Distance Learning Extended
On Thursday, it was announced that distance learning for our K-12 schools will continue until the end of the school year. On Friday, Governor Walz, Lt. Governor Flannagan, and Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) Commissioner Ricker announced increased efforts to reach students during the extension of distance learning. Those efforts include increased direction from MDE on meeting the needs of students and their families around technology, mental health, and other services. Additional direction on how to make distance learning successful for students with special needs will also be forthcoming.
Unemployment Insurance Available for Self-Employed Workers
Yesterday, the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) began making Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) payments for self-employed, contract, and other workers who were not previously eligible for regular unemployment benefits.
Here’s what Minnesotans need to know about applying for PUA:
- If you have already applied for regular unemployment benefits, you do not need to do anything extra to qualify for PUA. DEED will automatically establish a PUA benefit account for you if you are eligible.
- If you have not applied for unemployment benefits yet, special instructions for self-employed and 1099 workers are available here. These instructions include steps you can take to make your account easily identifiable as potentially eligible for PUA.
- If you applied for unemployment benefits without following those instructions, don’t worry – you don’t need to change anything. Your account will still be reviewed for PUA eligibility.
- If you have not heard from DEED yet, don’t worry. They expect to be in touch with most people who are eligible for benefits under PUA by the end of April. There is no need to call or follow-up; you will hear from them proactively if they need additional information to determine eligibility.
- You will receive information about PUA benefits in your online account, by email, and by mail.
- Applicants who receive PUA benefits will also receive the $600/week additional payment.
- PUA benefits will be backdated to whenever you first became eligible due to COVID-19.
Additional information, including answers to many commonly asked questions, can be found here: COVID-19 information for self-employed people and independent contractors
Save the Date!
Please save the date for our upcoming virtual town hall meeting on April 29 at 6:00 p.m. I’ll be joined by our City Councilmember Jane Prince, Metropolitan Councilmember Chai Lee, and Ramsey County Commissioner Jim McDonough. It will be broadcast live via fb.me/repjayxiong. If you have questions for the event, you can submit them ahead of time to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Keep in Touch
Even if you can’t join us next week, please always feel free to contact me anytime with ideas, input, and questions. Being your state representative is a great honor and privilege, and I appreciate the opportunity to help when it’s needed.
Have a good weekend.