CRANSTON, R.I. – Several federal unemployment insurance programs are slated to expire in one month, on September 4, 2021, affecting tens of thousands of Rhode Islanders, the Department of Labor and Training (DLT) today announced.
The following federal programs, which were created in response to the economic shutdown caused by the coronavirus pandemic, will be ending per federal law:
• Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA): PUA expanded benefits to those who are not normally eligible for unemployment insurance (UI), such as independent contractors, small business owners, and people out of work due to COVID-19 related illness or quarantine.
• Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC): PEUC extended benefits to claimants who have exhausted their maximum of 26 weeks of regular UI benefits.
• $300 Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC): FPUC provides an additional $300 per week on top of a claimant's weekly unemployment benefit amount.
In Rhode Island, more than 75% of unemployment claimants – over 40,000 people – are currently on either PUA or PEUC and will be losing their benefits after September 4. The remaining 25% of claimants who will still be eligible under regular UI will lose the additional $300 per week boost that is currently added to all payments.
Rhode Island offers several free resources to help residents get back to work before their benefits end. Jobseekers can visit EmployRI.org to explore thousands of job opportunities. Rhode Islanders can also visit BacktoWorkRI.com to make a free virtual appointment with a job coach, get career recommendations, enroll in job trainings, and connect directly with employers through virtual job fairs.
Regular unemployment benefits will continue be paid to eligible claimants under state law. Additional information regarding the end of federal benefits, including answers to frequently asked questions, is available on the DLT website at dlt.ri.gov/covid19/updates.