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Unemployment benefit extensions available in California

With many people running out of their regular unemployment benefits, California's Employment Development Department is highlighting extensions that may be available.

SACRAMENTO, Calif — As millions of people in California remain out of work because of the coronavirus pandemic, many are now running out of their regular state unemployment benefits.

The regular unemployment insurance (UI) benefits cover 26 weeks of unemployment. For people who lost their jobs in March and April, when the pandemic hit, those 26 weeks are running out.

The good news is that several extensions are available.

California's Employment Development Department (EDD) said it has "heard from thousands of claimants through our call centers, visiting our chat bot feature on the website, and on social media asking what extension benefits are available and how to receive them."

Now, EDD is offering some clarification to help people understand the extensions available to them and whether they need to file a new claim.

Here's what happens when you have reached the end of your regular state UI.

Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation

The Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) includes 13 weeks of benefits for people who have used all 26 weeks of their UI benefits.

For people who are still within their benefit year, EDD will automatically file a PEUC claim for them. EDD says it will send a text message to eligible people. You can also monitor your UI Online account for updates.

For people whose benefit year has expired (meaning the claim is more than 52 weeks old), EDD will notify them to file a new claim.

EDD will check to see if you have enough in intervening wages to establish a new claim. If you don't, expect to receive a $0 award notice in the mail for the new claim. You should then get another notice "a few days later" that shows EDD filed a PEUC extension on your prior claim.

PEUC benefits are currently set to expire at the end of the year.   

FED-ED Extension

After the 26 weeks of regular state UI, and 13 weeks of PEUC, there is another benefits program available called the Federal-State Extended Duration (FED-ED) extension.

FED-ED covers another 20 weeks of benefits for eligible people.

When claimants run out of heir PEUC extension, EDD will automatically file a FED-ED extension. People who meet the eligibility requirements will get a text message from EDD verifying the extension. They will also receive a notice in the mail with more information.

To qualify for the FED-ED extension you must:

  • Have a regular Unemployment Insurance (UI) claim that started on or after May 19, 2019.
  • Used all benefits on your UI claim and the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation extension, or your claim has expired.
  • Do not qualify for a new UI claim in California or any other state.
  • Meet UI eligibility requirements and are not disqualified.
  • Made enough earnings in the base period of your regular UI claim.

If you are not eligible for the FED-ED extension, EDD will mail a notice within a week explaining why and information on how to make an appeal. EDD will also open, or re-open, a Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) claim for you.

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The PUA program is a provision of the federal CARES Act. It helps unemployed people who are not usually eligible for regular UI benefits. It is set to expire on December 26, 2020.

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

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