CARES Act: Pandemic Unemployment Assistance


Section 2102 creates a temporary Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program to provide payment to individuals who are typically ineligible for state unemployment benefits, as well as those who are unemployable for various reasons, including because of the COVID-19 emergency.

Individuals seeking this relief must be ineligible for regular compensation or extended benefits under state law, and the provision requires self-certification that the individual is otherwise able to work, except the person cannot work or is unemployed due to COVID-19-related circumstances. This provision does not include individuals who can telework with pay; or individuals otherwise receiving paid sick leave or other paid leave benefits.

The government will provide any covered individual unemployment benefit assistance while that person is unemployed, partially unemployed, or unable to work for the weeks of such unemployment, beginning January 27, 2020 and extending through December 31, 2020, with a current maximum duration of 39 weeks. 

There is no waiting period for covered individuals.

Section 2105 – Temporary Full Federal Funding of the First Week of Compensable Regular Unemployment for States with No Waiting Week

Section 2105 provides for the federal government to enter agreements under which the federal government will pay for the first week of unemployment benefits where states elect to pay unemployed recipients as soon as they become unemployed, rather than waiting one week before the individual is otherwise eligible for the benefits.

Section 2107 – Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation

Under Section 2107, states may enter agreements with the federal government under which states will pay pandemic emergency unemployment benefits to eligible individuals who have otherwise maxed out or are ineligible for state unemployment benefits. This provision requires enrolled states to create a pandemic emergency unemployment compensation account for eligible individuals and sets a method of determining the weekly benefit amount. The federal government will pay the state 100% of the pandemic compensation paid to individuals under the agreement Subtitle C – Business Provisions

Section 2301 – Employee Retention Credit for Employers Subject to Closure Due to COVID-19

Section 2301 provides a tax credit for eligible employers, consisting of 50% of qualified wages, with a cap of $10,000 per employee, per quarter. Health care expenses constitute qualified wages.  This section provides for deferral of the 6.2 percent payroll tax paid by both employers and self-employed individuals for the Social Security Trust Fund.

The provisions provided on this webpage are not legal advice.  For specific legal advice related to the CARES Act, contact Jonathan Osborne.