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Press Release: Department of Labor announces implementation of Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Program for Vermonters

April 22, 2020

Montpelier – The Vermont Department of Labor announces that Vermonters who were not previously eligible for unemployment insurance benefits may now apply online for the new Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program. PUA eligible Vermonters include self-employed workers, independent contractors, and other individuals who are not eligible for traditional unemployment insurance.

The Department of Labor and Agency of Digital Services have collaborated in the creation of the new PUA system making Vermont one of just a few states to stand up a complete PUA program.

“We are pleased to provide this brand-new system for those who have not been able to receive traditional unemployment,” said Interim Commissioner Michael Harrington. “We know many Vermonters are still struggling, so getting this system up and running for this population is a big step forward in getting benefits into the hands of those impacted by this public health crisis.”

If approved for PUA, claimants must continue to file weekly claims for each week they are unemployed and wish to receive benefits. Failure to do so will result in delayed payment. Eligible PUA claimants will be able to file and receive past benefits, dating back to the week of March 15, 2020.

Weekly benefit amounts will be determined by 2019 earnings. Individuals that are eligible for PUA are also eligible for the additional $600 weekly benefit through the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation Program, which provides the additional benefit through July 25, 2020.

Claimants can easily choose their preferred payment method (direct deposit or check), choose to have taxes withheld, or make other profile changes by using the online PUA Dashboard.

More information on the PUA application process and eligibility can be found at For additional information and updates on the Vermont Department of Labor, please visit