By Josh Bootsma
LANSING, Ill. (August 29, 2021) – The COVID-19 pandemic sparked a number of federal unemployment programs designed to help sustain reeling residents through tough times. This coming weekend, many of those programs will expire.
On September 4, four main programs will come to an end, according to the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES):
- Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) — This program provides federal benefits to claimants not eligible for lost wages under traditional unemployment programs, such as freelance and gig workers.
- Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) — Perhaps the most well-known program, FPUC at first provided an additional $600 in unemployment benefits to claimants, but was later reduced to $300.
- Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) — This program provides additional weeks of unemployment compensation after state unemployment benefits have been exhausted.
- Mixed Earners Unemployment Compensation (MEUC) — MEUC provides an additional weekly $100 supplemental payment to eligible claimants who earn at least $5,000 in self-employment income in addition to wages earned with an employer (someone who’s both an employee and an independent contractor, for example).
On September 11, a fifth program will come to an end, according to IDES: the Federal Extended Benefits program. This program provides additional weeks of unemployment benefits after a standard program expires.
Public policy think tank The Century Foundation estimated that 7.5 million claimants will lose coverage with the sunsetting of the PUA and PEUC programs.
Regular unemployment and other services still available
The upcoming expiration of these five programs has “no impact on the state’s regular unemployment system or the claimants receiving regular unemployment benefits,” IDES said in a press release.
IDES is encouraging job-seekers to access their Illinois Job Link accounts for access to local job applications. The Illinois Department of Human Services, Illinois Housing Development Authority, Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity also have programs and services to help residents.