HUD’s Office of Community Planning and Development (CPD) issued Notice: CPD-21-03 providing guidance regarding whether to treat as income various forms of unemployment assistance provided during the coronavirus pandemic. The guidance is directed at jurisdictions (grantees) administering the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) and the Community Development Block Grant-Coronavirus (CDBG-CV) programs.
The notice describes the various forms of unemployment insurance benefits provided by the CARES Act, an August 8 Presidential Memorandum (PM), and the 2021 Appropriations Act. CPD’s treatment follows that of two other program offices at HUD, the Office of Public and Indian Housing (PIH) that administers the Public Housing and Housing Choice Voucher programs, and the Office of Multifamily Housing Programs that administers the Section 8 Project-Based Rental Assistance program.
CDBG grantees should not include as income two forms of unemployment assistance:
- Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC), which provided individuals who were collecting regular unemployment compensation (UI), to receive an additional $600 in federal benefits per week for weeks of unemployment that ended on or before July 31, 2020 (18 weeks).
- Presidential Memorandum (PM) Unemployment Income. PM benefits were temporary income resulting from a presidentially declared emergency according to the Stafford Act. It authorized the Secretary of Labor to approve a Lost Wages Assistance program allowing a state to provide $400 per week to eligible recipients: a $300 federal contribution plus a $100 state contribution.
Notice: CPD-21-03 also states that Economic Impact Payments (EIP) are not to be considered income because the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) determined that those payments functioned as federally refundable tax credits.
CDBG grantees should treat two forms of unemployment assistance as income:
- Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), which was for individuals who were self-employed, seeking part-time employment, or otherwise not qualified for regular unemployment insurance (UI). This program provided up to 39 weeks of benefits and was available starting with weeks of unemployment beginning on or after January 27, 2020 and ending on or before December 31, 2020. PUA funds were administered according to the same regulations that apply to the Disaster Unemployment Assistance program, which is funded under the “Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act.”
- Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC), which allowed regular unemployment compensation (UI) recipients to receive up to 13 weeks of additional benefits (extending UI from 26 weeks to 39 weeks in total). States had to offer flexibility in meeting PEUC eligibility requirements related to “actively seeking work” if an applicant’s ability to do so was impacted by coronavirus.
Notice: CPD-21-03 is at: https://bit.ly/3sFXSPJ
More information about CDBG is on page 8-3 of NLIHC’s 2020 Advocates’ Guide.