On May 11, 2021, Governor Kim Reynolds announced new measures to address the State of Iowa’s severe workforce shortage. Effective June 12, 2021, the State of Iowa ended its participation in federal pandemic-related unemployment benefit programs. Iowa stopped participating in the federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program on that date. The last payable week for PUA was the week ending June 12, 2021.
Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) is a program under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act of 2020 that provides temporary income to eligible individuals who became unemployed as a result of the novel COVID-19 pandemic and are either self-employed, do not have sufficient work history to be eligible for a claim, or have exhausted other forms of unemployment insurance benefits. It is funded by the federal government, not by state unemployment taxes paid by employers.
IMPORTANT: If you are notified that your benefit year has expired, you must file a new claim online to determine your continued eligibility. States are required to determine if you are eligible for a state unemployment insurance claim when your benefit year expires. If you are determined to be ineligible for a new benefit year, you can be placed back on PUA. The new benefit year filing process may take a few weeks to be finalized, but you would be paid for any weeks you are eligible for as long as you remain eligible and continue to file your weekly claim.
You'll find the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) Application Form at this link, and instructions further down on this page.
PANDEMIC UNEMPLOYMENT ASSISTANCE (PUA):
- Payment amount:
- Minimum payment amount for individuals will be:
- $203 per week
- Maximum payment will be:
- $493 per week with zero dependents
- $605 with four dependents
- Minimum payment amount for individuals will be:
- Last Payable Week: Provides potential weeks up through June 12, 2021. No benefits will be paid for any weeks after June 12, 2021 even if you have a remaining balance on your claim.
- You must either have a monetarily eligible state claim that has exhausted benefits or some work history within the last 18 months. This includes anyone who was scheduled to start a job and couldn't due to COVID-19 and those claimants that are currently ineligible due to a separation issue on their claim. PUA benefits for those who have a separation issue on their claim have not been implemented in Iowa. An update will be made to the website when this benefit is available.
If you knowingly make or cause another person to make a false statement or knowingly fail or cause another person to fail to disclose a material fact and, as a result, receive Pandemic Unemployment Assistance to which you are not entitled, you will be subject to prosecution under 19 section 1001 of Title 18, United States Code.
- Quitting work without good cause to obtain UI benefits is fraud under PUA.
- If, for reasons unrelated to COVID-19, you quit your job without good cause, are terminated for misconduct or refuse to work when work is available, you will be disqualified for benefits from any of the state or federal programs currently available. This means that in order to receive state or federal unemployment benefits, you must not take any action that causes you to be out of work that is unrelated to COVID-19.
- Intentional misrepresentation in the reporting of earnings earned during a given week on one’s continued weekly claim for unemployment insurance can result in finding of fraud, a disqualification from benefits, and an overpayment of benefits, in addition to other penalties and potential criminal prosecution.
To be eligible for benefits under the Pandemic Unemployment assistance, an individual:
- Must not be eligible for other specific forms of unemployment insurance, including unemployment insurance (UI), Unemployment Compensation for Federal Employees (UCFE), Unemployment Compensation for Ex-Servicemembers (UCX), Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC), Extended Benefits (EB), and Short-Time Compensation/Voluntary Shared Work (STC/VSW), OR
- Must have exhausted other forms of unemployment insurance listed above (if applicable), OR
- Must have been self-employed and not eligible for one of the forms of unemployment insurance listed above, OR
- Must have been scheduled to begin work for an employer and not be eligible for one of the forms of unemployment insurance listed above, OR
- Must have been scheduled to begin self-employment and not be eligible for one of the forms of unemployment insurance listed above, AND
- Must not qualify for an unemployment insurance claim in another state or U.S. territory, AND
- Must be fully or partially unemployed for one of the qualifying COVID-19 reasons listed below.
QUALIFYING COVID-19 REASONS:
To be eligible for PUA, an individual must be unemployed, partially unemployed, or unable or unavailable to work due to one of the COVID-19 related reasons listed below:
- The individual has been diagnosed with COVID-19 or is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and is seeking a medical diagnosis;
- A member of the individual’s household has been diagnosed with COVID-19;
- The individual is providing care for a family member or a member of the individual’s household who has been diagnosed with COVID-19;
- A child or other person in the household for which the individual has primary caregiving responsibility is unable to attend school or another facility that is closed as a direct result of the COVID-19 public health emergency and such school or facility care is required for the individual to work;
- The individual is unable to reach their place of employment because of a quarantine imposed as a direct result of the COVID-19 public health emergency;
- The individual is unable to reach their place of employment because the individual has been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine due to concerns related to COVID-19;
- The individual was scheduled to commence employment and does not have a job or is unable to reach the job as a direct result of the COVID-19 public health emergency;
- The individual has become the breadwinner or major support for a household because the head of household has died as a direct result of COVID-19;
- The individual has to quit their job as a direct result of COVID 19; or
- The individual’s place of employment is closed as a direct result of the COVID-19 public health emergency.
THOSE NOT ELIGIBLE FOR PANDEMIC UNEMPLOYMENT ASSISTANCE INCLUDE INDIVIDUALS WHO:
Have the ability to telework with pay and would still be working substantially the same number of hours and be receiving the same pay.
Are receiving paid sick leave or other paid leave benefits, and those benefits would exceed their weekly amount of PUA.
Are eligible for another state or federal unemployment program [including unemployment insurance (UI), Unemployment Compensation for Federal Employees (UCFE), Unemployment Compensation for Ex-Servicemembers (UCX), Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC), Extended Benefits (EB), Short-Time Compensation/Voluntary Shared Work (STC/VSW)], Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA), and Training Extension Benefits (TEB).
Attention: Applications for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) are being accepted on limited basis. This includes for the time frame you received regular unemployment during the pandemic and were later determined ineligible. You cannot apply for PUA for any time you were unemployed after June 12, 2021. For more information on how to submit a PUA application, please call: 1-866-239-0843.
Question: I was approved for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, but I received a decision stating I have been overpaid unemployment insurance benefits. Why?
When the pandemic began, all claimants were paid regular, state-funded unemployment insurance benefits until the federal programs were set up. After the CARES Act was passed, it took some time for Iowa Workforce Development to set up the program and administer Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) benefits, which are federally funded. The overpayment decision is for the state funds you received before the federal PUA program was set up. For technical reasons, Iowa Workforce Development must first issue an overpayment decision on the state funds, even if you were eventually approved for PUA benefits that cover the same time period.
Most PUA benefits have now been paid. However, due to an issue with our computer program, the agency has not been able to release PUA funds for the same time period you received regular state unemployment insurance benefits. As soon as the computer issue is fixed, Iowa Workforce Development will release PUA payments for the time period you were approved for PUA benefits but received state benefits. Please note, the agency can only withhold 50 percent of your PUA benefits to offset the overpayment. The balance of the PUA payments you are owed will be disbursed to you and you may voluntarily use the money you receive to repay the remainder of the overpayment to Iowa Workforce Development.
For example, your weekly benefit amount for regular unemployment insurance benefits is $100, and you received 10 weeks of payments beginning March 29, 2020. You were later found ineligible for regular unemployment insurance benefits, so you applied for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) benefits. You were approved for PUA benefits effective March 29, 2020, and your weekly benefit amount for PUA benefits is $100. You received an overpayment for regular unemployment insurance benefits for $1,000 for the 10 weeks of state benefits you received at the beginning of the pandemic. When the computer issues are resolved, Iowa Workforce Development will withhold $500 in PUA benefits to offset the overpayment and will release the remaining $500 directly to you. You can use that money to pay off the remainder of your overpayment.
Iowa Workforce Development
1000 East Grand Avenue
Des Moines, IA 50319
UI Customer Service Hours: (excluding state holidays)
Monday through Friday from 8:00 am - 4:30 pm
To ensure faster service, please have the following information ready when contacting IWD (click here)