Affordable Housing Online is monitoring the federal government's response to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak. As of March 13, 2020, Public Housing Agencies across the nation are closing their doors to the public. Most offices are still running and will communicate by phone, email, or mail. Some offices have drop boxes installed outside, so documents can still be hand-delivered. Visit the housing authority's website for the latest on its current operations, if one is available. If there is no information online, contact the housing authority directly. Due to a high volume of calls and modified office hours in most areas, expect a long wait time (days or weeks) for a response. To find your local PHA's contact info, browse by state here.

An extensive list of coronavirus resources for low-income households can be found here.

Who qualifies for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance?


This Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program extends unemployment benefits to workers who are either:

  • Self-employed
    Examples of self-employed workers include:
    • Independent contractors; such as freelance writers and photographers
    • Gig economy workers; such as rideshare and delivery app workers
    • Clergy and those working for religious organizations who are not covered by regular unemployment compensation
    • Individuals who work on their own farm
  • Part-time
  • Have a limited recent work history

Benefits will be given to these workers who have become fully or partially unemployed, or unable or unavailable to work due to any of the following reasons:

  • The individual has to quit his or her job as a direct result of COVID-19; or
  • The individual’s place of employment is closed as a direct result of the COVID-19 public health emergency.
  • The individual has been diagnosed with COVID-19 or is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and is seeking a medical diagnosis;
  • A member of the individual’s household has been diagnosed with COVID-19;
  • The individual is providing care for a family member or a member of the individual’s household who has been diagnosed with COVID-19;
  • A child or other person in the household for which the individual has primary caregiving responsibility is unable to attend school or another facility that is 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;
  • The individual is unable to reach the place of employment because of a quarantine imposed as a direct result of the COVID-19 public health emergency;
  • The individual 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;
  • The individual 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;
  • The individual has become the breadwinner or major support for a household because the head of the household has died as a direct result of COVID-19.

For those who have already exhausted their regular Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits, another CARES Act program called Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) provides 13 additional weeks of unemployment payments to PUA eligible workers.

Workers do not qualify for PUA if they:

  • Have the ability to telework with pay for their customary work week
  • Are receiving paid sick leave or other paid leave benefits for their customary work week
  • Are eligible to receive benefits from the following programs:
    • Regular Unemployment Compensation (UC)
    • State UC
    • Unemployment Compensation for Federal Employees (UCFE)
    • Unemployment Compensation for Ex-servicemembers (UCX)
    • Trade Readjustment Allowances (TRA)
    • Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA)
    • Short-Time Compensation (STC) [part-time work]
  • Receive Extended Benefits (EB)
  • Receive Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC)

Where is the PUA program is available?

All states and territories, including Washington, D.C., have agreed to participate in the PUA program. However, either the DOL or a state may give thirty days written notice to terminate the PUA Agreement.

The DOL says it has the right to terminate an agreement with a state or territory if that area, “does not have an adequate system for administering such assistance.” If an agreement is terminated, payments will still be made for weeks of unemployment that were on or before the termination date.

So, it is possible that some areas may not offer the program at some point in the future.

For more information on Pandemic Unemployment Assistance:

More FAQs from Low Income Households

  • Do I have to do anything if I’m on a rental subsidy program and become unemployed or lose hours from coronavirus?
  • Are housing authorities still open during the coronavirus outbreak?
  • Can I be evicted if I can't pay rent because of coronavirus?
  • What is the government stimulus payment?
  • Who qualifies for the government stimulus payment?