FAQ: What is the difference between UI and PUA?
UI (unemployment insurance) is a state/federal program provided in Washington since 1938 that ensures support for workers receiving wages if they are laid off or otherwise become unemployed through no fault of their own. UI benefits allow the unemployed to meet basic needs for up to 26 weeks while they look for new work. The PUA program (Pandemic Unemployment Assistance) was adopted in the CARES Act in 2020 to support a broader range of workers facing a sudden loss of income from the COVID-19 pandemic. PUA benefit amounts are comparable to UI amounts and are available to the self-employed, gig workers, part-time workers, people without sufficient work history, and others who don’t qualify for regular UI—as long as they are unemployed or partially unemployed for a COVID-19 related reason.