NAR's Federal Advocacy team has been working closely with Congress and the Administration to ensure the interests of REALTORS®, their families, consumers, and the entire real estate industry are protected in any federal action in response to COVID-19.
On December 21, Congress passed a COVID-relief package, which also included an Omnibus spending bill for FY21, and some tax extenders. Below is a summary of the major provisions of that bill impacting REALTORS®:
- Extends the maximum number of weeks individuals may receive unemployment benefits, from 39 weeks to 50 weeks.
- Extends all unemployment assistance, including the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program and the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation from December 26, 2020- March 14, 2021.
- Limits payment of retroactive PUA benefits to weeks of unemployment after December 1, 2020, and PUA requests end on March 14, 2021.
- Eligible individuals may receive PUA benefits until April 5, 2021 as long as the individual has not reached his or her maximum number of weeks of unemployment.
- Extends Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) at $300 per week for 10 weeks. This provides supplemental unemployment benefits for individuals receiving PUA or regular unemployment compensation for weeks after December 26, 2020 until March 14, 2021.
- Extends Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) for a maximum of 24 weeks for eligible individuals.
- Phases out the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program and ends the program on April 5, 2021.
- Extends interest-free loans to states to keep their unemployment insurance trust funds running.
- Reimburses states at 50 percent for the first week of compensable regular unemployment benefits for states with no waiting period.
- Provides individuals seeking unemployment benefits with the right to appeal any state determination or redetermination regarding rights to PUA.
- Provides a repayment waiver for individuals who received Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), but who were not entitled to receive PUA, if the PUA payment was the fault of the individual and repayment would be "contrary to equity or good conscience." State labor agencies must make all individual determinations regarding one's repayment or waiver status.
- Requires individuals to continue to re-certify weekly with the state that the individual's loss of income is due to a Covid-related reason or issue and the individual is unemployed for a such week.
- Adds additional program measures requiring individuals seeking unemployment to provide documentation of earnings and employment to state agencies as a mechanism for states to verify the identity of individuals seeking unemployment benefits.
- Imposes "return to work" reporting requirements for states to provide a way for employers to report when someone turns down a job and to notify claimants of the requirement to accept suitable work, unless there is a good cause for refusal.
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