Pandemic Unemployment Assistance: Filing Weekly Certifications

Pandemic Unemployment Assistance: Filing Weekly Certifications

Common Questions

Go to https://pua.benefits.uc.pa.gov/ and click on “File your PUA Weekly Certification” after logging in. Click here for a detailed guide that walks you through the entire process.

PUA claimants can file any day from Sunday through Friday, for the previous week.

 

All PUA claimants must report all income when earned, not when paid.

What that means is, if you receive pay now for work you did in February, you do not need to report it. But if you work during the week, you need to report what you “earned” for that work.

We recognize this is often difficult for self-employed workers to determine when money is “earned” in their field of work. Unfortunately, the federal Department of Labor has provided no guidance on how income reporting should work. Self-employed PUA claimants should pick a certain way of establishing when income is “earned” and then be consistent in how they report income. We recommend recording the reasoning in writing and keeping it in case DLI requests proof.

Claimants earning W2 wages should report their earnings as gross income (before tax).

Self-employed claimants, however, should report net income (after business expenses are deducted). The PUA Handbook originally issued by the Department was incorrect and told self-employed claimants to report gross income.

Unfortunately, the vendor that created the PUA system failed to correctly design it for self-employed claimants. The system asks for claimants to report their earnings as if they are all W2 workers — clearly not the case with PUA.

As a self-employed individual, you will need to enter yourself as the “employer” when you report earnings.

Potential earnings are earnings you turned down that week. For example, someone offered you a shift or a gig and you did not take it. It is not the earnings you would have made if you were working like normal. The vast majority of workers will have $0 in potential earnings during Covid19.

Many claimants mistakenly reported potential earnings when the weekly certifications were first available, as no directions were provided. If that was you, you are most likely seeing an “excessive earnings” issue on your portal for that week. That issue should only affect the week they reported the potential earnings. The Department must give you the opportunity to fix the income reporting for the week so you do not lose benefits.

It depends on your weekly benefit amount (see example Monetary Determination). If you earn less than 30% of your weekly benefit amount (WBA), then you will receive your full benefit amount. If you earn more than 30% of your weekly benefit amount, there will be a dollar for dollar reduction in the benefit amount (you will receive partial benefits). If you earn more than 130% of your weekly benefit amount, you will not be eligible for any benefits (and will see the “excessive earnings” issue on the portal).

As long as you are eligible for $1 in partial benefits, you will still receive the extra Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (PUC) payments if program applies to the weeks being certified (PUC was $600 between for weeks between 4/4/2020 and 7/26/2020 and reactivated to be $300 for weeks between 12/26/2020 and 3/14/2021).

It is very important that claimants honestly report income. If the government discovers later that a claimant failed to report income, or intentionally underreported income, you will be assessed an overpayment.

See the graphic below for an example of the partial benefit analysis:

What does it mean to refuse suitable work?

We have a resource about refusing suitable work and what that means.

Still have questions?

Check out our Frequently Asked Questions page for more answers to common PUA questions.