Labor Dept provides first round of PUA payments to 8,500 Vermonters
The Vermont Department of Labor announced April 29 that it has provided more than $24 million in direct deposit payments to Vermonters through the newly created Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program. The program provides benefits to those previously not eligible for unemployment insurance benefits, including the self-employed and independent contractors.
At last Wednesday press briefing, Governor Phil Scott said 8,500 claims were filled and back-dated as needed to the beginning of the month. “This is much-needed money getting into the hands of Vermonters,” Scott said.
This is a new federal system set up for the self-employed, contract workers and sole proprietors who otherwise would not be part of the regular Unemployment Insurance system. It was established by Congress as part of the CARES Act to get money to the many self-employed who were also left without work in whole or in part because of COVID-19.
Interim Commissioner Michael Harrington said the biggest issues in the program are that many people may have been entered into the regular UI system or may have some regular earnings. Those filers get at least some state unemployment insurance plus the added payment from the federal government up to $600. The final amount is determined by how much income the filer is still getting.
The Department began accepting applications for the PUA program on Wednesday, April 22.