Pandemic Unemployment Assistance


A key provision in the CARES Act creates a temporary "Pandemic Unemployment Assistance" program that extends unemployment benefits to those not traditionally eligible, including self-employed individuals.

The unemployment assistance may be available to individuals who are unemployed, partially unemployed, or unable to work for the weeks impacted as a result of COVID-19 between Jan. 27- Dec. 31, 2020.

  • Provides up to $600 per week to those not traditionally eligible for unemployment insurance such as self-employed workers, independent contractors, etc. for up to four months.

These benefits will be administered by the states, in accordance with this new Federal law: in Kansas through Kansas Department of Labor and in Missouri through the Missouri Department of Labor.


(May 1): The Kansas Department of Labor announced that new federal unemployment benefits will be provided in May. Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) back payments will be provided on May 9. FPUC is a federal benefit that provides an additional $600 for those unemployed. Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) will begin formally accepting application on May 12 with payments expected on May 25. PUA is a program that functions similar to unemployment insurance for independent contractors and other types of workers not previously granted this type of benefit. If you already filed an application and were denied, then it is expected that you will automatically be approved for coverage as the Department applies new guidance to these applications. The first step to applying for this benefit is to create an account on the Kansas Department of Labor website here.

(April 28): Self-employed should apply for traditional unemployment benefits. They will be denied traditional UI benefits, but that is the first step to apply for PUA (Pandemic Unemployment Assistance-part of the federal cares act). PUA is assistance for self-employed, etc. If they are eligible for PUA and start receiving benefits, the $600 would also kick in for the weeks that fall within its duration that they were unemployed and receiving PUA. PUA is being developed now, though we are still waiting on more guidance from US Department of Labor. We expect it will be 3-6 weeks before it is live, though we are trying to figure out the fastest route to get money into people’s pockets daily.

View infographic on PUA.

Those seeking unemployment benefits in Kansas are encouraged to check the Kansas Department of Labor website for frequent updates.

Kansas Department of Labor Website - CLICK HERE


(April 20): The Missouri Department of Labor and Industrial Relations Division of Employment Security provided the following update today: The minimum $133 PUA payments (+the $600 federal supplement) are estimated to be issued within 10 days of eligibility determination. 

For higher weekly payments, individuals will have to submit info requested for proof of wages. Step 1) self-employed must first file a regular unemployment claim at (and receive the notice they are not an insured worker) Step 2) they can file their PUA (see below) and Step 3) they must request payment weekly for weeks they wish to be paid. To learn more, see the April 20 press release here.

To file a claim - Click Here

Missouri Department of Labor Website - Click Here