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Hawaii News | Kokua Line

Kokua Line: Is it too late to backdate a claim for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance?

Question: I was denied UI but they said I might be eligible for PUA. But isn’t it too late for that?

Answer: No, not for backdated benefits for claimants who qualify for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance after being denied standard Unemployment Insurance, according to the state Department of Labor and Industrial Relations.

PUA will continue accepting applications from people in your situation until Oct. 4, according to the DLIR’s informational website, hawaiiunemploymentinfo. com. We confirmed the application deadline with department spokesman Bill Kunstman.

If you are deemed eligible for PUA, your claim would be backdated to match the filing date of your denied Unemployment Insurance claim, according to the website.

Assuming that your PUA claim is approved, you would be paid for eligible weeks while the program was in force. You would not be paid for weeks beyond the week ending Sept. 4, which is when federal unemployment programs, including PUA, expired in Hawaii.

UI is the standard unemployment compensation program for regular employees (W-2 earners) who are laid off or furloughed; it remains active. PUA is a federally funded program for the self-employed, gig workers and others ineligible for standard UI, whose ability to make a living was disrupted by the pandemic. As mentioned, PUA has expired, but backdated, eligible claims will be paid, the DLIR says.

For more information about filing a PUA claim, go to pua.hawaii.gov.

Q: What’s the website where you are supposed to register for work?

A: People claiming unemployment benefits in Hawaii are told to register at hirenethawaii.com to look for work and for other career-building resources.

Q: The company I worked for closed in April 2020 and I have been collecting unemployment. I am now 68 but I was working full time until the closure. I guess I consider myself retired now, but I’m wondering if I could still collect unemployment somehow?

A: Based on your description, no. You haven’t worked since being laid off, which means you haven’t earned enough to qualify for a new Unemployment Insurance claim now that federal jobless aid has ceased. Moreover, if you consider yourself retired, you aren’t available for work, which also would disqualify you. The Department of Labor and Industrial Relations covers this on its website, in answer to the question “Can someone file for unemployment if retired?” The answer: “If an individual is retired and does not plan to return to work to the same extent that they were working, the individual would not be considered able and available for work, and therefore would not qualify for unemployment. If an individual retired voluntarily, they need to report that they quit their job.”

Mahalo

I want to express my heartfelt gratitude and appreciation to a young man, Caleb from Kailua. My car stalled in the middle of the intersection at Pali Highway and Country Club/Puiwa Road. I was standing outside by the median next to my car when he drove by heading toward Kailua. He saw me standing there and turned around and parked on a side street and walked over to help. Having been there alone while waiting for the police and tow truck, his arrival was very reassuring and comforting to my nerves. He also gave good suggestions that were very helpful. When I thanked him, after the tow truck arrived, he just said “I’m young and supposed to help people in need.” I’m also thankful to the police and to the two good Samaritans who jumped out of their cars to help push my car across the intersection to the side street. — Grateful senior


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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