Due to COVID-19 (aka Coronavirus), my employer has cut my hours / forced me to take unpaid time off / laid me off. Can I get Unemployment Insurance benefits?

Employees in Arizona who have had their hours reduced, forced to take unpaid leave, or were laid off because of COVID19 may file a claim for Unemployment Insurance benefits with the Arizona Department of Economic Security (“DES”). To apply for and be approved for Unemployment Insurance benefits within the state of Arizona, individuals must meet existing requirements related to work history, earnings and an immigration status that allows them to work. However, please note, if you are not eligible in Arizona or have exhausted your benefits you maybe eligible for another form of unemployment compensation extended by the federal government, known as Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, explained below.

In Arizona, workers are eligible for up to $240 a week in unemployment benefits. However, the federal government passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES), which includes additional types of unemployment coverage. The additional types of coverage are:

Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) – provides emergency assistance to workers who are left out of regular state UI or have exhausted their state UI benefits. Up to 39 weeks of PUA are available to workers who are immediately eligible to receive PUA. On December 27, 2020, the president signed into law the Continuing Assistance Act (CAA) which extends Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) until March 14, 2021.

Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC)
Provides an additional 13 week of UI benefits, which will become available after someone exhausts their regular state UI benefits. To receive these benefits a worker must be actively engaged in work; however, exception apply for those who are unable to work due to coronavirus (such as those sick, quarantined, or subject to movement restrictions). PEUC expires March 14th, 2021

Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (PUC) *EXPIRED* – From March 25, 2020 until July 31, 2020, Pandemic Unemployment claimants will receive their monthly benefit plus an additional $600 per week in compensation. PUC is a flat amount to those receiving unemployment benefit check. PUC may be paid with your regular unemployment benefit or separate; however, must be paid weekly.

Many thanks to Community Legal Services, William E Morris Institute for Justice, and David J. Newstone for their help.

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