Covered Individual And PUA Benefits

Covered Individual is a point of contention for unemployed people seeking pandemic unemployment assistance or PUA benefits. Sure, receiving money today sounds great. However, things may go horribly wrong down the road. Here is why.

Pandemic unemployment assistance benefits feels easy. And, politicians from both sides are saying things to put people at ease. But, the devil is in the details.

Covered Individual for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance
Covered Individual

The details come from a federal law called 15 USCS § 9021, which is a rule that tells us about Pandemic Unemployment Assistance. The key phrase inside this rule is “covered individual”.

In other words, people who meet the definition of covered individuals are eligible for PUA. Those who do not meet the definition are likely ineligible or weighing an opportunity to appeal a decision.

Who Is A Covered Individual?

Those that are more likely to have an easier time with the unemployment office are individuals or covered individuals who meets elements under 15 USCS § 9021.

In other words, this means a person who was:

  • Diagnosed with COVID-19,
  • A member of a household impacted by COVID-19,
  • Care for a family member impacted by COVID-19,
  • A person who lost childcare or is supporting a child that is not able to attend school,
  • An individual who cannot go to their place of work,
  • Workers who anticipated starting a job that was impacted by COVID-19, or
  • A person who’s place of work was closed due to a government mandate.

Of course, there are a lot more opportunities for covered individuals than those highlighted above. That said, our self-employed workers, business owners, independent contractors, and gig workers are most at risk of being denied benefits. Then, the process turns onto appeal strategies.

PUA Overpayments Will Start Again

Right now, it feels like everybody is being told that they are eligible for benefits. Once our unemployment office moves onto the second stage of claims, overpayments will again be a hot issue. After all, these types of issues came up in 2007 too.

For those that have followed me in the past, it was in 2007 that I sometimes used my 900 lb gorilla analogy. But, this doesn’t mean the end is near.

Instead, the idea of sharing this feedback is to make others aware that the rules are unclear and likely will require adjudication. When they do, applicants seeking unemployment benefits have appeal rights.