March 26, 2020
Unemployment Insurance Provisions in the CARES Act (H.R.
748, as Amended)

This In Focus summarizes the Unemployment Insurance
and are able, available, and actively seeking work, subject
(UI) provisions in Title II, Subtitle A, of the CARES Act,
to COVID-19-related flexibilities.
H.R. 748, as amended, and as passed by the Senate on
March 25, 2020. It also provides a brief comparison with
PEUC would be authorized through the end of December
the UI provisions enacted in H.R. 6201/P.L. 116-127, the
2020. The PEUC benefit amount would be the WBA as
Families First Coronavirus Response Act.
calculated under state law. All PEUC benefits would be
increased $600 a week by Federal Pandemic
Expanded Benefit Eligibility
Unemployment Compensation (FPUC, described below)
Section 2102 of the CARES Act would create a temporary,
through July 2020. (During the period that PEUC is
federal UI program for individuals not otherwise eligible
authorized, states would be prohibited from reducing UC
for UI benefits (e.g., self-employed, independent
benefit amount or duration.)
contractors, gig economy workers): Pandemic
Unemployment Assistance (PUA).
Additional $600 Weekly Federal Compensation
Section 2104 would provide an additional, federally
PUA would provide up to 39 weeks of federally financed
financed $600 benefit that would augment all weekly UI
UI benefits to unemployed workers who (1) are ineligible
benefits including PUA, UC, EB, and PEUC. This FPUC
for any other state or federal UI benefit; (2) meet conditions
would be payable for weeks of unemployment ending on or
related to being unemployed, partially unemployed, or
before July 31, 2020. (During the period that this payment
unable to work due to COVID-19; and (3) are not able to
is authorized, states would be prohibited from reducing UC
telework and not receiving any paid leave. The PUA
benefit amount or duration.)
maximum duration of 39 weeks would be offset by any
weeks of other UI benefits payable to an individual;
Other UI Provisions
including regular, state Unemployment Compensation
 Section 2103 would, through December 2020, provide
(UC), Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation
50% federal funding of regular UC benefits based on
(PEUC, described below), or Extended Benefits (EB).
service with reimbursing employers, which are state and
local governments, Indian tribes, and nonprofit
PUA would be available in all states and U.S. territories,
organizations that have opted not to pay UI taxes, but
subject to agreements with U.S. Department of Labor
instead reimburse states for UC benefits paid to their
(DOL). PUA would pay benefits for weeks of
former employees. This provision would provide
unemployment, partial unemployment, or inability to work
financial relief to these reimbursing employers. It would
beginning on or after January 27, 2020, and ending on or
also allow for state flexibility in the timing of required
before December 31, 2020 (hereafter, end of December
reimbursement payments for these employers.
2020). PUA benefits could be paid retroactively.
 Section 2105 would provide 100% federal financing
The PUA benefit amount would be the weekly benefit
through the end of December for UC benefits provided
amount (WBA) as calculated under state law based on
during the first week of unemployment in state UC
recent earnings (subject to the minimum benefit under
programs with no one-week waiting period (thus,
Disaster Unemployment Assistance [DUA], which is half of
the state’s average weekly
incentivizing states that require one-week waiting
UC benefit amount). In
periods before receiving UC under state law to remove
territories without UC programs, the PUA benefit would be
determined by DUA regulations. For background on DUA,
see CRS Report RS22022, Disaster Unemployment
 Section 2106 would waive federal requirements
Assistance (DUA).
regarding merit staffing for state UC programs on an
emergency, temporary basis in response to COVID-19
All PUA benefits, like other UI benefits, would be
until December 31, 2020. This waiver would be limited
augmented by $600 a week (see below for description of
to certain temporary actions taken by states to quickly
the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation)
process UI claims, including rehiring former employees
through July 2020.
and temporary hiring.
Additional Weeks of Benefits
 Sections 2108-2111 would authorize 100% federal
Section 2107 would create PEUC, which would authorize
financing of Short-Time Compensation (STC; work
up to 13 additional weeks of federally financed UI benefits
sharing) in states with existing programs and 50%
for individuals who exhaust state and federal UI benefits

Unemployment Insurance Provisions in the CARES Act (H.R. 748, as Amended)
federal financing for states that set up STC programs (up
staffing, in some circumstances, to the list of waived
to the equivalent of 26 weeks of benefits for individuals)
federal UI requirements);
through the end of December 2020. It would also
authorize $100 million in federal grants to support STC.
 waivers of interest payments and suspension of interest
DOL would be required to provide STC technical
accrual on federal advances (loans) to states to pay UC
assistance. For background on STC programs, see CRS
benefits through December 2020;
Report R40689, Compensated Work Sharing
Arrangements (Short-Time Compensation) as an

 DOL assistance to states in establishing, implementing,
Alternative to Layoffs.
and improving STC programs (Sections 2108-2111 of
the CARES Act would provide temporarily federal
 Sections 2112-2114 would provide $50 million to waive
financing (100% or 50%, depending on state action) of
the seven-day waiting period for Railroad
STC benefits as well as $100 million in grants to
Unemployment Insurance (RRUI) benefits. It would
support STC programs);
also authorize a comparable FPUC ($1,200 for RRUI
biweekly benefits; so $600 per week) for RRUI through
 temporary, 100% federal financing for EB (under
July 2020. It would provide an additional 13 weeks of
permanent law: 50% state, 50% federal) from enactment
federally financed RRUI benefits through the end of
until the end of December 2020, but only for states that
December 2020, comparable to PEUC. For background
receive both halves of the emergency administrative
on RRUI, see CRS Report RS22350, Railroad
grants. This law also temporarily removes the current
Retirement Board: Retirement, Survivor, Disability,
incentive in EB law for states to have a waiting week for
Unemployment, and Sickness Benefits.
their regular UC programs through December 2020. (As
of this date, EB is not available in any state.)
 Section 2115 would provide $25 million in funding for
the DOL Office of Inspector General for audits,
Additional Resources
investigations, and oversight related to the UI provisions
For a summary of the UI provisions in H.R. 6201/P.L. 116-
in H.R. 748.
127, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (enacted
March 18, 2020), see CRS Insight IN11249, H.R. 6201:
 Section 2116 would authorize DOL to issue operating
Paid Leave and Unemployment Insurance Responses to
instructions and other guidance needed to implement the
UI provisions in H.R. 748.
For DOL guidance to states on implementing the UI
Interactions with UI Provisions in H.R. 6201/P.L.
provisions in H.R. 6201/P.L. 116-127, see DOL
Unemployment Insurance Program Letter, No. 13-20,
In general, the UI provisions in H.R. 748, the CARES Act,
Families First Coronavirus Response Act, Division D
are non-overlapping with the UI provisions in H.R.
Emergency Unemployment Insurance Stabilization and
6201/P.L. 116-127, the Families First Coronavirus
Access Act of 2020 (March 22, 2020), available at
Response Act.
As described above, the UI provisions in the CARES Act
focus on temporary federal interventions to expand UI
For additional introduced legislation related to UI and
benefit eligibility; provide additional federally financed
COVID-19, see CRS Report R45478, Unemployment
weeks of UI benefits; and augment all weekly UI benefit
Insurance: Legislative Issues in the 116th Congress.
payments with additional federally financed benefits
amounts, among other provisions.
For background on permanent-law UI programs and
benefits, see CRS Report RL33362, Unemployment
The UI provisions in the Families First Coronavirus
Insurance: Programs and Benefits.
Response Act provide various types of assistance to states,
For minimum DUA amounts, see DOL Unemployment
Insurance Program Letter, No. 11-20, Attachment 1,
 $1 billion in emergency administrative grant funding to
Minimum Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA),
states in calendar year 2020 for administrative purposes.
(March 19, 2020), available at
(Half of this amount would be available to all states that
meet certain requirements related to UC eligibility
notifications and claims access. The second half of this

amount would be available to states that experience at
least a 10% increase in UC claims over the previous
Katelin P. Isaacs, Specialist in Income Security
calendar year and meet certain other requirements
Julie M. Whittaker, Specialist in Income Security
related to easing UC eligibility requirements for
individuals affected by COVID-19.);
 waivers of certain federal UI requirements for state UC
programs (Section 2106 of the CARES Act adds merit

Unemployment Insurance Provisions in the CARES Act (H.R. 748, as Amended)

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