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EDD clarifies plans to pay out $300 unemployment assistance; seeks 6th week of LWA payments

California's Employment Development Department has addressed questions about why some people have only received partial LWA payments.

SACRAMENTO, Calif — As California's Employment Development Department (EDD) started processing the Lost Wages Assistance (LWA) payments this week, some were surprised to see they only received partial payments. Now EDD is sharing more information about when people can expect to get the money.

The LWA payments mean qualified people can get an additional $300 per week in addition to their regular unemployment benefits.

Right now, California has been approved for five weeks of LWA payments or up to $1,500 total. The EDD also said it is now seeking a sixth week of payments.

Lump sum confusion

EDD is currently in the process of paying out the initial three weeks of LWA payments, or $900.

We heard from many viewers who questioned why they only had $300 deposited in their accounts, instead of the $900 they expected.

Confusion comes from an EDD update last week where they stated, "for those with an EDD Debit Card, any LWA payments they are eligible for will arrive in one lump sum." It turns out EDD is making the payments based on how you certified for the eligible weeks.

Here is the latest update from EDD about how they are making the LWA payments for the first qualified three weeks.

Phase One

  • Claimants who submitted their certification for all three of those weeks at the same time will receive one lump sum of $900 ($300/week x 3 weeks).
  • Claimants who did not submit their certification for all three of those weeks at the same time, the payments will be split in two due to normal bi-weekly payment cycles based on when you provided your certifications for the three weeks of benefits.
    • Those with the weeks ending August 1st and 8th in the same two-week cycle will receive a $600 payment first followed a few days later by the remaining $300 for August 15th.
    • Those with the week ending date of August 1st on the second half of their two-week cycle will receive $300 first and the other $600 should arrive a few days later for the weeks ending August 8th and 15th. 
  • Claimants that were not paid for one or two weeks of the initial three week period due to excessive earnings, fully employed, or disqualified will only receive LWA payments for weeks paid.

EDD said the first phase of payments is set to be completed in the "next couple of weeks."

Phase Two

People in phase two, who still need to verify that their unemployment is related to the coronavirus pandemic, will need to wait until September 15. Starting on that date, EDD will start accepting self-attestations from people who otherwise qualify for the LWA payments. 

EDD said it will also send notifications to people in phase two by email, text message, or mail. 

For people in the second phase, EDD recommends they log onto their UI Online account and complete the one-time self-attestation. Self-attestation by paper is also available.

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Additional LWA weeks

California has been approved for five weeks of LWA payments, but phase one and two only cover the first three weeks, or $900.

EDD says it will start distributing the two additional weeks of payments once it finishes payments in phase one and two. EDD did not give a targeted date to start making payments for weeks four and five, but have said they expect it to take a "couple of weeks" to finish the first round pf payments.

EDD also is seeking a sixth week of benefits, and says, if approved, they would provide more details later.

Eligibility information

EDD has clarified some information about eligibility, specifically as it pertains to the $100 benefit requirement to receive the LWA payments.

EDD now states, “in order to qualify for LWA payments, claimants must meet these federal requirements:

  • Have a minimum weekly benefit award of $100 or more on their initial claim and received a payment on that claim between July 26 and August 15. This means an individual may have received less than $100 a week in benefits during that time due to reporting some work income, but would still qualify for the extra LWA payment.
  • Have self-attested to EDD that they are unemployed or partially unemployed due to disruptions caused by COVID-19.”

EDD adds, "you are not eligible for LWA payments if you are receiving Disaster Unemployment Assistance, State Special School Benefits, or a Training Extension." 

If you do not receive the benefit and believe you are entitled to it, you can file an unemployment insurance appeal with EDD. You can find more information about the appeal process here.

If you have more questions about unemployment in California, text 'EDD' to 916-321-3310 to reach our Dollars and Sense team.

WATCH MORE: Top mistakes people make when filing for unemployment benefits with EDD in California