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Under the original CARES Act, Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) provided claimants with up to 39 weeks of benefits. Benefits under the CARES Act expired on December 26, 2020. The New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions (NMDWS) is working to implement benefit extensions under the Continued Assistance Act (CAA). Under CAA, PUA will provide up to an additional 11 weeks of benefits, to a maximum of 50 weeks.

Once a claimant has exhausted all PUA benefits, under federal law, they will not be permitted to apply for Federal-State Extended Benefits (FDEB1).

If you certified for the week ending date 1/2/2021 and received a payment of at least $1, the department will retroactively pay the $300 Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) benefit and each eligible week moving forward until the FPUC program ends on March 13.

To receive FPUC benefits, claimants must be eligible to receive benefits under regular state Unemployment Insurance, PUA, PEUC, or FDEB1. The $300 will be in addition to a claimant’s weekly benefit amount.

Every three months the federal government requires Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) claimants to complete a quarter change questionnaire to review eligibility for regular unemployment benefits. This may be completed now by selecting the "Apply for Unemployment Benefits" from the menu bar on your claimant homepage and completing the quarter end process. Depending on your responses to the quarter change employment questionnaire, you may be prompted to complete a full application to determine if you are eligible for regular unemployment benefits. Please complete all questions that are presented to you. If your claim is inactive you will have to reopen your claim.

If you have exhausted the original 39 weeks of PUA benefits on or before December 26, whether or not you have a remaining balance, the department is waiting for guidance and funding from USDOL. There is nothing more for you to do at this time. The department will provide further information on next steps as soon as it is available.

On February 7, if your benefit year has expired, you will see "Apply for Benefits" on your homepage. If found ineligible for a new standard claim, you will go back to your previous PEUC claim to certify with the 11-week extension under CAA. If found eligible for a new claim, you will stay on the new standard claim and continue with weekly certifications. If your benefit year has not expired, you will see a "Reopen" link on February 7.

Under the Continued Assistance Act guidelines provided by U.S. Department of Labor, if a claimant has started state-federal extended benefits (FDEB1) they must exhaust those benefits first before they are eligible to return to extended benefits under Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC).

The U.S. Department of Labor requires that if a claimant has started Federal-State Extended Benefits (FDEB1) they must exhaust the 13 weeks of FDEB1 before they can apply for the additional 11-week PEUC extension under the Continued Assistance Act.

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