|CHEYENNE – The Department of Workforce Services (DWS) has begun issuing Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation to those individuals who are receiving unemployment benefits. This additional $600 per week is being added to unemployment benefits automatically, and qualifying claimants will receive these payments by the middle of next week.Congress passed the CARES Act at the end of March, and DWS has been working diligently to create a system to administer the funds to Wyoming workers who have lost their jobs due to COVID-19.”The Wyoming Department of Workforce Services is working tirelessly around the clock to provide these additional financial resources to our Wyoming neighbors,” said DWS Workforce Programs Administrator Holly McKamey Simoni. “The $600 per week addition will be applied to unemployment benefits automatically. Those who are receiving unemployment benefits already do not have to do anything to get these funds.”Additional $600 per weekAs part of the CARES Act, unemployment benefits are being expanded to provide an additional $600 per week. These benefits are retroactive to the week of March 29 through April 4, 2020, and extend through July 25, 2020. This temporary emergency increase in benefits is referred to as the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) program.Those who were receiving UI benefits before these payments began will receive the previous weeks’ benefits in their first payment. These payments will appear in bank accounts or on US Bank-issued debit cards by the middle of next week.Claimants are advised not to call about these funds, as they are being automatically applied. The amount being deposited will be reflected in claimants’ WYUI accounts at wyui.wyo.gov.Claimants who currently have federal withholding tax taken out of their benefits will see the same 10% reduction in the FPUC payment, resulting in a $540 payment. Child support also will be deducted from the FPUC payment, when applicable.The $600 is paid automatically. Claimants do not need to apply for it.Other CARES Act benefits coming soon include:Self-employed, contractors or gig economy workersThe CARES Act also temporarily makes unemployment compensation available to self-employed, independent contractors, gig economy workers, and others not normally eligible for the benefit. The program is referred to as Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA). These workers cannot apply through the department’s UC online system at this time. The U.S. Department of Labor requires that PUA be tracked separately from regular UC. For this reason, Wyoming is building a new online platform to process PUA benefits.DWS fully expects that eligible individuals should be able to start applying for PUA benefits by the end of the week of April 27. Eligible claimants will receive backdated payments to January 27, 2020, or the first week they were unable to work due to COVID-19, whichever of the two dates is later. The PUA benefit will end December 31, 2020. DWS will announce when the PUA benefit application is available, and applicants will be able to apply for those benefits at that time online at wyui.wyo.gov.Visit the DWS COVID-19 Resources page at wyomingworkforce.org/covid19-resources for more information. 13-Week Benefit Extension The CARES Act provides an additional 13 weeks of unemployment compensation, including for workers who exhaust their regular unemployment benefits. Claimants will be eligible for Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) from the week beginning March 29, 2020, through the end of the year. DWS is awaiting additional federal guidance about the program and will provide an update when information is available.