ALERT
Affected by COVID-19?

The federal stimulus bill that extends CARES Act unemployment benefits was signed into law. Visit the COVID-19 page for the latest information. Please try not to call our Unemployment Claims Center with questions as call volume remains very high.

Guidance for answering the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) eligibility questions

 
This page provides clarification of the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) eligibility questions. Please use it as guidance to help you answer the questions on your PUA claims.

COVID-19 Specific Questions

Click on a question to move directly to related information. 

 

  1. Did your place of employment close as a direct result of the COVID-19 public health emergency?
  2. Are you an independent contractor or self-employed individual, and has the COVID-19 public health emergency severely limited your ability to do your customary work activities?
  3. Are you unable to work from home or anywhere because you are the main caregiver to a child or household member who needs your constant and ongoing care; and they cannot attend school, daycare or other facility that is closed as a direct result of the COVID-19 public health emergency?
  4. Are you unable to reach your place of employment because of quarantine imposed by a state or municipal order restricting travel as a result of the COVID-19 public health emergency?
  5. Are you unable to reach your place of work because you have been advised by a healthcare provider to self-quarantine due to concerns related to COVID-19?
  6. Were you scheduled to start a job in Washington state but no longer have the job or are unable to reach the job as a direct result of the COVID-19 public health emergency?
  7. Did you have to quit as a direct result of COVID-19?
  8. Were you diagnosed with COVID-19?
  9. Do you have symptoms of COVID-19 and are seeking a medical diagnosis?
  10. Has an individual in your household been diagnosed with COVID-19?
  11. Are you providing constant and ongoing care for a family member or household member who has been diagnosed with COVID-19?
  12. Did you become the breadwinner or major support for a household because the head of household died as a direct result of COVID-19?
  13. Can you telework (work remotely or from home) this week for your usual number of hours with pay during the COVID-19 public health emergency?
  14. Considering the reason(s) you checked above, can you still telework (work remotely or from home) your usual number of hours?

  

PUA Private Income

 

  1. Did you apply for or receive any private income protection insurance or supplemental unemployment benefits?
    If Yes to the above:
  2. Provide the amount you are receiving in these benefits.

  

Existing claim in another state or with the railroad

 

  1. Have you applied for or received unemployment benefits from another state or the U.S. Railroad Retirement Board in the last 12 months?
    If Yes to the above:
  2. Select the other state from which you received unemployment or select the button labeled “Railroad”.
  3. Why did you contact Washington to collect unemployment benefits when you had an unemployment claim with <other state>?

 


COVID-19 Specific Questions


 

1. Did your place of employment close as a direct result of the COVID-19 public health emergency?

What is this question asking?

This question asks if your place of employment is now, or ever was, closed due to the COVID-19 public health emergency. If it was closed at some point, but is not closed now, then during this week, are you unable to return to your regular hours of work due to the COVID-19 emergency declaration or social distancing protocols?

 
When to answer No

If your place of employment didn’t close at any time during the public health emergency, answer No to this question.

If your place of employment closed, but you can return to your regular hours of work this week, answer No to this question.

If your place of business closed, but it wasn’t directly due to the COVID-19 emergency declaration or social distancing protocols, answer No to this question.

 
When to answer Yes

If your place of employment closed at any time due to the COVID-19 public health emergency and, during this week, you are unable to return to your regular hours of work due to the COVID-19 emergency declaration or social distancing protocols, you may answer Yes to this question.

 


 

2. Are you an independent contractor or self-employed individual, and has the COVID-19 public health emergency severely limited your ability to do your customary work activities?

What is this question asking?

This question asks if you are an independent contractor or self-employed individual. If you are, it also asks if your customary work or work activities were severely limited this week due to the COVID-19 public health emergency.


When to answer No

If you are not an independent contractor or self-employed individual, answer No to this question.

If you are an independent contractor or self-employed individual, and you have been able to work your regular number of hours this week, answer No to this question.

If you are an independent contractor or self-employed individual, and you can perform your customary work activities, but business is not significantly slower than normal, answer No to this question.


When to answer Yes

If you are an independent contractor or self-employed individual, and you had such a reduction in your usual work to the point you were forced to suspend activities during this week, answer Yes to this question.

 


 

3. Are you unable to work from home or anywhere because you are the main caregiver to a child or household member who needs your constant and ongoing care; and they cannot attend school, daycare or other facility that is closed as a direct result of the COVID-19 public health emergency?

 
What is this question asking?

This question asks if you are required to remain at home because a child or household member needs your constant and ongoing care. If so, it asks if providing that constant and ongoing care makes it impossible for you to perform work from home. If you have to provide this care and you’re not able to work from home, it also asks if you are unable to work because a school, daycare or other facility is closed due to the COVID-19 public health emergency.

When to answer No

  • If you are not the main caregiver to a child or household member, answer No to this question.
  • If you are the main caregiver to a child or household member, but you can work from home or anywhere, even though a school, daycare or other facility is closed, answer No to this question.
  • If you are the main caregiver to a child or household member, but this person does not need constant and ongoing attention or care, answer No to this question.
  • If you are the main caregiver to a child or household member, and your customary childcare is available, but you choose not to use it, answer No to this question.

Note: if the reason you are keeping your student home is due to other COVID-19 related reasons, you should answer Yes to that question, not this one.


Answers depending on a facility that is closed

If you are required to remain at home because a child or household member needs your constant and ongoing care and it is impossible for you to perform work from home, the answers depend on the situation of the facility.

  • Daycare or other facility: If the child or household member cannot attend a daycare or other facility that is either closed or doesn’t have the capacity to take your child or household member as a direct result of the COVID-19 emergency declaration or social distancing protocols, answer Yes to this question.
  • School: If a child or household member cannot attend a school that is closed as a direct result of the COVID-19 public health emergency, the answer to this question is dependent on whether we consider the school to be open or closed.
    A school’s status may be:

1. Fully online with no in-person classes
2. A mixture of online and in-person classes
3. In-person with the option of online classes
4. Fully in-person with no online classes

1. If a school is fully online and doesn’t provide in-person classes, it is considered closed.

Answer Yes to this question if you are not receiving paid leave benefits and are unable or unavailable to work because you are the primary caregiver for a student.
If you can work from home but are unable to because you must provide ongoing and constant care to a student for whom you are the primary caregiver, you may be considered unable or unavailable for work.


2. If a school has a mixture of online and in-person classes, where students attend school in-person some days with the rest of the week being done remotely, it is considered closed.

If you must stay home to care for a student on the days of remote classes, you may be eligible for paid leave benefits under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA).
Answer Yes to this question if you are not receiving paid leave benefits and are unable or unavailable to work because you are the primary caregiver for a student.
If you can work from home but are unable to because you must provide ongoing and constant care to a student for whom you are the primary caregiver, you may be considered unable or unavailable for work.


3. If a school gives students the option to stay home and attend online classes or to attend school in-person full time, it is considered open.

If you are the primary caregiver and choose to have a student attend remote classes instead of attending in-person, you don’t meet the requirements of the CARES Act. Answer No to this question.
If you continue to claim PUA benefits for this reason, despite the reopening of schools, you may face an overpayment, as well as penalties for fraud and criminal prosecution.


Note: if the reason you are keeping your student home is due to other COVID-19 related reasons, you should answer Yes to that question, not this one.

4. If a school requires students to be physically present at the school, it is open.

The school is open; you don’t meet the requirements of the CARES Act. Answer No to this question.

 


 

4. Are you unable to reach your place of employment because of quarantine imposed by a state or municipal order restricting travel as a result of the COVID-19 public health emergency?

What is this question asking?

This question asks if you are unable to work because your county is still in a phase where travel is restricted.


When to answer No

If your county is not in a phase where travel is restricted, answer No to this question.


When to answer Yes

If your county is still restricting travel and you are unable to work, answer Yes to this question.

 


 

5. Are you unable to reach your place of work because you have been advised by a healthcare provider to self-quarantine due to concerns related to COVID-19?

What is this question asking?

This question asks if you are unable to work because you have been advised by a healthcare provider to self-quarantine during this week due to concerns related to COVID-19.

 
When to answer No

If you haven’t been advised to self-quarantine this week due to COVID-19, answer No to this question.

 

When to answer Yes

If you were advised to self-quarantine during this week due to COVID-19, answer Yes to this question.

  


 

6. Were you scheduled to start a job in Washington state but no longer have the job or are unable to reach the job as a direct result of the COVID-19 public health emergency?

What is this question asking?

This question asks if you were hired and scheduled to start a job in Washington state. If you were, we also need to know if, this week, you still do not have the job or are still unable to reach the job as a direct result of the COVID-19 public health emergency.


When to answer No

If you weren’t hired and scheduled to start a job in Washington state, answer No to this question.

If you were hired and scheduled to start a job in Washington state, and you now have that job and can reach that job, answer No to this question.


When to answer Yes

If you were hired and scheduled to start a job in Washington state and you still no longer have or cannot reach that job, answer Yes to this question.

 


 

7. Did you have to quit as a direct result of COVID-19?

What is this question asking?

This question asks if you had to quit your job as a direct result of COVID-19, for example, you were diagnosed with COVID-19. If you did, we also need to know if, this week, you are still unable to return to work due to complications of your diagnosis.


When to answer No

If you didn’t have to quit your job due to COVID-19, answer No to this question.

If you had to quit your job due to COVID-19, but you can return to work this week, answer No to this question.

 

When to answer Yes

If you had to quit your job as a direct result of COVID-19 and are still unable to return to work, answer Yes to this question.

 


 

8. Were you diagnosed with COVID-19?

What is this question asking?

This question asks if you were diagnosed with COVID-19. If you were, we also need to know if, this week, you are still unable to return to work because of the diagnosis.
A qualifying diagnosis does not require a positive test. Any diagnosis from a qualified medical professional, including one made via phone or telehealth, is sufficient.


When to answer No

If you weren’t diagnosed with COVID-19, answer No to this question.

If you were diagnosed with COVID-19, but were able to return to work this week, answer No to this question.


When to answer Yes

If you were diagnosed with COVID-19 and you are still unable to return to work because of the diagnosis, answer Yes to this question.

 


 

9. Do you have symptoms of COVID-19 and are seeking a medical diagnosis?

What is this question asking?

This question asks if you are seeking a medical diagnosis due to symptoms of COVID-19. If you are, we also need to know if, this week, you are unable to return to work because you are still symptomatic.


When to answer No

If you didn’t have symptoms of COVID-19, answer No to this question.

If you had symptoms of COVID-19, but didn’t seek a medical diagnosis, answer No to this question.

If you had symptoms of COVID-19 and were seeking a medical diagnosis but were able to return to work this week because the medical diagnosis was negative, answer No to this question.

 

When to answer Yes

If you are seeking a medical diagnosis due to symptoms of COVID-19 and you are unable to return to work because you are symptomatic, answer Yes to this question.

 


 

10. Has an individual in your household been diagnosed with COVID-19?

What is this question asking?

This question asks if an individual in your household has been diagnosed with COVID-19. If they have, we need to know if, this week, you are unable to return to work.


When to answer No

If nobody in your household was diagnosed with COVID-19, answer No to this question.

If an individual in your household was diagnosed with COVID-19, but it didn’t prevent you from working, answer No to this question.


When to answer Yes

If an individual in your household has been diagnosed with COVID-19, and, for that reason, you are unable to return to work this week, answer Yes to this question.

 


 

11. Are you providing constant and ongoing care for a family member or household member who has been diagnosed with COVID-19?

What is this question asking?

This question asks if, during this week, you are providing constant and ongoing care for a family or household member who has been diagnosed with COVID-19.


When to answer No

If you were not providing constant and ongoing care to a family or household member who has been diagnosed with COVID-19, answer No to this question.

If the family or household member is able to adequately care for him or herself, answer No to this question.

 

When to answer Yes

If you are providing constant and ongoing care for a family or household member who has been diagnosed with COVID-19, answer Yes to this question.

 


 

12. Did you become the breadwinner or major support for a household because the head of household died as a direct result of COVID-19?

What is this question asking?

This question asks if you are now expected to provide the majority of financial support for your household because the head of household died as a direct result of COVID-19. If you are, it also asks, if during this week, you are still unable to find employment.


When to answer No

If you did not become the major source of income due to the death of the head of household, answer No to this question.

If you became the major source of income due to the death of the head of household, but you are employed this week, answer No to this question.


When to answer Yes

If you became the major support for your household and are still unable to find employment, answer Yes to this question.

 


 

13. Can you telework (work remotely or from home) this week for your usual number of hours with pay during the COVID-19 public health emergency?

What is this question asking?

This question asks if the claimant can telework for their usual employer, including working remotely or from home, during the week for their usual number of hours with pay.

 

When to answer No:

If you were not offered an option to telework by your usual employer, answer No to this question.

If you’re not able to telework, including jobs that cannot telework (like construction or restaurant staff), answer No to this question.

If you’re not able to telework your usual, pre-pandemic number of hours with pay, answer No to this question.

If you’re not able to telework due to domestic violence, sexual violence, or stalking, answer No to this question.

 

When to answer Yes:

If your usual employer offered you telework and you can do so this week for your usual, prepandemic number of hours with pay, answer Yes to this question.

 


 

14. Considering the reason(s) you checked above, can you still telework (work remotely or from home) your usual number of hours?

What is this question asking?

This question asks if, based on any of the COVID-19 reasons to which the claimant has just responded, the claimant can still telework for their usual employer.

 

When to answer No:

If, based on your COVID-19 reason(s), you’re not able to continue to telework, answer No to this question. For example, your job allows you to telework, but because schools or daycares aren’t open, you are unable to do so because you’re providing constant and ongoing care for your children.

If, based on the COVID-19 reason(s), you’re able to telework, but not for your usual number of hours with pay, answer No to this question.

If, based on the COVID-19 reason(s), you would be able to continue to telework, but are unable to due to domestic violence, sexual violence, or stalking, answer No to this question.

If, based on your COVID-19 reason(s), you were not offered an option to telework by your employer, answer No to this question.

 

When to answer Yes:

If you’re able to continue to telework during this week for your usual, pre-pandemic number of hours with pay, even with the COVID-19 reason(s) you checked above, answer Yes to this question.

 


PUA Private Income


 

1. Did you apply for or receive any private income protection insurance or supplemental unemployment benefits?

What is this question asking?

This question asks if you received any private income protection insurance; this includes payments from sources like Aflac, MetLife, The Standard, or Guardian. This question also asks if you’ve received any supplemental unemployment benefits. This includes supplemental benefits, where the employer often pays the premiums, when unemployment is due to illness, injury, or a reduction in force.


When to answer No

If you didn’t receive any private income protection insurance or supplemental unemployment benefits, answer No to this question.


When to answer Yes

If you received any private income protection insurance or supplemental unemployment benefits, answer Yes to this question.

 


Existing claim in another state or with the railroad


 

1. Have you applied for or received unemployment benefits from another state or the U.S. Railroad Retirement Board in the last 12 months?

What is this question asking?

This question asks if you qualify this week to receive regular unemployment benefits or extensions, from any state or the Railroad Retirement Board.


When to answer No

If you don’t qualify for any unemployment benefits, including extensions, from regular state or the Railroad Retirement Board, answer No to this question.


When to answer Yes

If you qualify for any unemployment benefits, including extensions, from any state or the Railroad Retirement Board, answer Yes to this question.