View all text of Subchapter II [§ 9021 - § 9034]

§ 9021. Pandemic unemployment assistance
(a) DefinitionsIn this section:
(1) COVID–19

The term “COVID–19” means the 2019 Novel Coronavirus or 2019-nCoV.

(2) COVID–19 public health emergency

The term “COVID–19 public health emergency” means the public health emergency declared by the Secretary of Health and Human Services on January 27, 2020, with respect to the 2019 Novel Coronavirus.

(3) Covered individualThe term “covered individual”—
(A) means an individual who—
(i) is not eligible for regular compensation or extended benefits under State or Federal law or pandemic emergency unemployment compensation under section 9025 of this title, including an individual who has exhausted all rights to regular unemployment or extended benefits under State or Federal law or pandemic emergency unemployment compensation under section 9025 of this title;
(ii) provides self-certification that the individual—(I) is otherwise able to work and available for work within the meaning of applicable State law, except the individual is unemployed, partially unemployed, or unable or unavailable to work because—(aa) the individual has been diagnosed with COVID–19 or is experiencing symptoms of COVID–19 and seeking a medical diagnosis;(bb) a member of the individual’s household has been diagnosed with COVID–19;(cc) the individual is providing care for a family member or a member of the individual’s household who has been diagnosed with COVID–19;(dd) 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;(ee) the individual is unable to reach the place of employment because of a quarantine imposed as a direct result of the COVID–19 public health emergency;(ff) the individual is unable to reach the place of employment because the individual has been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine due to concerns related to COVID–19;(gg) 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;(hh) the individual has become the breadwinner or major support for a household because the head of the household has died as a direct result of COVID–19;(ii) the individual has to quit his or her job as a direct result of COVID–19;(jj) the individual’s place of employment is closed as a direct result of the COVID–19 public health emergency; or(kk) the individual meets any additional criteria established by the Secretary for unemployment assistance under this section; or(II) is self-employed, is seeking part-time employment, does not have sufficient work history, or otherwise would not qualify for regular unemployment or extended benefits under State or Federal law or pandemic emergency unemployment compensation under section 9025 of this title, and meets the requirements of subclause (I); and
(iii) provides documentation to substantiate employment or self-employment or the planned commencement of employment or self-employment not later than 21 days after the later of the date on which the individual submits an application for pandemic unemployment assistance under this section or the date on which an individual is directed by the State Agency to submit such documentation in accordance with section 625.6(e) of title 20, Code of Federal Regulations, or any successor thereto, except that such deadline may be extended if the individual has shown good cause under applicable State law for failing to submit such documentation; and
(B) does not include—
(i) an individual who has the ability to telework with pay; or
(ii) an individual who is receiving paid sick leave or other paid leave benefits, regardless of whether the individual meets a qualification described in items (aa) through (kk) of subparagraph (A)(i)(I).
(4) Secretary

The term “Secretary” means the Secretary of Labor.

(5) State

The term “State” includes the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, and the Republic of Palau.

(b) Assistance for unemployment as a result of COVID–19

Subject to subsection (c), the Secretary shall provide to any covered individual unemployment benefit assistance while such individual is unemployed, partially unemployed, or unable to work for the weeks of such unemployment with respect to which the individual is not entitled to any other unemployment compensation (as that term is defined in section 85(b) of title 26) or waiting period credit.

(c) Applicability
(1) In generalExcept as provided in paragraph (2), the assistance authorized under subsection (b) shall be available to a covered individual—
(A) for weeks of unemployment, partial unemployment, or inability to work caused by COVID–19—
(i) beginning on or after January 27, 2020; and
(ii) ending on or before September 6, 2021; and
(B) subject to subparagraph (A)(ii), as long as the covered individual’s unemployment, partial unemployment, or inability to work caused by COVID–19 continues.
(2) Limitation on duration of assistance

The total number of weeks for which a covered individual may receive assistance under this section shall not exceed 79 weeks and such total shall include any week for which the covered individual received regular compensation or extended benefits under any Federal or State law, except that if after March 27, 2020, the duration of extended benefits is extended, the 79-week period described in this paragraph shall be extended by the number of weeks that is equal to the number of weeks by which the extended benefits were extended.

(3) Assistance for unemployment before March 27, 2020

The Secretary shall establish a process for making assistance under this section available for weeks beginning on or after January 27, 2020, and before March 27, 2020.

(4) Redesignated (3)
(5) Appeals by an individual
(A) In general

An individual may appeal any determination or redetermination regarding the rights to pandemic unemployment assistance under this section made by the State agency of any of the States.

(B) ProcedureAll levels of appeal filed under this paragraph in the 50 states, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands—
(i) shall be carried out by the applicable State that made the determination or redetermination; and
(ii) shall be conducted in the same manner and to the same extent as the applicable State would conduct appeals of determinations or redeterminations regarding rights to regular compensation under State law.
(C) Procedure for certain territoriesWith respect to any appeal filed in Guam, American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, Republic of the Marshall Islands, and the Republic of Palau—
(i) lower level appeals shall be carried out by the applicable entity within the State;
(ii) if a higher level appeal is allowed by the State, the higher level appeal shall be carried out by the applicability entity within the State; and
(iii) appeals described in clauses (i) and (ii) shall be conducted in the same manner and to the same extent as appeals of regular unemployment compensation are conducted under the unemployment compensation law of Hawaii.
(6) Continued eligibility for assistance

As a condition of continued eligibility for assistance under this section, a covered individual shall submit a recertification to the State for each week after the individual’s 1st week of eligibility that certifies that the individual remains an individual described in subsection (a)(3)(A)(ii) for such week.

(d) Amount of assistance
(1) In generalThe assistance authorized under subsection (b) for a week of unemployment, partial unemployment, or inability to work shall be—
(A)
(i) the weekly benefit amount authorized under the unemployment compensation law of the State where the covered individual was employed, except that the amount may not be less than the minimum weekly benefit amount described in section 625.6 of title 20, Code of Federal Regulations, or any successor thereto; and
(ii) the amount of Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation under section 9023 of this title; and
(B) in the case of an increase of the weekly benefit amount after March 27, 2020, increased in an amount equal to such increase.
(2) Calculations of amounts for certain covered individuals

In the case of a covered individual who is self-employed, who lives in a territory described in subsection (c) or (d) of section 625.6 of title 20, Code of Federal Regulations, or who would not otherwise qualify for unemployment compensation under State law, the assistance authorized under subsection (b) for a week of unemployment shall be calculated in accordance with section 625.6 of title 20, Code of Federal Regulations, or any successor thereto, and shall be increased by the amount of Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation under section 9023 of this title.

(3) Allowable methods of paymentAny assistance provided for in accordance with paragraph (1)(A)(ii) shall be payable either—
(A) as an amount which is paid at the same time and in the same manner as the assistance provided for in paragraph (1)(A)(i) is payable for the week involved; or
(B) at the option of the State, by payments which are made separately from, but on the same weekly basis as, any assistance provided for in paragraph (1)(A)(i).
(4) Waiver authorityIn the case of individuals who have received amounts of pandemic unemployment assistance to which they were not entitled, the State shall require such individuals to repay the amounts of such pandemic unemployment assistance to the State agency, except that the State agency may waive such repayment if it determines that—
(A) the payment of such pandemic unemployment assistance was without fault on the part of any such individual; and
(B) such repayment would be contrary to equity and good conscience.
(e) Waiver of State requirement

Notwithstanding State law, for purposes of assistance authorized under this section, compensation under this Act shall be made to an individual otherwise eligible for such compensation without any waiting period.

(f) Agreements with States
(1) In general

The Secretary shall provide the assistance authorized under subsection (b) through agreements with States which, in the judgment of the Secretary, have an adequate system for administering such assistance through existing State agencies, including procedures for identity verification or validation and for timely payment, to the extent reasonable and practicable.

(2) Payments to StatesThere shall be paid to each State which has entered into an agreement under this subsection an amount equal to 100 percent of—
(A) the total amount of assistance provided by the State pursuant to such agreement; and
(B) any additional administrative expenses incurred by the State by reason of such agreement (as determined by the Secretary), including any administrative expenses necessary to facilitate processing of applications for assistance under this section online or by telephone rather than in-person and expenses related to identity verification or validation and timely and accurate payment.
(3) Terms of payments

Sums payable to any State by reason of such State’s having an agreement under this subsection shall be payable, either in advance or by way of reimbursement (as determined by the Secretary), in such amounts as the Secretary estimates the State will be entitled to receive under this subsection for each calendar month, reduced or increased, as the case may be, by any amount by which the Secretary finds that his estimates for any prior calendar month were greater or less than the amounts which should have been paid to the State. Such estimates may be made on the basis of such statistical, sampling, or other method as may be agreed upon by the Secretary and the State agency of the State involved.

(g) Funding
(1) Assistance
(A) In general

Funds in the extended unemployment compensation account (as established by section 1105(a) of title 42) of the Unemployment Trust Fund (as established by section 1104(a) of title 42) shall be used to make payments to States pursuant to subsection (f)(2)(A).

(B) Transfer of funds

Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the Secretary of the Treasury shall transfer from the general fund of the Treasury (from funds not otherwise appropriated) to the extended unemployment compensation account such sums as the Secretary of Labor estimates to be necessary to make payments described in subparagraph (A). There are appropriated from the general fund of the Treasury, without fiscal year limitation, the sums referred to in the preceding sentence and such sums shall not be required to be repaid.

(2) Administrative expenses
(A) In general

Funds in the employment security administration account (as established by section 1101(a) of title 42) of the Unemployment Trust Fund (as established by section 1104(a) of title 42) shall be used to make payments to States pursuant to subsection (f)(2)(B).

(B) Transfer of funds

Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the Secretary of the Treasury shall transfer from the general fund of the Treasury (from funds not otherwise appropriated) to the employment security administration account such sums as the Secretary of Labor estimates to be necessary to make payments described in subparagraph (A). There are appropriated from the general fund of the Treasury, without fiscal year limitation, the sums referred to in the preceding sentence and such sums shall not be required to be repaid.

(3) Certifications

The Secretary of Labor shall from time to time certify to the Secretary of the Treasury for payment to each State the sums payable to such State under paragraphs (1) and (2).

(h) Relationship between pandemic unemployment assistance and disaster unemployment assistanceExcept as otherwise provided in this section or to the extent there is a conflict between this section and part 625 of title 20, Code of Federal Regulations, such part 625 shall apply to this section as if—
(1) the term “COVID–19 public health emergency” were substituted for the term “major disaster” each place it appears in such part 625; and
(2) the term “pandemic” were substituted for the term “disaster” each place it appears in such part 625.
(Pub. L. 116–136, div. A, title II, § 2102, Mar. 27, 2020, 134 Stat. 313; Pub. L. 116–260, div. N, title II, §§ 201(a)–(c)(1), (d), 209(a), 241(a), 242(a), 263(a), Dec. 27, 2020, 134 Stat. 1950—1952, 1956, 1959, 1960, 1963; Pub. L. 117–2, title IX, § 9011(a), (b), Mar. 11, 2021, 135 Stat. 118.)