Business Owners, Self-Employed Can Now Apply for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA)

The new PUA program launched on Tuesday, April 28. It was established by the CARES Act to provide benefits to eligible business owners, self-employed, and independent contractors, plus those with limited work history and others not eligible for regular unemployment insurance (UI) benefits who have lost business or work as a direct result of the pandemic.

  • All workers impacted by the pandemic will use the same UI Online system for applying for benefits with new questions added for possible PUA benefits. Based on responses as well as wage records, EDD will determine if a claim is processed as a regular UI claim or a PUA claim.
  • EDD will start paying minimum weekly benefit amounts to eligible PUA claimants and will phase in increased amounts based on proof of income provided.
  • PUA benefits are based on income as reported by the individual for calendar year 2019 (such as 1099 information), as well as wages reported by employers if applicable. This is different than how the regular UI system works, where benefits are based entirely on wages reported by employers (W-2 information).

For more information, read EDD's April 30 press release, and find PUA FAQs here.