HARRISBURG, Pa. (WTAJ) — Governor Tom Wolf announced on Friday the Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry is implementing new federal unemployment compensation benefits provided by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

The new benefits include a relief package that will temporarily provide an additional $600 per week, makes self-employed, independent contractors and gig workers eligible for benefits and extends unemployment compensation (UC) benefits for an additional 13 weeks, per a release from the Governor’s office.

Governor Wolf says these new federal benefits come in addition to Pennsylvania’s regular unemployment benefit, which is about half of a person’s full-time weekly income up to $572 per week for 26 weeks.

The new unemployment benefits are being expanded to provide an additional $600 per week beginning the week ending April 4, 2020, through the week ending July 25, 2020. 

The release says all eligible residents that filed biweekly claims for the week ending April 4 and who received their regular UC payment should expect to see the additional money either Tuesday or Wednesday of next week.

Those who have not received a UC payment will receive the extra $600 the week after receiving their first UC payment.

The $600 is paid separately from the biweekly UC benefit, and residents do not need to apply. 

For those who are self-employed, independent contractors, or gig workers, the Governor’s office gives a breakdown of how you will receive unemployment benefits:

  • Eligible individuals should be able to start applying for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) benefits within the next two weeks. (Pennsylvania must build a new online platform to process PUA benefits.)
  • Eligible claimants will receive backdated payments to January 27, 2020, or the first week they were unable to work due to COVID-19, whichever of the two dates is later.
  • The PUA benefit will end December 31, 2020. The department will announce when the PUA benefit application is available.

The CARES Act will also provide an additional 13 weeks of unemployment compensation, including for workers who exhaust their regular unemployment benefits.

Additional information for workers impacted by COVID-19 can be found in the links below: