PAndemic unemployment assistance for Uber and lyyft drivers

Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act

Drivers and other gig-workers are now eligible for unemployment benefits under the coronavirus relief bill. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected every industry in the world. Rideshare drivers are reporting upwards of 80% decrease in pay. Workers from industries across the board have been laid off; concerts, events, and sports have been cancelled.

On Friday, March 27th, 2020, Congress passed the monumental coronavirus relief bill that provides the largest stimulus package in history. This new legislation provides relief for gig-workers, independent contractors, and self-employed Americans.

Pandemic Unemployment Assistance

Pandemic Unemployment Assistance or PUA, is the program that will provide unemployment benefits to those not ordinarily eligible for them. This includes individuals who are self-employed, gig workers, 1099 independent contractors, employees of churches, employees of non-profits 501C3s, or those with limited work history who do not qualify for state unemployment benefits. The GDOL has modified its current online unemployment application adding new questions to better identify those individuals who may be eligible for PUA. These individuals must be determined not to be eligible to receive state benefits before being evaluated for federal PUA benefits.

Applying for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance

The first step is for the individual to file a regular state unemployment claim application, where you will be asked questions about your employment and wages for the last 18 months.  The application for regular state unemployment benefits will be reviewed by GDOL and a written determination of eligibility will be released within 21 days.

The new federal PUA program is still under development and must be built from scratch to allow verification of wages. Once the programming is completed, individuals determined to not be eligible to be paid regular state benefits will receive an email with instructions for filing a PUA application. The GDOL has partnered with the Georgia Department of Revenue to help verify wages, subject to approval from the applicant. Emails should begin to go out to applicants potentially eligible for PUA on April 22, 2020.

Once the PUA application is received, it will be reviewed for eligibility and a written determination will be released with appeal rights. See detailed instructions on PUA.

Individuals who have already filed a claim with the GDOL and determined not eligible for state unemployment benefits and may be potentially eligible to receive benefits under this program, do NOT have to refile a regular state claim. Once development of the new federal PUA program is completed, these individuals will be identified and will receive notification by email with a link to the application or mail containing information regarding the PUA application process.

The Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation program, or PEUC, allows for up to an additional 13 weeks of benefits added to the end of regular unemployment benefits. This means claimants may collect unemployment benefits for a longer period of time than under normal circumstances. The GDOL recently received the guidelines on PEUC from the USDOL and is working quickly to develop and implement the new PEUC system. Individuals potentially eligible for this program will be identified and sent notification with PEUC claim filing instructions.