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EDD confirms $300 unemployment boost to start Monday, shares new eligibility information for California

Millions of unemployed people in California will get some financial help starting September 7, but EDD still says the benefit will be short-lived.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — More than 3-million unemployed people in California should see a big benefit boost starting on Monday.

California's Employment Development Department (EDD) confirmed it will start processing Lost Wages Assistance (LWA) payments beginning September 7.

Eligible people will receive an extra $300 per week in unemployment benefits, on top of what they already receive in weekly benefits.

EDD said the benefits are limited, and right now they are only guaranteed for three weeks, or up to $900 total. The benefits are also retroactive to claims beginning July 26, meaning most people will have already exhausted the benefit by the time EDD starts issuing payments.

On Thursday, EDD shared more information about how the money will be paid out and who is eligible.

When and how will the LWA payments arrive?

EDD will start issuing the LWA payments in two phases starting on September 7. People in phase one include people who have already informed EDD that they are unemployed due to pandemic disruptions.

Phase one includes about 3.1 million people. EDD said it will take a “couple of weeks” to get all of the payments out.

For people with an EDD debit card, the LWA payments will arrive in one lump sum payment. So, if you are eligible for the full three weeks of LWA benefits, you will get one $900 payment.

People who receive their benefits via check in the mail will get LWA payments in separate checks.

People in phase two should expect to hear from EDD beginning on September 15. Phase two includes about 1.2 million claimants who have not yet certified that their unemployment is related to the pandemic.

EDD said it will 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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New 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.”

Why thousands of people don’t qualify for the LWA payments

The $100 benefit minimum means thousands of people in California, including some of the lowest income earners, along with some mixed-income workers (those who earn a combination of traditional and self-employment income), will not receive the additional $300 per week.

A recent analysis from California Policy Lab estimates 192,000 people receiving unemployment benefits in California will not qualify for the $300 boost. The $100 minimum eligibility requirement is part of President Trump’s executive order and California must distribute the funds according to FEMA rules.

The EDD calculates how much a person receives in unemployment insurance benefits based on the base period of their claim. According to an EDD table, a person would need to have earned at least $2,574.01 in a qualifying quarter to receive at least $100 in unemployment benefits from the state.

Many mixed-income workers are getting payments below $100 per week because of a rule that requires EDD to consider W-2 wages before 1099 earnings.

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.

WATCH MORE: California man shares how he solved his EDD unemployment benefits problem