If you had to take an unpaid leave of absence or reduced hours for a COVID-19-related reason, you may be eligible for unemployment benefits, retroactive to December 6, 2020. A temporary federal expansion of unemployment, called Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), provides eligible educators with unemployment benefits retroactive to December 6, 2020.
We encourage you to apply for unemployment benefits if you had to take an unpaid leave or reduced hours for a COVID-19-related reason anytime starting December 6, 2020, due to any of these reasons:
- Your healthcare provider advised you not to return to work to avoid greater-than-average health risks due to a serious health condition;
- You or a member of your household had COVID-19 or you had COVID-19 symptoms and were seeking a medical diagnosis; or
- You were the primary caregiver for someone in your household who was unable to attend school or another facility that closed as a direct result of a COVID-19 emergency, because of a COVID-19 quarantine, or because of COVID-19 reasons other than generalized fear.
Please note that a generalized fear of COVID is not a sufficient reason to qualify for PUA.
If you qualify for any of the reasons above, you can apply easily online, but you must apply for regular unemployment benefits first and be denied. After you are denied regular unemployment benefits, you then apply for PUA. After being denied, you should receive a notice explaining how to apply for PUA.
If you are denied PUA, contact your CEA UniServ Rep, who will refer you to CEA Member Legal Services for assistance.