Nebraska Continues Implementation of Federal Unemployment Programs
January 13, 2021
LINCOLN – The Nebraska Department of Labor (NDOL) is continuing to implement the Continued Assistance Act, the federal legislation that amends the unemployment benefit programs established under the CARES Act. NDOL anticipates that all of the amended CARES Act benefit programs will be fully implemented in approximately four-to-six weeks. The Continued Assistance Act stipulates changes to each of the CARES Act programs that require NDOL’s unemployment software vendor to perform system updates and changes.
Unemployment claimants who had not exhausted their Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) or Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) benefits on or before December 26, 2020, can continue to file for weekly benefits. Payments are being issued on weeks remaining from these claims that began in 2020. Once all remaining weeks are exhausted, payment disruptions will occur due to legislatively required programmatic changes. Retroactive payments will be made for all eligible weeks impacted by the new requirements.
Some claimants who have exhausted their original benefit claim will be temporarily unable to file weekly certifications. This will not impact benefit eligibility. Once all benefit programs changes in the Continued Assistance Act are fully implemented, claimants will be able to claim benefits for prior weeks. Retroactive payments will be issued for all eligible weeks.
In addition to the changes to the CARES Act programs, NDOL has opted into the Mixed Earners Unemployment Compensation (MEUC) program. More details regarding the application process and implementation timeline will be provided as federal guidance is received and reviewed. The MEUC program will be implemented after all of the changes to the CARES Act programs are completed.
- Regardless of current payment status or ability to file weekly certifications, claimants are required to conduct work search activities for all weeks claimed.
- On average, new claims take approximately 28 days to process. It is not necessary to contact NDOL regarding claims newer than this or if there are issues that appear on the claim.
- NDOL will contact all claimants, as needed, to resolve claim issues. It is not necessary and will not speed up the processing of a claim to contact NDOL regarding changes based on the Continued Assistance Act.
- A new requirement for PUA is to verify self-employment and identity of claimants. Even if a claim was previously approved, each claimant will be asked to provide additional information.
- NDOL’s job centers are available to assist workers with accelerating their return to work.
- 1099-G tax documents will be available in NEworks by January 31. Anyone who received a 1099-G, but did not file a claim, should contact NDOL immediately to report possible unemployment fraud.
- Claimants who have appeals pending should continue to file their weekly certifications. Retroactive payments will be issued for all eligible weeks.
Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA)
- Will provide up to an additional 11 weeks of benefits, to a maximum of 50 weeks.
- Claimants will be required to provide documentation of eligibility to qualify.
- PUA will be available until week ending March 13, 2021 (no new applications after that date), with allowance for three additional weeks of benefits for those who have not reached the maximum number of weeks through week ending April 3, 2021.
Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC)
- Will provide up to an additional 11 weeks of benefits, to a maximum of 24 weeks.
- PEUC will be available until week ending March 13, 2021 (no new applications after that date), with allowance for three additional weeks of benefits for those who have not reached the maximum number of weeks through week ending April 3, 2021.
Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC)
- Will provide up to 11 weeks of an additional $300 weekly benefit to eligible claimants.
- All claimants eligible through a separate unemployment program will receive FPUC.
- FPUC will be available to cover weeks of unemployment between Dec. 27, 2020 and week ending March 13, 2021.
Mixed Earner Unemployment Compensation (MEUC)
- Nebraska has opted into this program and will release more details as federal guidance is received.
- Individuals who receive at least $5,000 a year in self-employment income will receive an additional $100 weekly benefit, in addition to the benefit amounts they otherwise would be eligible for from traditional employment under state law.
- The new federally funded “mixed earner” benefit is in addition to the $300 supplemental weekly benefit under FPUC.
Return to Work Requirements
- States must have methods in place to address claimants who refuse to return to work or refuse to accept an offer of suitable work without good cause.
NDOL news releases are available online at dol.nebraska.gov