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    United Methodists of Upper New YorkLiving the Gospel. Being God's Love.


    CARES Act: Unemployment Insurance FAQs

    Do workers who do not ordinarily qualify for unemployment insurance (UI) benefits, such as church employees, qualify during the ongoing COVID-19 emergency?

    Yes; the CARES Act creates a new Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program that will run through the remainder of calendar year 2020, which will include workers typically not eligible for UI benefits, such as most church employees. Employees will be eligible for up to 39 weeks of benefits, which will be calculated based on the state’s benefit formula, with a $600 add-on payment every week for the first four months of the program, ending on July 31st.

    For how large a benefit will these workers qualify?

    States generally calculate benefits as a percentage of average weekly earnings during a designated based period. You can estimate your weekly benefit rate by using the online calculator located at NOTE: The calculator gives an estimate only. It does not guarantee that you will be eligible for benefits or a specific amount of benefits. You must file an Unemployment Insurance claim to find out of you are eligible and learn your actual benefit amount.

    Both traditional and non-traditional covered workers will be eligible for the $600 weekly add-on payments for up to four months.

    For example, in New York, covered employees can receive anywhere from the minimum of $104 ($704)/weekly to the maximum $504 ($1104)/weekly depending on the Department of Labor’s formula.

    When will the changes to UI take effect?

    April 1, 2020 through July 31, 2020.

    Will workers already laid off prior to enactment or implementation qualify for the expanded UI program under the CARES Act?

    Yes; page 90 of the CARES Act directs the Secretary of Labor to “establish a process” for providing unemployment assistance to eligible individuals for weeks beginning on or after January 27, 2020, the date that the Secretary of Health and Human Services declared a public health emergency with regards to COVID-19. While DOL has not yet clarified how this process will function, it should provide for retroactive coverage for individuals who lost their jobs prior to CARES Act enactment, including for workers not traditionally eligible for UI benefits.

    Please click here for additional questions about unemployment benefits.

    With more than 100,000 members, United Methodists of Upper New York comprises of more than 675 local churches and New Faith Communities in 12 districts, covering 48,000 square miles in 49 of the 62 counties in New York state. Our vision is to “live the Gospel of Jesus Christ and to be God’s love with our neighbors in all places."