Baruch promotes Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program amid COVID-19 crisis


NYS Department of Labor | Twitter

Joel C. Bautista

New Yorkers left jobless due to the COVID-19 pandemic have had no choice but to file for unemployment.

As far as filing for unemployment insurance, not everyone is eligible for compensation. In order to aid those who are ineligible, a new federal program known as Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, or PUA, was created through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act, or CARES.

Baruch College has been promoting the program in its weekly communications updates, beneath information from the CUNY Chancellor. The school encourages students who are eligible to apply for the assistance.

Signed into law by U.S. President Donald Trump on March 27, the CARES Act temporarily expands unemployment insurance to numerous unemployed workers that still need financial assistance but have been rejected when applying for unemployment benefits.

Those who are eligible for PUA can receive up to 39 weeks’ worth of benefits based on the individual’s application, plus an additional $600 per week until July 31. Benefit amounts are calculated based on previous earnings.

Because there has been an increase of people applying for unemployment over the past few months, a new update on online applications has recently been launched. It allows applicants to apply for PUA without having to apply for unemployment insurance and be rejected first.

According to the New York State Department of Labor, the COVID-19 scenarios that can be met with relief by PUA are self-employed New Yorkers, independent contractors, New Yorkers who worked for an app-based company, farmers and part-time workers, among others. This can help many students who have taken an entrepreneurial step into business.

When it comes to whether someone is considered self-employed, it is determined by whether they are the owner of a business or are in business for themselves.

Someone who is self-employed is the sole proprietor of an unincorporated business, works as an independent contractor, consultant or freelancer, owns or is part of a limited liability company, is a member of a business partnership or earns income though investments or rental property.

The best way to apply online is through the site where filling out an online application will determine whether an individual is eligible for unemployment insurance or PUA, followed by a series of program-specific questions.

This same process is also available over the phone by dialing 1-888-209-8124, where an automated phone system will be there for you to apply.

The status of the submitted claim can be checked by logging into your account on the Department of Labor website.