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‘Pandemic Unemployment Assistance’ available for Mississippians

During today’s press briefing, Governor Tate Reeves announced that Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) is now available for Mississippians who are out work due to the COVID-19 crisis. 

MDES provided the following information about who is eligible for the federally funded program and how to apply. 

People who live or work in Mississippi and could not work as a “direct result” of the pandemic that occurred on February 2, 2020 and ongoing, are entitled to apply and may be eligible to receive PUA.

Self-employed individuals, independent contractors, persons employed by a church or religious entity, employees of non-profit organizations, gig economy workers, those who do not have sufficient wages in covered employment during the last 18 months to establish a claim under regular unemployment compensation, and those who became unemployed or partially unemployed as a result of the pandemic, may be eligible for PUA. 

Persons eligible to apply for PUA are individuals who:  (1) have been diagnosed with COVID-19 or, are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and are seeking a medical diagnosis; (2) became the breadwinner or major support for a household because the head of the household has died as a direct result of COVID-19; (3) quit his or her job as a direct result of COVID-19; (4) their place of employment is closed as a direct result of the COVID-19 public health emergency; (5) have a member of their household that has been diagnosed with COVID-19; (6) is providing care for a family member or a member of their household who has been diagnosed with COVID-19; (7) has a child or other person in the household for which they have primary caregiving responsibility that is unable to attend school or another facility closed as a direct result of the COVID-19 public health emergency and such school or facility care is required for the individual to work; (8) is unable to reach the place of employment because of a quarantine imposed as a direct result of the COVID-19 public health emergency; (9) was scheduled to commence employment and does not have a job or is unable to reach the job as a direct result of the COVID-19 public health emergency, and; (10) is unable to reach the place of employment because the individual has been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine due to concerns related to COVID-19. 

Individuals in Mississippi can apply online 24 hours a day at www.mdes.ms.gov or by calling toll-free 1-833-919-0334 from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Sunday. 

Governor Reeves also stated that as unemployment numbers in Mississippi continue to rise, MDES has hired an additional 200 employees to assist with the high volume of claims being processed. 

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