SACRAMENTO, Calif — Millions of people in California could soon their unemployment benefits restored as the Employment Development Department said it is ready to start offering extended benefits approved late last year.
The benefit extensions will offer 11 additional weeks of Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC).
EDD said it is implementing the next phase of the benefits this weekend.
EDD said it will let people know by email, text, or mailed notices when they can certify for PUA or PEUC benefits. People who qualify for PUA or PEUC will be able to continue or open new claims starting on Monday. EDD said this process will stretch over a two week period, meaning not everyone will be able to certify right away.
EDD said if you previously received these benefits, they will automatically recalculate your claim and notify you when you can certify for your next benefit payment.
People who qualify for the benefit extensions will also receive the new extra $300 Federal Additional Compensation (PAC) payments with their weekly benefits.
The extension covers benefits for weeks of unemployment starting Dec. 27, 2020, (covering the week that the bill was signed by the President) through the week ending March 13. So, people will be paid for retroactive weeks when they were unable to certify.
According to EDD, a second phase of the expansion will "include those who exhausted their claims for these benefits prior to the end of the federal CARES Act but now could become eligible for the new additional 11 weeks of benefits starting with the week of December 27."
The PUA program also includes some new provisions meant to help business owners, self-employed, independent contractors, and others who don't qualify for regular UI. Those provisions include:
- A new federal requirement that current PUA claimants and individuals applying for a new claim will need to submit proof of employment or self-employment. States are awaiting further guidance from the U.S. Department of Labor on how to implement this provision.
- The EDD is also awaiting guidance on how to implement a provision for waiving certain PUA overpayments for those claimants who incorrectly received benefits through no fault of their own and where repayment would be against “equity and good conscience.”
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Here is guidance from EDD about who qualifies for PUA & PEUC:
You may qualify for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) if you are not eligible for regular Unemployment Insurance (UI) and you are unemployed or partially unemployed for a COVID-19 reason permissible under federal law. This includes:
- Business owners.
- Self-employed workers.
- Independent contractors.
- People with a limited work history.
- People who have used all their regular UI benefits as well as any extended benefits.
- People who are serving false statement penalty weeks on their regular UI claim.
There are up to 57 weeks of benefits available to eligible workers. If you have an existing PUA claim, we will automatically recalculate your claim to add the additional 11 weeks of benefits. We will notify you through UI Online, mail, or text message when you can certify for your next benefit payment.
Usually, you can only collect up to 26 weeks of regular Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits within a benefit year. A benefit year is the 12-month period from the start of your claim. Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) provides up to 24 additional weeks of payments if you’ve used all of your available UI benefits.
- The first 13 weeks are available from March 29, 2020, until December 26, 2020.
- The additional 11 weeks are available beginning December 27, 2020.
To qualify for a PEUC extension, your regular UI claim must have started on July 8, 2018, or after. Depending on when you filed your unemployment claim and if it has expired, you may need to reapply for unemployment.
Within Your Benefit Year
- If you run out of benefits within the benefit year, we will automatically file the first 13 weeks of the PEUC extension on your regular unemployment claim.
- If you collected the first 13 weeks, we will automatically filethe remaining 11 weeks of the PEUC extension.
- If you are currently receiving a FED-ED extension, you will continue to collect it until it is exhausted. We will automatically file the remaining 11 weeks of the PEUC extension after you use all FED-ED benefits.
- If we started a PUA claim for you after you collected all PEUC benefits, we will automatically file the remaining 11 weeks of the PEUC extension.
- We will notify you through UI Online, mail, or text message when you can certify for your next benefit payment.
After Your Benefit Year
- If your benefit year has expired, you must file another unemployment claim. We will send you a notice telling you to file a new claim if you are still unemployed. UI Online is still the fastest way to apply. If you have enough wages to qualify for regular unemployment, we will process your claim.
- If you don't qualify for a new claim after the benefit year expires, two things will happen.
- First, you will receive a $0 award notice in the mail saying there are not enough wages for a new claim.
- A few days later, you will receive another notice showing that we automatically filed a PEUC extension on your other unemployment claim. You will also receive a text message about the extension.
Continue to monitor your UI Online account for updates and to certify for benefit payments.
If you have a question about EDD you can reach out to our Dollars and Sense team at 916-321-3310.