Unemployment benefit changes in the Continued Assistance for Unemployed Workers Act (December 2020)

In late December 2020, as the provisions of the CARES Act were expiring, the federal government included some key UI provisions in a larger government funding bill.

It extended all three of the UI programs created by the CARES Act until at least March 14, 2021 and added 11 more weeks of eligibility for PUA (the program that extended eligibility to workers who previously weren’t eligible for UI) and PEUC (the program that made benefits available for a longer period of time).

Congress brought back PUC (the program that added more money to the base level of benefits) through March, but at $300 per week instead of the previous $600. It also created a program (called Mixed Earner Unemployment Compensation, or MEUC) that would give “mixed earners” an additional $100 to make up for state unemployment benefits that were lower than they should have been because their earnings were split between self-employment and W-2 income.