Unemployment FAQs

Please select from an Unemployment category below to get more help or review a comprehensive list of frequently asked questions updated weekly here.

Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA)

What is Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA)?

PUA is a broad program that expands access to unemployment, in addition to what state and federal law already pay. This includes those who traditionally are not able to get unemployment such as:

  • Self-employed
  • Independent contractors
  • “Gig” workers such as Uber and Lyft drivers
  • Employees of religious organizations whose employment has been impacted by COVID-19;
  • Those who lack sufficient work history to file a claim or have been disqualified for state benefits but who are impacted directly by COVID-19.
  • Those who lack sufficient work history to file a claim or have been disqualified for state benefits but who are impacted directly by COVID-19.

The PUA program is only available to claimants who are otherwise ineligible for all other unemployment insurance programs, including state (regular UI) and federal programs, such as PEUC.

This benefit ended September 4, 2021.

I have not worked in the last two years. Can I get PUA benefits?

Likely not. Like all unemployment programs there must be a connection to the labor market either by showing work history or showing concurrent attempts to join the labor market.

Can I work part time and receive benefits?

You may receive some benefits for a week in which you work less than full time and earn less than your weekly benefit amount.

You may earn up to 25 percent of your weekly benefit amount (WBA) without a reduction to your unemployment benefits. Any earnings over 25 percent of your WBA will be deducted from your unemployment benefits on a dollar-for-dollar basis.

You must report your gross wages (wages before deductions) and not your take-home pay. This includes any wages received as a Reservist for weekend drill and annual training participation.

All wages from employment must be reported during the week when the wages are earned, not when they are received.

Will other income impact my benefits?

Vacation, holiday, bonus, and separation pay may reduce or delay your unemployment benefits when paid. If you receive these types of pay while claiming unemployment benefits, you must report this information when you file your application and weekly claim for payment.

Certain retirement pensions will reduce your weekly benefit if the employment you are receiving the pension from is also your base period employment (the first four of the last five completed calendar quarters).

Examples of pensions that may reduce your benefits include:

  • Military retirement
  • Private employer pension
  • Federal civilian pension
  • State, county or city pension
Note: Social Security benefits will not reduce your weekly benefit amount.

I have not been working, but I had an offer to start a job that was rescinded or delayed due to COVID-19, can I get PUA?

Potentially. Definite plans to join the labor force are enough of a connection. You must still be directly impacted by COVID-19.

What does it mean for my unemployment to be directly impacted by COVID-19?

This means that your unemployment must be caused directly be COVID-19 in one of the following ways:

  • You have been diagnosed with COVID-19 or are seeking diagnosis because you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19.
  • You live in a house where someone in that same household has been diagnosed with COVID-19.
  • You are providing care for a family member or household member who has been diagnosed with COVID-19.
  • You are the primary caregiver for someone who cannot attend school or some other facility because it has been closed because of COVID-19, AND the availability of that school or facility is needed in order for you to work.
  • You cannot report to work due to an imposed quarantine resulting directly from COVID-19 (cannot be self-imposed).
  • You have been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine due to COVID-19.
  • You were scheduled to begin employment but are unable to do so as a direct result of COVID-19. (the business closed, you were mandated quarantine, or have been diagnosed).
  • You have become the head of the household because of the death of the usual head of household that was caused by COVID-19.
  • You have been forced to quit your job as a direct result of COVID-19.
  • Your work has closed because of COVID-19.
  • You are an independent contractor who does not have a traditional place of business, but you cannot provide or sell your services due to the direct impact of COVID-19.

Under the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARP), additional eligibility provisions have been outlined to address circumstances when an individual is directly affected by COVID-19. You may be eligible for PUA if:

  • You were denied continued unemployment benefits because you refused to return to work or to accept an offer of work at a worksite that, in either instance, is not in compliance with local, state, or national health and safety standards directly related to COVID-19, i.e. facial mask wearing, physical distancing measures, or the provision of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
  • You provided services to educational institutions or educational service agencies and are unemployed or partially unemployed because of volatility in the work schedule due to COVID-19, i.e. changes in schedules and partial closures.
  • Your hours were reduced or you were laid off as a direct result of COVID-19.

I was offered the opportunity to Telework or work from home with pay for my normal hours from my last employer. Am I eligible for PUA?

No. If you are able to Telework or work from home with pay for your normal hours from your last employer, you cannot be paid PUA.

I am not working due to COVID-19, but I am being paid leave from my employer. Am I eligible for PUA?

Likely not. If you are being paid by the employer as if you were working your usual work hours and rate of pay, then you are not eligible for PUA. If you are being paid leave but not being paid your usual wages, then you may be eligible for some PUA—it would depend on the amount you are being paid just like if you are earning money while on unemployment benefits.

I formerly worked on a small farm or for a church or religious organization. Am I eligible for PUA?

Yes, provided your unemployment was caused directly by COVID-19, you may be eligible for PUA.

How much will I receive if I am eligible for PUA?

Like state unemployment, this depends on your work history during the base period. The base period for PUA is the most recent tax year (i.e. 2019). We will use the same calculation as we use for state unemployment to determine your benefit amount. If you lack sufficient work or earnings but otherwise meet all requirements, then you will be eligible for the minimum. For claims filed before July 1, 2020, the minimum you can receive is $192 and the maximum you could receive is $488. For claims filed on or after July 1, 2020, the minimum you can received is $192 and the maximum you could receive is $503.

Does FPUC also apply to PUA payments?

Yes. You are eligible for the additional $300 payments (under the Continued Assistance Act) for weeks between January 2, 2021 and September 4, 2021. There is no need to apply for FPUC. If you are eligible for PUA, the additional $300 weekly benefit payment will be automatically added to your benefit amount.

What if I have been ordered to pay child support?

If you are responsible for court-ordered child support payments and are in arrears, the Kansas Department for Children and Families will initiate an order to take part of your unemployment insurance benefits.

Initially, the order will take 50 percent of your benefits each week.

For more information please call the Child Support Call Center at (888) 757-2445.

The Kansas Department of Labor cannot assist in answering any questions about child support cases.

The $600 FPUC payments will also be deducted for Child Support.

How long is PUA available?

Under the CARES Act, PUA was available for eligible claimants from February 2, 2020, until December 26, 2020. It was only available for 39 weeks within that time period. Under the Continued Assistance Act, PUA is available from January 2, 2021 until March 13, 2021.

Under the Continued Assistance Act, PUA is available from January 2, 2021 until March 13, 2021.

Under the new American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARP), PUA expired September 4, 2021.

I was previously filing for PEUC but have since applied for the PUA program. Do I continue filing for PUA?

No. Under the new ARP Act, additional weeks for PEUC are now available. If you have a previous PEUC claim, you must reopen your PEUC claim and continue filing for benefits under that program. Please call the Contact Center at (785) 575-1460 to reopen your previous PEUC claim.

If you do not have a previous PEUC claim, continue filing for benefits under the PUA program.

Will there be more weeks made available?

If Congress adds more extensions for unemployment, then the 39 weeks is increased by the same amount of weeks. However, no extension is available at this time.

Do I need any documentation for my application?

Yes. You will need to provide proof of your quarterly earnings during 2019. Before filing, you may want to have documentation available to prove your prior income (you do have 21 days from applying to submit the documentation).

Acceptable documentation of wages can include but is not limited to:

  • 2019 Tax Returns;
  • 2019 1099 Form(s);
  • paycheck stubs;
  • bank receipts;
  • ledgers;
  • contracts;
  • invoices;
  • and/or billing statements.

Is there a waiting week for PUA?

No, there is no waiting week for PUA.

How do I file a weekly claim for PUA benefits?

File your weekly claims online by logging into your account at PUA.GetKansasBenefits.gov. You can file a weekly claim for each week you have not worked back to January 27, 2020. The first week for which you can file is February 2, 2020. The date limitations are tied to the statutory language within the CARES Act.

How can self-employed claimants satisfy PUA work search requirements?

Self-employed individuals who intend to reopen their business do not need to complete work search activities, but they must take steps to reopen. Self-employed individuals who do not intend to reopen their business will need to complete the Work Search Activity Log form (K-BEN 987) below.

 

Take Steps to Reopen Your Business

In order to remain eligible for unemployment benefits if you are self-employed, you are required to take steps to reopen your business. You must tell us how many hours per week you spend rebuilding you business.

Here are some examples of things you can do to reopen:

  • Let your customers or clients know you're reopening by posting on your social media platforms
  • Contact past customers or clients
  • Advertise
  • Pass out business cards and flyers
  • Reach out to potential clients
  • Make sure any required licenses or permits are current and renew them if they aren't.
  • Obtain required permits or licenses if you don't already have them
  • Review current contracts and research new ones
  • Prepare a bid on contract
  • Submit a bid on contract
  • Research and prepare for a specific contract
  • Check your inventory
  • Enroll in training to expand your skills

Remember to follow federal and state health guidelines when you reopen your business to ensure the safety of you, your employees, and your clients or customers.

I’m currently filing for PUA benefits. Do I need to reapply each quarter because of the new federal provision?

Yes. New federal guidance now requires that PUA claimants’ wages be assessed each quarter to determine if they are monetarily eligible for PUA benefits or benefits from another UI program. A claimant filing for PUA benefits must now reapply for regular UI benefits each quarter (January – March, April – June, July – September, October – December) in order to determine if any new wages earned now qualify them for a different program, such as regular UI or PEUC. After reapplying for regular UI benefits, the claimant will receive their determination. If they are determined ineligible for regular UI benefits, they can then return to filing weekly claims for PUA benefits.