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Hawaii News | Kokua Line

Kokua Line: What happens when PEUC expires?

Question: I could have had a new unemployment claim but stayed with PEUC, so what happens after PEUC expires next month?

Answer: If you have established a new Unemployment Insurance claim but chose to remain on Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation under what’s known as the PEUC $25 option, “your new UI claim will be reinstated (after PEUC expires) and you can continue to collect benefits under that claim. Otherwise, there are no additional UI programs available,” according to the state Department of Labor and Industrial Relations.

Standard UI claims pay benefits for a total of 26 weeks, assuming that you are eligible in any given week. PEUC is the federally funded extension for people whose standard UI benefits have been exhausted.

After creating the PEUC program, the federal government modified it so that many claimants could stay on PEUC even if they were eligible for a new initial claim for standard UI benefits; claimants could choose whichever path paid them a higher weekly benefit for the longer amount of time. This became known as the PEUC $25 option because the new initial claim had to pay at least $25 a week less than the claimant’s existing PEUC claim.

Like other federally funded unemployment programs, PEUC is scheduled to expire Sept. 6. The other federally funded programs set to expire as of that date are Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation, popularly known as “the plus-up,” and Mixed Earners Unemployment Compensation. Once these programs end, only standard UI will be available in Hawaii, with the usual eligibility requirements, according to the DLIR.

Hawaii has relied heavily on federal jobless aid during the pandemic, according to a DLIR chart last updated July 23. Of the total $6.1 billion paid to claimants through that date, about $4.3 billion was from federal programs that have expired or are scheduled to expire Sept. 6. See details at 808ne.ws/dlirdata.

Q: Auwe. The city says to cancel any AlohaQ appointment you don’t need, to make way for others, but when I tried it said my appointment — scheduled for September — was expired or couldn’t be found! I was typing in everything exactly as it appeared on my printout.

A: Try using the QR scanning app to manage your ticket, rather than typing in the information yourself on AlohaQ. The QR code should appear on your confirmation ticket, which you said you printed out. We’ve heard similar complaints from a few other readers when they tried to input the information themselves, but all were able to cancel their appointments using the QR scanning app.

Q: Regarding the battery incentive (808ne.ws/83kline), how would we be compensated? Would it be a credit or a rebate on our electrical bill? Also, what happens when there’s a power outage?

A: No, it would not be a credit or rebate. Hawaiian Electric says that a customer who participates in its Battery Bonus program will receive a one-time payment up front, based on the committed kilowatt capacity of their battery system. This payment would be considered income and be reported to the Internal Revenue Service and the state Department of Taxation, the company says in its Battery Bonus Q&A, which you can find at hawaiianelectric.com.

As for your second question, your battery storage system would not be expected to export power to Hawaiian Electric’s grid during a system outage. “During a system outage, you can use all stored electricity for your own needs,” it says.

Q: Public schools are supposed to say when there’s COVID-19. Where can we find that information?

A: Weekly updates on confirmed COVID-19 cases in Hawaii’s Department of Education system, which includes all regular public schools in the state, are posted at hawaiipublicschools.org. Look for the link to “COVID-19 Updates.”


Write to Kokua Line at Honolulu Star-Advertiser, 7 Waterfront Plaza, Suite 210, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., Honolulu 96813; call 529-4773; fax 529-4750; or email kokualine@staradvertiser.com.


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