Help when COVID-19 stops you from working

Produced by Greater Boston Legal Services
Created August 2021

Unemployment during COVID-19: Until 9/4/2021

Apply for Regular Unemployment Insurance (UI) or Pandemic Unemployment Insurance (PUA)

Apply for regular UI:

  • online, or
  • call the Department of Unemployment Assistance (DUA): 877-626-6800.

If you cannot get regular UI and you lost work or a job offer due to COVID19, apply for PUA online until October 4th, 2021.

Federal COVID-related benefits end September 4, 2021

Federal COVID-related benefit payments end on September 4, 2021.

  • Federal COVID-related benefits include Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC), Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) and Mixed Earner Unemployment Compensation (MEUC).
  • But, you can file an application until October 4, 2021 for PUA benefits you are owed before September 4, 2021.

Training Opportunities Program (TOP or Section 30)

If you get regular UI or PEUC, and you want vocational training, you can apply for up to 26 weeks of extended UI benefits through the Training Opportunities Program (TOP).

  1. After you find a training program:
    • apply online: UI Online, or
    • call 617-626-5521 to get a paper application.
  2. After you get your first unemployment benefit payment, you have a 20-week deadline to apply for TOP extended benefits. This deadline is paused while you get federal PEUC benefits or have another good reason for not applying before the 20-week deadline.

Appeals and Requesting Reconsideration of PUA Denial

If DUA denies you PUA, you have 30 days to appeal the denial.
If you miss the 30-day appeal deadline, you can ask DUA to reconsider the denial:

Notice to Show Cause

If DUA denies your UI or PUA claim, they may send you a Notice to Show Cause.
If you filed an appeal, DUA may ask you to send them certain documents to try and resolve your denial. If you provide additional documentation, you may be able to get the issue resolved without having a hearing.

  • For example, if DUA denied your claim because of an identity verification issue, DUA might ask you to provide photos of the front and back of your photo state ID or social security card to prove that you are who you say you are.

If DUA denied your claim because you did not prove that you lost work or a job offer due to COVID, they may say that you did not provide employment substantiation. They may ask you to provide documents like tax returns, W-2s, or 1099s. These documents need to show you worked, or planned to work, at some point between the tax year before you filed for PUA and the start date of your PUA application. For example, if your PUA application started 3/15/2020, you must provide documents that show you worked, or planned to work between 1/1/2019 and 3/15/2020. The documents can be about any job during this time and do not have to be about your job affected by COVID-19.
Follow the instructions on your Notice to Show Cause to give DUA the documents and to contact DUA to make sure they do not dismiss your appeal.

Overpayment of Benefits & Waivers of Overpayment

You will get an overpayment notice if DUA decides that you not are eligible for the benefits you got. When this decision is final, after all appeals, you must repay the money unless you get a waiver of overpayment.
Ask for a waiver of overpayment through UI Online or PUA online or call: 877-626-6800.
Apply for a waiver of overpayment as soon as possible.
DUA will start collecting the money from unemployment benefits you are getting now, or from tax refunds, unless you ask for a waiver within certain time periods:

  • For PUA Overpayments: if you do not appeal the denial, apply for a waiver within 45 days of the notice of overpayment of PUA benefits. If you appealed the denial, apply for a waiver within 15 days from the final decision of your appeal; or
  • For other UI Overpayments:if you do not appeal the denial, apply for a waiver within 15 days of the appeal deadline on the Notice of Disqualification which caused your overpayment. If you appealed the denial, apply for a waiver within 15 days from the final decision of your appeal.

Other Resources

Find general unemployment information online.
Call DUA for help: 877-626-6800. You can get help in different languages also. Use the same phone number.
Make an in-person appointment at DUA’s Boston Re-Employment Center. Call 971-383-0783. For more information, Learn about how the Boston Re-Employment Center can help you.
PUA Guidebook
Documents to prove your PUA eligibility
Find information about federal stimulus payments and the federal Child Tax Credit, see FindYourFunds.org.
Use the Massachusetts Legal Resource Finder to find legal help.

Produced by Greater Boston Legal Services
Reviewed January 19, 2020

Regular Unemployment Insurance

Pandemic Unemployment Insurance

Dependency Allowance (DA)

If you have dependent children, you can get the DA added to your weekly benefit amount.

Your benefits

  • $25 extra each week for each dependent child.
  • The maximum DA is half your weekly benefit amount.

Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC)

If you got any unemployment benefit during certain weeks, you qualify for an extra weekly amount.

Your benefits

  • $300/week added to your weekly benefit amount if you get any unemployment benefit from 12/27/2020 to 3/13/2021.
  • $600/week added to your weekly benefit amount if you got any unemployment benefit from 3/29/2020 to 7/25/2020.

Lost Wages Assistance (LWA)

If you got any unemployment benefits from 7/26/2020 to 9/5/2020, you qualify for an extra $300/week from 7/26/2020 to 9/5/2020.

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