Hawai‘i Labor Dept. Announces End of All Federal Pandemic UI & Assistance Programs
With federal unemployment benefits ending on Sept. 4, 20201, the state Department of Labor and Industrial Relations is working to ensure that unemployed individuals who will be losing the extra aid are aware of the upcoming changes and potential next steps.
This affects individuals receiving Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation, Pandemic Unemployment Assistance or “PUA,” Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation, and Mixed Earners Unemployment Compensation. Once these programs end, only the regular Unemployment Insurance program will be available.
“We have been fielding a lot of questions from claimants asking whether they will qualify for a new unemployment insurance claim,” said DLIR Director Anne Perreira-Eustaquio. “In short, new unemployment insurance claims will be reinstated for all individuals who established a new initial claim but chose to remain on the PEUC program under the PEUC $25 Option. All other individuals will need to qualify for a new initial claim after Sept. 4 based on existing criteria. That said, anyone waiting on claims filed through Sept. 4 will be made whole and receive those benefits as long as they are otherwise qualified.”
The DLIR recently sent an email to approximately 6,500 claimants who qualified for the PEUC $25 Option program advising them to file their claim certification for the week ending Sept. 4, 2021 between Sept. 5 and 11, 2021, regardless of claim filing status (weekly/biweekly). To ensure a seamless transition from the PEUC program to a new regular unemployment insurance claim, individuals should file their claim certifications as early as possible, as failure to submit a PEUC claim by the requested date may result in a delay of benefits.
Eligibility criteria for new, regular claims is posted online. Individuals filing claim certifications under a regular claim starting Sept. 11 will be subject to a one-week waiting period and be required to register for work with HireNet Hawaiʻi. Claimants may file a claim certification for the first payable week of their claim, but will not be paid benefits for that first week.
Individuals who neither qualified for the PEUC $25 Option nor meet the criteria for a new initial claim after Sept. 4, 2021 should not file a new initial claim and instead seek assistance at their county’s American Job Center. The AJC Hawaiʻi is a free, one-stop center that provides career counseling, HireNet Hawaiʻi support, skills training, job search assistance, and a resource training center. Individuals can contact their local AJC office to schedule an appointment.
Resources are also available with the State Department of Human Services.
NOTE: None of the benefits described above, nor unemployment benefits of any kind, are available to employees who are terminated for cause, quit their job without good cause, or refuse to return to work. Attempts to collect benefit payments in these situations could be viewed as fraudulent. Investigation of job separation is part of the eligibility determination process.
For more information about unemployment insurance and other labor issues please visit the FAQs at https://labor.hawaii.gov/covid-19-labor-faqs/.