Can You Qualify For PEUC?

Can you still receive the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC), a 13-week unemployment benefits extension, even if your regular benefits ran out? 

The simple answer: Yes. 

If you qualified for Unemployment Insurance Compensation (UIC) and depleted your state UI benefits, you can apply for the 13-week PEUC extension. Additionally, if you did not receive payments in the spring and summer when the $600 supplemental unemployment benefits were in effect, you can retroactively receive these payments. Plus, you can also qualify for the $300 weekly benefits allocated by the Lost Wages Assistance (LWA) program. 

You will need to contact your state unemployment agency to receive these payments.

Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation

Congress created the PEUC program when it passed the CARES Act in March. This benefit allows states to distribute up to 13 additional weeks of UI to people who used their regular state unemployment compensation (UC). To qualify, you must prove that you can work, looking for work, though some states have amended this rule during the pandemic. 

According to the Department of Labor (DOL), exhausted benefits means you can no longer receive UC benefits from the federal or state government because you received all the regular UC available to you.

Retroactive PEUC payments are backdated for the week of April 4th or 5th, depending on your state. This benefit will expire on December 31, 2020, which means you will no longer be able to receive PEUC payments afterward.

Additionally, you can also apply for retroactive Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) and PEUC benefits for qualifying weeks. 

Do You Need To Reapply For These Benefits?

Whether you need to reapply for extended unemployment depends on your state. However, if you have exhausted your benefits, you can qualify for the supplemental payments distributed by the CARES Act. 

State unemployment offices are in charge of issuing these payments, but agencies are struggling under the huge volume of applicants. Several states have automatically implemented extended UI for recipients who have exhausted their benefits. 

If your state unemployment office has not contacted you and your benefits have or are nearing expiration, you should reapply online to avoid long wait times on the phone.

If you have not received unemployment benefits or had a previous claim that ended earlier this year, you will need to reapply. 

Pandemic Unemployment Assistance And Extended State Benefits

In addition to the PEUC, Congress also relaxed UI restrictions to allow independent contractors, gig workers, and other self-employed individuals to qualify for UI under the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program.

The PUA offers workers in this category 39 to 46 weeks of unemployment benefits. If you are self-employed and received PUA, you will not qualify for PEUC or Extended State Unemployment (EB). PUA claims are retroactively issued from the first week that you experienced a disruption to your income while the PUA was in effect.

On the other hand, EB gives individuals 13 more weeks of benefits during periods of high unemployment. Depending on your state, you may be eligible for seven extra weeks (20 weeks altogether) when the state unemployment rate is unusually high. You can only apply for EB after you exhausted regular state UI and PEUC benefits.

Delays In PEUC Benefit Distribution

Although states could offer unemployment recipients the additional $600 weekly benefit through the summer, some have struggled to update their systems to account for the 13-week PEUC extension. This poses a significant issue for people who have collected all of their state UI payments because the outdated systems prevent these individuals from renewing their benefits.

Additionally, numerous Americans who exhausted their benefits had received a rejection notice when they filed for more UIC. In these cases, state unemployment offices have requested patients from applicants and encouraged them to reapply when they update their programs.

If you are concerned you may miss your opportunity to renew your claims, don’t worry. States are compelled by law to notify qualifying individuals when the program is updated. However, due to many applicants, it could be some time before you hear from anyone.


  • Andy. “Can I Get The 13 Week Unemployment Benefits Extension (PEUC) and Extra Coronavirus-COVID Stimulus Payments If I Have Exhausted My Current Zero Balance Claim.” $Aving to Invest, 3 Nov. 2020,