Question: In January the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported that Hawaii intended to participate in the federally funded Mixed Earner Unemployment Compensation (MEUC) program, which will pay an extra $100 a week to eligible claimants who earned too much from an employer to be eligible for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance but too little to get much in standard Unemployment Insurance. … My question is whether or not Hawaii actually still intends to do so. We’ve heard nothing about that part of the population that falls into the cracks between PUA and UI, and whether Hawaii will be following through to utilize these federally earmarked funds to help those individuals, or not. It’s been nearly six months since then-President Trump signed into law the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021, reauthorizing the payment of “plus-up” benefits and creating the new MEUC program. These much-needed federal funds that have already been set aside will help those Hawaii residents who, prior to the pandemic, had jobs like working at restaurants or retail establishments during the week, and then also took on jobs like painting or doing other 1099 gigs on the weekends to make ends meet. Those federal funds will allow these individuals to catch up on many of the bills that accumulated during the pandemic, including past due rents and credit cards that were charged up to pay for food and necessities.
Answer: Yes, the state Department of Labor and Industrial Relations said Wednesday that it will process MEUC applications starting today. It posted an alert on hawaiiunemploymentinfo.com, which says:
“Beginning June 17, 2021, DLIR will begin accepting applications for Mixed Earners Unemployment Compensation, which provides an additional $100 per week in supplemental benefits. MEUC is available to individuals receiving regular UI or extended benefits who also received at least $5,000 of net self-employment income in the most recent tax year ending prior to the individual’s application for UI benefits. Individuals who are eligible for MEUC will receive the supplemental benefit for any week that they are paid UI benefits between Dec. 27, 2020, and the week ending Sept. 4, 2021.
“To apply, go to pua.hawaii.gov and click on the “Apply for Mixed Earners Unemployment Compensation” link (under the “Get Started” icon). If you previously applied for PUA but are now eligible for regular UI, you will need to apply by logging into your PUA account. The application link can be found under the “More” tab.
“Once the application is submitted, you will be required to provide documentation verifying that you received at least $5,000 of net self-employment income in the applicable tax year. You will be sent a notification as to how and when to submit this documentation. If you are deemed eligible, you will automatically receive the supplemental payments for any week that you received an underlying unemployment payment during the eligibility period. No additional action will be required.”
PUA recipients are not eligible for MEUC, the DLIR said in a news release. The program is for claimants with a mix of W-2 wages and self-employment income.
“MEUC was created in response to workers whose past income wasn’t fully being counted and now that the program has launched, claimants who have side income will see an increase in their weekly benefit amount,” said DLIR Director Anne Perreira-Eustaquio.
Find more information at 808ne.ws/meucfaq.
Q: We are going to the mainland today and return Wednesday. We are traveling with our 9-year-old daughter. Both adults are vaccinated and qualify under Gov. Ige’s new travel rules for no testing, but what about the 9-year-old?
A: Hawaii’s Safe Travels protocol applies to travelers ages 5 and up, so your daughter will have to be tested in the accepted manner or quarantine for 10 days once your family returns to Hawaii.
COVID-19 vaccination is available to people ages 12 and up; younger travelers don’t have the vaccine exception as an option.
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