Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) is a program under the CARES Act. It provides unemployment benefits to individuals who became unemployed because of COVID-19 and are not eligible for regular benefits.
On March 12, 2021, Pres. Joe Biden signed the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. The bill extended the program an additional 29 weeks, extending the maximum number of weeks from 50 to 79. Read American Rescue Plan Act FAQs for other unemployment updates. PUA covers those who have work history in the past 18 months and are denied regular benefits. Regular unemployment insurance can be denied for several reasons, also known as claim issues. Issues could include:
Step 1: Apply for Unemployment Benefits
File an unemployment insurance claim application at idaho.gov/claimantportal. Idaho Department of Labor will determine if you have earned enough wages to be monetarily eligible for regular unemployment benefits. You will receive a letter in the mail explaining your monetary entitlement. If you are not monetarily eligible for benefits view: Pandemic Unemployment Assistance for Low Wage Earners.
Step 2: Look for work
On April 2, 2021, the Idaho Department of Labor notified all unemployment insurance claimants currently receiving benefits that pre-pandemic work search requirements will be reinstated starting April 25, 2021. Claimants must seek work unless they are returning to work with an employer within 16 weeks. Work search requirements apply to regular and CARES Act unemployment insurance programs. They also apply to all claimants, including low- wage earners.
Step 3: Continue to submit your weekly certifications at labor.idaho.gov/claimantportal
Step 4: Receive a Determination of Benefits
Step 5: Submit Proof of 2019 Earnings
Gather your proof of income for 2019. Your wage history needs to be established with any of the following documents:
Submit your proof of income using one of the following methods:
If you upload to Claimant Portal, the file size limit is 5 MB. File types allowed are: pdf, xps, doc, docx, odf, xls, xlsx, csv, ods, jpg, png, tif, txt, rtf, qbv, qbf, qbb, qbw, qbm, qbx.
Step 6: Verify your identity
U.S. Department of Labor (USDOL) requires claimants receiving PUA benefits to verify their identity. You must verify your identity through our trusted partner, ID.me. If you fail to verify your identity through ID.me within 14 days, your unemployment insurance claim will be denied. Learn more about the identity verification process.
Step 7: Application Review
No additional action is necessary to prove your employment after you supply your proof of earnings unless we contact you. If additional information is needed or if you have not provided sufficient documentation for your proof of wages, you will be contacted by phone or email. When your proof of income is reviewed and approved, you will be sent a monetary redetermination. You must continue to file your weekly claim application. You will be issued payment for eligible weeks(s) claimed once your identity is verified and your documentation is reviewed. You will be paid retroactively for eligible week(s) claimed during the proof of income review, even if you have returned to work. Payment will be in one lump sum via direct deposit or debit card.
To be eligible for PUA, an individual must be unemployed or unable or unavailable to work due to one of the COVID-19 related reasons listed below:
An Equal Opportunity Employer and Service Provider
Brad Little, Governor
Jani Revier, Director