Arizona Department Of Economic Security To Launch Pandemic Unemployment Assistance System

The Arizona Department of Economic Security is set to launch a new system to help those whose employment has been impacted by COVID-19.

The new Pandemic Unemployment Assistance system was announced Friday and is set to launch on May 12, according to a statement from DES.

The Department acquired the services of Geographic Solutions Inc. to implement a pandemic system, which aims to get help faster to people in need of benefits.

Applications will be processed beginning the week of May 12 and payments will begin for those who are eligible that same week.

“We recognize the critical importance of these benefits for Arizonans who are out of work due to COVID-19,” said Tom Betlach, from the Office of the Director. “This solution will help get benefits to people faster, with payments being made retroactively for those eligible. We will continue to put forward all available resources, including working nights and weekends, to stand up this brand-new program to get individuals the help they need.”

In March, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act of 2020 was signed into law, which enacts a number of changes to unemployment compensation.

These changes include the creation of Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), which provides benefits for certain individuals who are not otherwise eligible for unemployment insurance.

This includes individuals who:

  • have exhausted all rights to such benefits,
  • are self-employed,
  • are seeking part-time employment,
  • lack sufficient work history, or
  • otherwise do not qualify for regular unemployment compensation or extended benefits under state or Federal law or Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation.

PUA provides up to 39 weeks of benefits to qualifying individuals. Payments will be retroactive to the date of eligibility back to the week of February 2, 2020.

Individuals who are eligible under PUA will receive a weekly benefit amount, ranging from $117 to $240 per week and will also be eligible for the additional $600 per week included in the CARES Act.

Individuals will be eligible to receive these retroactive payments based on their eligibility status in those prior weeks.

Last week, unemployed Arizonans received a record-high $150.9 million in Unemployment compensation, according to DES.

Click here for more information on the new system.


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