DETR: Unemployment benefits extended until Sept., but expect delay in start

Local News

LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Under the American Rescue Plan Act recently signed by President Biden, Nevadans claiming unemployment benefits will see their benefits extended through the week ending Sept. 4, 2021.

However, some claimants may see a delay in those benefits. The Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation is reviewing the final version of the new law and is awaiting direction from the Department of Labor on how to implement it.

“The positive news is that ARPA was passed before the extension of unemployment benefits in the Continued Assistance Act (CAA) expired.  DETR will not need to close and then restart the PUA program.  Unfortunately, due to timing of the passage of ARPA, there will be some delay in the implementation of the new extension of benefits for some claimants,” said Elisa Cafferata, Director of the Department of Employment, Training, and Rehabilitation.   

When the Continued Assistance Act, which extended benefits from December to March 13 was passed, it took three weeks for DETR to receive updated guidance from the government.

Once the guidance is received, DETR can update the computer programming in both regular UI and PUA. DETR said it will test the computer system before deploying anything.

The rollout of the ARPA extended weeks will be similar to the roll out under CAA:

Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA): 

  • Continued Assistance Act (CAA):   Added benefits weeks from December 27, 2020 through week ending March 13, 2021 so eligible claimants could collect benefits up to April 10, 2021 or for a maximum of 50 weeks, whichever comes first.   
  • Status 3-1-2021: All weeks of CAA PUA benefits are available.  PUA expires 3-13-2021.  Claimants will receive all weeks they are eligible for.  
  • American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA):  Extends PUA through week ending September 4, 2021.  ARPA extended weeks can only be paid on claims filed from March 14, 2021 through week ending September 4, 2021. 
  • Status 3-12-21:  Awaiting DOL guidance and working on programming to implement this extension.  PUA recipients may experience a delay of several weeks before benefits become available.  Claimants will receive all weeks they are eligible for.  

Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC): 

  • CAA:  The CAA  extended  all federal programs from December 27, 2020 through week ending March 13, 2021 for eligible UI recipients. 
  • Status 3-12-21:  Unemployment insurance (UI) provides up to 26 weeks of benefits. The CARES Act extended benefit weeks from March 27, 2020 to week ending December 26, 2020 to UI through PEUC and the Continued Assistance Act (CAA) extended benefit weeks from December 27, 2020 through week ending March 13, 2021 for eligible UI recipients. 
  • When adding the PEUC extension coding in UI, DETR discovered that additional programming was needed to track when claimants were exhausting their benefit weeks of PEUC from the CARES Act, before they switched over to the benefit weeks of PEUC from the CAA and this did take some time. This computer programming has been tested and payments are being issued.  The agency is monitoring the system as it processes payments.   
  • The UI system cannot process ​all of the existing claims at one time.  ​Because the system must evaluate and update the payment amount for each week for each claimant, we process payments in batches.  Unfortunately, it is not possible to give an overall timeline for PEUC payment processing.  ​In general, we are processing from oldest to newest claims.  Some complex claims require manual processing to ensure that claimants receive all of the weeks they are eligible for.  
  • ARPA:  Extends PEUC through week ending September 4, 2021.  ARPA extended weeks can only be paid on claims filed from March 14, 2021 through week ending September 4, 2021. 
  • Status 3-12-21:  Awaiting DOL guidance and working on programming to implement this extension.  As described above, the system will need to be updated to know when to move claimants from CARES or CAA, to ARPA extension of PEUC benefits.  The UI system will not be able to process ​all of the existing claims at one time.  We will continue to process payments in batches.  
  • PEUC recipients will experience a delay of several weeks before benefits become available.  Claimants will receive all weeks they are eligible for.  

 Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation:

  • CAA:  The Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) provision in the CAA provides an additional $300 weekly benefit to claims paid for the weeks from December 27, 2020 until March 13, 2021.   
  • Status:  This benefit programming has been implemented in most programs and payments have been issued along with unemployment benefits to eligible claimants in both UI and PUA with no further action required from claimants. 
  • Claimants waiting for updated programming to receive the Continue Assistance Act extended benefits will receive any back weeks of FPUC they are eligible for as their benefit payments are caught up. 
  • ARPA:  Extends the FPUC benefit of $300 per week through week ending September 4, 2021.   
  • Status 3-12-21:  DETR expects this benefit programming to be implemented in most programs immediately.  Payments will be issued along with unemployment benefits to eligible claimants in both UI and PUA with no further action required from claimants. 
  • Claimants waiting for updated programming to receive the ARPA extended benefits will receive any back weeks of FPUC they are eligible for as their benefit payments are caught up. 

Mixed Earner Unemployment Compensation (MEUC):

The MEUC program was created as part of the CAA and provides an additional $100 per week in supplemental benefits and is payable for the weeks ending January 2, 2021 through the week ending March 13, 2021.  The MEUC program will continue under ARPA. 

Claimants must be receiving unemployment benefits from a program other than PUA and must submit documentation of at least $5,000 in net income from self-employment in the applicable tax year.

  • CAA:  MEUC is added to weekly benefits paid for the weeks ending January 2, 2021 through the week ending March 13, 2021. 
  • ARPA:  MEUC is added to weekly benefits paid for the weeks ending March 20, 2021 through the week ending September 4, 2021. 
  • Status 3-12-21:  DETR is evaluating the programming requirements for MEUC and will add the programming as quickly as we can.  Claimants will be notified to apply for these benefits when this programming comes online.  Claimants will be paid for all eligible weeks. 

Claimants: 

  • Make sure to include your latest contact information in your online UInv account.
  • Continue to file weekly benefits.
  • Do not need to take any action to receive extended benefits under ARPA other than filing weekly claims.  They will automatically be added once the programming is completed in each system.
  • Check your claimant portal often for notifications from DETR.

All extensions: 

It is important to note that these federal programs generally expire the week ending September 4, 2021, unless Congress extends them.  And the extensions will require additional computer programming.  Claimants may not realize that their benefits, even with these extensions, may have expired due to the other federal rules.  For example, claimants in regular UI may have weeks left but have exhausted their claim because they have already received the Maximum Benefit Amount they are eligible for.  

Suspension of Tax on Portion of Unemployment Compensation 

ARPA creates a $10,200 federal tax exclusion for unemployment compensation income for tax year 2020 for households with incomes under $150,000.  

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