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By Kristen Bahler
Updated: June 17, 2020 5:22 PM ET | Originally published: May 12, 2020
Getty Images

The $2 trillion CARES Act didn’t hang freelancers, gig workers, and self-employed business owners out to dry. But it didn’t exactly make them a priority, either.

As of May 12, 37 states have started paying out Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), the program designed to aid workers who don’t qualify for traditional unemployment benefits, according to a Department of Labor spokesperson (*As of June 12, that number has grown to 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico). More than six weeks after the CARES act was signed into law, though, many eligible applicants are still waiting for their checks to arrive.

PUA provides up to 39 weeks of unemployment benefits to a wide swath of American workers that includes everyone from manicurists to Uber drivers; freelance writers to independent contractors.

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The application process, and the necessary steps claimants need to take to qualify, varies by state.

To help wade through the minutiae, Money has created a guide to navigating every state’s PUA application process. We’ll be updating this list continually, so if your state hasn’t started doling out PUA payments yet, check back shortly.

Hot tip: The minimum and maximum weekly benefit amounts reflected here do not include the additional $600 per week workers are eligible to receive from the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation program.

Also: Like all unemployment claims, PUA applicants must refile weekly in most states. Under the CARES Act, unpaid weeks prior to the rollout of the PUA program will be paid retroactively.

*This story was updated on May 19 to reflect the addition of six states: Alaska, Arizona, Connecticut, Hawaii, Maine, and Maryland. On June 17, it was updated to reflect the final nine states: Arkansas, Delaware, Illinois, Kansas, Nevada, New Hampshire, Ohio, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.

Alabama:

Currently paying out? Yes

General unemployment portal: https://www.labor.alabama.gov/

Direct PUA Portal: N/A

Notes: Alabama started taking PUA applications on April 27. Claimants must first file a regular unemployment insurance claim through the above link, and then visit the state’s “claim tracker” page for any next steps the following day. Detailed step-by-step information is available here.

The state’s minimum weekly benefit is $45, and the maximum is $275.

Alaska:

Currently paying out? Yes

General unemployment portal: https://my.alaska.gov/

Direct PUA Portal: N/A

Notes: Applicants must first apply for regular unemployment insurance via the above link prior to filing for PUA. More information is available here.

Alaska’s minimum weekly benefit amount is $56, and the maximum is $370.

Arizona:

Currently paying out? Yes

General Unemployment Portal: https://des.az.gov/

Direct PUA portal: https://pua.azdes.gov

Notes: Arizona’s minimum weekly benefit is $117, and the maximum is $240.

Arkansas

Currently paying out? Yes

General unemployment portal: https://www.dws.arkansas.gov/unemployment/

Direct Portal: https://pua.arkansas.gov/home

Notes: Arkansas’ minimum weekly benefit is $133, and the maximum weekly benefit is $451.

California:

Currently paying out? Yes

General unemployment portal: https://edd.ca.gov/unemployment/

Direct PUA portal: N/A

Notes: California started accepting PUA applications through the general unemployment portal on Tuesday, April 28.

The state’s minimum weekly benefit is $167, and the maximum is $450.

Colorado:

Currently paying out? Yes

General unemployment portal: https://smartfile.coworkforce.com/Start

Direct PUA Portal: https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/cdle/ui/new-claimant

Notes: Colorado’s minimum weekly benefit is $223, and the maximum is $618

Connecticut:

Currently paying out? Yes

General unemployment portal: http://www.ctdol.state.ct.us/UI-OnLine/index.htm

Direct PUA Portal: http://www.ctdol.state.ct.us/PUA/filePUA.htm

Notes: PUA applicants must first file a regular unemployment insurance claim through the link above.

Connecticut’s minimum weekly benefit is $198, and the maximum is $649.

Delaware

Currently paying out? Yes

General unemployment portal: https://ui.delawareworks.com/

Direct PUA Portal: N/A

Notes: To be eligible for PUA, applicants need to apply for traditional unemployment insurance (and be denied) through the link above.

Delaware’s minimum weekly PUA benefit is $133, and the maximum weekly benefit is $400.

Florida:

Currently paying out? Yes

General unemployment portal: http://www.floridajobs.org/

Direct PUA portal: https://floridajobs.org/cares-act

Notes: Florida’s maximum PUA benefit is $275/week

Georgia:

Currently paying out? Yes

General unemployment portal: https://www.dol.state.ga.us/static/uiben/ui-ruhere.htm#

Direct PUA Portal: https://www.dol.state.ga.us/public/uiben/pua/login

Notes: Georgia’s minimum PUA benefit is $55/week, and the maximum is $365/week

Hawaii

Currently paying out? Yes

General unemployment portal: https://labor.hawaii.gov/ui/

Direct PUA Portal: https://pua.hawaii.gov/_/

Notes: Hawaii’s minimum PUA benefit is $263/week and the maximum is $648/week

Idaho

Currently paying out? Yes

General unemployment portal: https://www.labor.idaho.gov/dnn/Unemployment-Benefits

Direct PUA portal: N/A

Notes: PUA applicants must first apply for regular unemployment insurance through the above link.

Idaho’s minimum weekly PUA payment is $168. The maximum is $448.

Illinois

Currently paying out? Yes

General unemployment portal: https://www2.illinois.gov/ides/

Direct PUA portal: https://www2.illinois.gov/ides/pages/file-for-pua.aspx

Notes: Illinois applicants can file a PUA claim only after they’ve applied for regular unemployment insurance first.

The state’s minimum weekly benefit is $51, and the maximum is $580.

Indiana

Currently paying out? Yes

General unemployment portal: https://uplink.in.gov/CSS/CSSLogon.htm

Direct PUA Portal: N/A

Notes: Indiana’s PUA application process opened on April 27. According to a state government website, applications will be available online to claimants who apply for and are denied regular unemployment insurance.

Indiana’s minimum weekly benefit amount is $149.

Iowa

Currently paying out? Yes

General unemployment portal: https://www.iowaworkforcedevelopment.gov/file-claim-unemployment-insurance-benefits

Direct PUA Portal: https://www.iowaworkforcedevelopment.gov/Pua-application

Notes: Iowa’s minimum weekly benefit amount is $203, and it’s maximum is $481.

Kansas

Currently paying out? Yes

General unemployment portal: https://www.getkansasbenefits.gov/BenefitsStartMenu.aspx

Direct PUA Portal: NA

Notes: The Kansas Department of Labor projects that residents will be able to file for PUA by May 12 and that payments should start processing by May 25.

The minimum weekly payment in Kansas is $122, and the maximum is $488.

Kentucky

Currently paying out? Yes

General unemployment portal: https://uiclaims.des.ky.gov/ebenefit/eben.htm

Direct PUA Portal: N/A

Notes: Residents who apply through the above link will be automatically considered for PUA.

Kentucky’s minimum weekly benefit amount is $180.

Louisiana

Currently paying out? Yes

General unemployment portal: www.louisianaworks.net/HiRE

Direct PUA Portal: N/A

Notes: Eligible PUA applicants should apply through the above link.

Louisiana’s minimum weekly benefit amount is $107, and the maximum is $247.

Maine

Currently paying out? Yes

General unemployment portal: https://reemployme.maine.gov/

Direct PUA Portal: N/A

Notes: Applications for PUA opened on Friday, May 1. Residents should apply through the “Reemploy Me” Link above. As per a state government website, if you have already applied for benefits and been denied due to insufficient earnings, your claim will automatically transfer to PUA.

Maine’s minimum benefit available under PUA is $172/week. The maximum benefit is $445/week.

Maryland

Currently paying out? Yes

General unemployment portal: https://beacon.labor.maryland.gov/claimant/

Direct PUA Portal: N/A

Notes: Maryland’s PUA applications opened on April 24. If you’ve already applied for regular unemployment insurance and were denied, you need to complete a new initial claim application to determine eligibility for PUA (available at the link above).

Massachusetts

Currently paying out? Yes

General unemployment portal: https://uionline.detma.org/Claimant/Core/Login.ASPX

Direct PUA Portal: https://ui-cares-act.mass.gov/PUA/_/

Notes: The state’s maximum weekly benefit is $823.

Michigan

Currently paying out? Yes

General unemployment portal: https://www.michigan.gov/leo/0,5863,7-336-78421_97241—,00.html

Direct PUA Portal: N/A.

Notes: Claimants should apply for PUA through the general link above.

In Michigan, the weekly benefit amount ranges from $160 to $318.

Minnesota

Currently paying out? Yes

General unemployment portal: https://www1.uimn.org/ui_applicant/applicant/login.do

Direct PUA Portal: N/A

Notes: Minnesota’s minimum weekly PUA benefit is $234.

Mississippi

Currently paying out? Yes

General unemployment portal: https://accessms.mdes.ms.gov/accessms/faces/login/login.xhtml

Direct PUA Portal: N/A

Notes: The minimum benefit amount is $106, and the maximum is $235

Missouri

Currently paying out? Yes

General unemployment portal: https://uinteract.labor.mo.gov/benefits/home.do

Direct PUA Portal: N/A

Notes: Missouri PUA applicants must first file a regular unemployment claim (available at the link above) and be found ineligible before applying for PUA.

The state’s minimum weekly PUA payment is $133.

Montana

Currently paying out? Yes

General unemployment portal: https://montanaworks.gov/

Direct PUA Portal: https://mtpua.mt.gov/_/#1

Notes: The minimum Montana PUA benefit is $184.

Nebraska

Currently paying out? Yes

General unemployment portal: https://dol.nebraska.gov/

Direct PUA Portal: Claimant guide available here

Notes: Nebraska’s minimum weekly PUA benefit amount is $174, and the maximum is $440.

Nevada

Currently paying out? Yes

General unemployment portal: http://ui.nv.gov/css.html

Direct PUA Portal: N/A

Notes: Nevada’s projected PUA start date is mid-May, according to a state government website.

The minimum weekly benefit is $183, and the maximum weekly benefit is $469.

New Hampshire

Currently paying out? Yes

General unemployment portal: https://www.unemploymentbenefits.nh.gov/

Direct PUA Portal: N/A

Notes: PUA applications are open in New Hampshire, but applicants can file a claim only after they’ve applied for regular unemployment insurance benefits and have been denied (available through the week above).

The minimum weekly benefit is $167.

New Jersey

Currently paying out? Yes

General unemployment portal: https://secure.dol.state.nj.us/sso/XUI/?realm=ui#register/

Direct PUA Portal: N/A

Notes: New Jersey PUA applicants must first create a profile on the “My Unemployment” website.

The state’s weekly benefit minimum is $231, and the maximum is $713.

New Mexico

Currently paying out? Yes

General unemployment portal: https://sam.dws.state.nm.us/Core/Login.ASPX

Direct PUA Portal: N/A

Notes: PUA applicants must first apply for regular unemployment insurance via the above link, and be deemed ineligible. After that step is completed, the link “Apply for PUA benefits” will appear in the left navigation of their unemployment insurance claim homepage.

The state’s minimum weekly benefit amount is $133, and the maximum is $320.

New York

Currently paying out? Yes

General unemployment portal: unemployment.labor.ny.gov

Direct PUA Portal: N/A

Notes: New Yorkers can submit a PUA application via the above link without first applying for general unemployment insurance.

The state’s minimum weekly benefit rate is $172, and the maximum is $504.

North Carolina

Currently paying out? Yes

General unemployment portal: https://des.nc.gov/

Direct PUA Portal: N/A

Notes: Applications for PUA opened on April 24. Claimants can apply though the general link above.

The minimum weekly benefit is $15, and the maximum is $350.

North Dakota

Currently paying out? Yes

General unemployment portal: https://www.jobsnd.com/

Direct PUA Portal: https://www.jobsnd.com/pandemic-unemployment-assistance-pua

Notes: North Dakota’s minimum weekly benefit is $43, and the maximum is $595.

Ohio

Currently paying out? Yes

General unemployment portal: https://unemploymenthelp.ohio.gov/

Direct PUA Portal: https://cares.unemployment.ohio.gov/

Notes: The state’s minimum weekly benefit amount is $134, and the maximum is $480.

Ohio has created a call center for PUA-specific questions at: 833-604-0774.

Oklahoma

Currently paying out? Yes

General unemployment portal: https://unemployment.state.ok.us/

Direct PUA Portal: https://ui.ok.gov/

Notes: Oklahoma recently launched its new digital PUA portal (link above). PUA applicants with an account in the old system will have to register for a new account.

Oklahoma’s minimum weekly benefit amount is $16, and the maximum amount is $539.

Oregon

Currently paying out? Yes

General unemployment portal: https://secure.emp.state.or.us/ocs4/index.cfm?u=F20200511A084550B34994833.4795&lang=E

Direct PUA Portal: https://govstatus.egov.com/ui-benefits/CARES

Notes: Oregon PUA applicants should first apply through the state’s general unemployment system. Detailed instructions are available here.

The state’s minimum weekly benefit is $205, and the maximum is $648.

Pennsylvania

Currently paying out? Yes

General unemployment portal: https://www.uc.pa.gov

Direct PUA Portal: https://www.uc.pa.gov/unemployment-benefits/file/Pages/Filing-for-PUA.aspx

Notes: Pennsylvania’s minimum weekly PUA benefit is $195, and the maximum is $572.

Rhode Island

Currently paying out? Yes

General unemployment portal: http://www.dlt.ri.gov/ui/fileclaim2.htm

Direct PUA Portal: https://covidemergencyuibenefits.dlt.ri.gov/

Notes: Rhode Island’s minimum weekly PUA benefit amount is $53, and the maximum is $586.

South Carolina

Currently paying out? Yes

General unemployment portal: https://dew.sc.gov/

Direct PUA Portal: N/A

Notes: Applications opened on April 24.

Claimants must first apply for general unemployment insurance via the link above. They will then receive an email with information about how to file a separate PUA claim (those who already filed a claim should have already gotten this email).

South Carolina’s average weekly unemployment benefit amount is $236.

South Dakota

Currently paying out? Yes

General unemployment portal: https://apps.sd.gov/LD00General/

Direct PUA Portal: N/A

Notes: PUA applicants must first file an initial unemployment insurance claim via the link above, and then upload a separate “proof of earnings” submission.

The state’s minimum PUA benefit is $172/week.

Tennessee

Currently paying out? Yes

General unemployment portal: jobs4tn.gov

Direct PUA Portal: N/A

Notes: PUA applicants must first apply for traditional unemployment insurance benefits (via the link above) and be deemed ineligible. Detailed instructions are available here.

Tennessee’s minimum weekly benefit amount is $120 and the maximum is $275.

Texas

Currently paying out? Yes

General unemployment portal: https://login.apps.twc.state.tx.us/UBS/

Direct PUA Portal: N/A

Notes: Texas PUA applicants should first apply for regular unemployment insurance through the link above. When asked the reason for their job separation, they should select “reduced hours,” and under the disaster impact section, they should select “COVID-19,” according to a state government website. Once finished, the system will deny them regular unemployment benefits, and automatically enroll them in PUA. Those who have already completed regular unemployment claims should not reapply.

Texas’ minimum weekly PUA benefit is $207, and the maximum is $521.

Utah

Currently paying out? Yes

General unemployment portal: https://jobs.utah.gov/ui/home/initialclaims

Direct PUA Portal: https://jobs.utah.gov/sso/login.aspx?application

Notes: Utah’s maximum weekly benefit is $580.m

Vermont

Currently paying out? Yes

General unemployment portal: https://vermont.force.com/DOLClaim/s/

Direct PUA Portal: N/A

Notes: Vermont PUA applicants must first complete an initial application for general unemployment insurance via the above link. Those eligible for PUA will receive an email with instructions for completing an application.

Vermont’s minimum PUA benefit is $191/week, and the maximum is $513/week.

Virginia

Currently paying out? Yes

General unemployment portal: https://www.vec.virginia.gov/

Direct PUA Portal: https://www.vec.virginia.gov/html/pua.html

Notes: Virginia PUA applicants must first apply for general unemployment insurance (via the above link) and be found ineligible.

The state’s minimum weekly benefit is $60, and the maximum weekly benefit is $378.

Washington

Currently paying out? Yes

General unemployment portal: https://secure.esd.wa.gov/home/

Direct PUA Portal: N/A

Notes: Washington PUA applicants must first apply for regular benefits. Once they are found ineligible, these applicants will receive an alert in the eServices account they made through that general portal.

The state’s minimum weekly PUA benefit is $235, and the maximum is $790.

West Virginia

Currently paying out? Yes

General unemployment portal: https://uc.workforcewv.org/consumer/?lang=en

Direct PUA Portal: https://pua.workforcewv.org/vosnet/Default.aspx

Notes: In West Virginia, the minimum PUA benefit is $158, and the maximum is $424.

Wisconsin

Currently paying out? Yes

General unemployment portal: https://my.unemployment.wisconsin.gov/Claimant/Account/Logon

Direct PUA Portal: N/A

Notes: As of April 21, Wisconsin PUA claimants can apply online through the general portal above. The state’s minimum weekly benefit amount is $163, and the maximum is $370.

Wyoming

Currently paying out? Yes

General unemployment portal: https://wyui.wyo.gov/

Direct PUA Portal: N/A

Notes: Wyoming PUA applicants can apply through the general portal above.

The state’s minimum weekly benefit amount is $36, and the maximum is $508.

Washington D.C.

Currently paying out? Yes

General unemployment portal: https://www.dcnetworks.org/vosnet/Default.aspx

Direct PUA Portal: https://dcdoes.force.com/PUAForm/s/

Notes: Washington PUA applicants must first make an initial claim for regular unemployment insurance. Once they are found ineligible, they can apply for PUA through the portal above.

Puerto Rico

Currently paying out? Yes

General unemployment portal: https://www.trabajo.pr.gov/

Direct PUA Portal: https://pua.trabajo.pr.gov/pua/application

Notes: Puerto Rico’s minimum weekly benefit is $33, and the maximum is $190.

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Advertiser Disclosure

The purpose of this disclosure is to explain how we make money without charging you for our content.

Our mission is to help people at any stage of life make smart financial decisions through research, reporting, reviews, recommendations, and tools.

Earning your trust is essential to our success, and we believe transparency is critical to creating that trust. To that end, you should know that many or all of the companies featured here are partners who advertise with us.

Our content is free because our partners pay us a referral fee if you click on links or call any of the phone numbers on our site. If you choose to interact with the content on our site, we will likely receive compensation. If you don't, we will not be compensated. Ultimately the choice is yours.

Opinions are our own and our editors and staff writers are instructed to maintain editorial integrity, but compensation along with in-depth research will determine where, how, and in what order they appear on the page.

To find out more about our editorial process and how we make money, click here.

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