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Update from Ben Lien MN House 4A

  • 6 May 2020
  • 1:30 PM
  • 8 May 2020
  • 11:30 PM


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Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Update

Two weeks ago Minnesota Unemployment Insurance program began making Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) payments to people who are self-employed, independent contractors, and other eligible recipients who are not eligible for regular unemployment benefits.

We’ve processed initial payments for nearly 60,000 people to date.

We have developed an updated FAQ for applicants: COVID-19 information for self-employed people and independent contractors.

Here’s what Minnesotans need to know about applying

  • If you have already applied for regular unemployment benefits, you do not need to do anything extra to qualify for PUA. DEED will automatically establish a PUA benefit account for you if you are eligible.
  • If you have not applied for unemployment benefits yet, special instructions for self-employed and 1099 workers are available here . These instructions include steps you can take to make your account easily identifiable as potentially eligible for PUA.
    • If you applied for unemployment benefits without following those instructions, don’t worry – you don’t need to change anything. Your account will still be reviewed for PUA eligibility.
  • If you have not heard from DEED yet, don’t worry. There is no need to call or follow-up; you will hear from us proactively if we need additional information to determine eligibility.
  • You will receive information about PUA benefits in your online account, by email, and by mail.
  • Applicants who receive PUA benefits will also receive the $600/week additional payment.

Answers to the most common questions

Will I be eligible for unemployment benefits?

Eligibility is complicated and varies from individual to individual. The only way to know if you are eligible is to apply.

I’m ineligible for unemployment benefits, but I have bills to pay and children to feed. I’m unemployed -- why can’t I get unemployment?

If you are not eligible for unemployment benefits or CARES Act programs, there are many other community resources that may be available to you.

I’m an independent contractor and I am not eligible for Minnesota unemployment benefits. When will I get my benefits under the CARES Act?

Most self-employed people and independent contractors are ineligible for regular unemployment benefits under Minnesota law. You may qualify for a new type of benefits called Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA). Applicants who receive PUA benefits will also receive the additional $600 weekly benefit (until that program expires).

If you have already applied for regular unemployment benefits, you do not need to reapply for CARES Act benefits. The UI Program will find your account and tell you if you are eligible in the coming weeks. Keep requesting payment until you get more information.

If you have not yet applied for benefits, there are special instructions for self-employed workers that will help them find your account more quickly. You can find those instructions on www.uimn.org.

Why is it taking so long to get a payment? I have an issue on my account.

If you have an eligibility issue on your account, know that the Unemployment Insurance program is actively working to resolve the issue. They may be reaching out to you and your former employer for more information. Make sure to answer any questions they ask you.

Unemployment Insurance has seen an unprecedented number of calls and requests, so the wait time will be a bit longer than usual.


What to know if you’re calling Unemployment Insurance

We recommend that callers do the following to get through to a customer service representative more easily:

  • Call on the correct day according to the table below. We recommend calling before 2:00 p.m., as there is a chance we will not get to your call if you are still in the queue after that point.
  • Plan on waiting to speak to a representative. We are taking an unprecedented number of calls. Once you are on hold in the queue, keep on the line. Hanging up and then calling again will put you in the back of the call queue.
  • If you call and hear a busy signal, wait a few minutes and call again. A busy signal may mean is that our call queue is full, and we are unable to add more people to the queue. Once you are in the queue, stay in the queue.
  • Try to find the answer to your question online at UIMN.org or in your online account. We have many frequently asked questions and informational pages that likely can answer your questions. If you have a question about your eligibility for benefits under the CARES Act, please see our informational page at: https://www.uimn.org/applicants/needtoknow/news-updates/cares-act.jsp.

Mondays and Fridays are open for questions on your account see UIMN.org for details

How else can you help?

Most people can get answers to their questions by visiting www.uimn.org. We also know that some people really need to talk to us to get their issues resolved. Encourage people to apply and request benefits on the web. For folks requesting benefit payment it usually takes 2-3 days for the payment to arrive in their bank account. If people are asking if they qualify for unemployment insurance you can tell them to visit the website and apply- we will figure out if they are eligible.

We have a lot of information posted to help Minnesotans apply and access benefits on their own.

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PO Box 612, Moorhead, MN 56561

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