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  • Writer's pictureJoshua C. Black

Federal Bill Increases Arizona Unemployment Benefits for 11 Weeks

By: Joshua C. Black, Esq.

With nearly 200,000 Arizonans receiving unemployment benefits during the COVID-19 pandemic, staying abreast of the everchanging landscape is essential.

New Continuing Assistance Act

Last week, the state announced it would begin distributing an additional $300 per week in benefits to unemployed residents, thanks to the recently passed federal COVID-19 relief legislation bill called the Continuing Assistance Act (CAA).

The latest COVID relief package, signed into law by the president on Dec. 27, 2020, offers 11 extra weeks of jobless benefits to unemployed workers. Plus, many may be eligible for four supplementary weeks, as long as they have not reached the maximum number of weeks for benefit eligibility. This would continue payments through April 5, 2021.

The CAA officially extends additional federal unemployment programs authorized by the CARES Act, too, including Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC), and Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC).

Arizona’s Plan

Arizona was among the first five states in the nation to begin paying the additional CAA benefits. Many Arizonans struggling to find work because of the pandemic will receive upwards of $540 in unemployment benefits per week between now and March 13, 2021.

Individuals who are unemployed or partially unemployed due to COVID-19 and are currently receiving unemployment benefits, should see an increase in their payments automatically. The payment is comprised of the maximum weekly benefit amount ($240) plus the additional $300 a week in FPUC.

The additional benefits recently approved by Congress will help roughly 192,000 Arizonans who continue to receive some form of unemployment as the COVID-19 pandemic pummels the job market – not only locally but across the nation. While the number of people receiving unemployment benefits in Arizona has fallen significantly since October, the total remains extremely high compared to pre-pandemic times, when roughly 12,000 Arizona residents received benefits each week.

Automatic Payments

Arizona workers will not need to apply for or take additional action to get the $300 a week enhancement. The payment will automatically be included in their typical unemployment disbursements, providing the individuals are eligible for at least $1 of standard benefits per week. Workers should continue filing weekly unemployment certifications as usual to remain in good standing with the state.

If you have questions about how to file for unemployment benefits or would like to speak with an Arizona employment attorney regarding your potential eligibility, reach out to the Law Office of Joshua Black, PLC, at (623) 738-2225.

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