and not the regular State of Ohio state unemployment claims site.

E. Roberta Wade

Attorney at Law