CHEYENNE – The U.S. Department of Labor has released guidance that has expanded Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) eligibility. Three new reasons have been added under which an individual whose employment was directly affected by the COVID-19 public health emergency may self-certify:

Individuals who refuse to return to work that is unsafe or to accept an offer of new work that is unsafe.

The individual has been denied continued unemployment benefits because the individual refused to return to work or 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. This includes, but is not limited to, those related to facial mask wearing, physical distancing measures, or the provision of personal protective equipment consistent with public health guidelines.

Certain individuals providing services to educational institutions or educational service agencies.

An individual provides services to an educational institution or educational service agency and the individual is unemployed or partially unemployed because of volatility in the work schedule that is directly caused by the COVID-19 public health emergency. This includes, but is not limited to, changes in schedules and partial closures.

Individuals experiencing a reduction of hours or a temporary or permanent layoff.

An individual is an employee and their hours have been reduced or the individual was laid off as a direct result of the COVID-19 public health emergency.

Individuals who previously filed for PUA but were determined not eligible at the time and denied benefits may reapply at These additional eligibility provisions apply retroactively to claimants who had/have an existing claim to the beginning of the PUA program, which was enacted under the CARES Act on March 27, 2020.

All information is subject to verification. Criminal and/or civil penalties for violations of federal and/or state laws will be enforced for willfully making false statements or concealing information to obtain or increase PUA benefits.