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End of benefit year: What you need to do for unemployment in California

As a growing number of people on unemployment reach the end of their benefit year in California, the EDD has new information about what you need to do.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — As we pass the one-year mark of stay-at-home orders in California related to the coronavirus pandemic, a growing number of people who are getting money from unemployment benefits are reaching the end of their benefit year with the Employment Development Department (EDD).

We had one viewer text our Dollars and Sense team to ask, "Do you have any information on EDD denying new claims after the first 12-month claim expired? I received a notice saying my claim was denied because I didn't work the last 12 months. No one worked the last 12 months because of COVID, that's why the extensions are in place, but EDD is denying it? EDD is infuriating!"

While the denial of a claim sounds like bad news, it is actually a move that EDD is required to take, and as Daniela Urban, Executive Director with the Center for Workers' Rights explains, it likely means you will be able to continue receiving your federal benefits.

"They will reapply, EDD will determine that they do not have enough earnings that would qualify them for a new benefits year, and they'll be put right back on the extensions," Urban said. "So basically, the re-application system is just EDD checking to make sure they don't qualify for a new benefits year, and then continuing with the extensions."

It can be a bit complicated, but how the end of the benefit year affects you, and what you need to do, depends on what type of benefits you receive.

What is the End of Benefit Year?

The EDD defines your benefit year as the 12 month period after you filed your claim for benefits. 

Once your benefit year ends, you are required to apply for a new claim if you are currently on:

  • Regular UI
  • Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) extension
  • Federal-State Extended Duration (FED-ED) extension

People on PUA do not need to apply for a new claim (more information on that below).

Once you file for a new claim, the EDD will let you know if you qualify. You will receive an email and text message from the EDD when your new claim is processed. Right now, the EDD says this process is taking two to three weeks.

If you do not qualify for a new claim, the EDD will send you a denial letter. You will then be able to continue with a federal benefits extension that you qualify for.

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Regular Unemployment

People who are on regular UI claims are required to apply for a new claim at the end of their benefit year.

  • If you file for a new unemployment claim and qualify, EDD will move you to that new claim. As many people lost income in the past year, there is a chance you could qualify at a lower rate, but there is some protection.

"If their weekly benefit amount is going to decrease more than $25, then they'll be allowed to remain on their prior benefits year and continue to get the extensions, instead of being moved to what would have been their weekly benefit amount on the new claim," Urban said.

  • If you do not qualify for a new claim, EDD will determine if you are eligible for a PEUC extension.

PEUC

People who are on a Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) extension are required to apply for a new claim at the end of their benefit year.

  • If you qualify for a new unemployment claim, and the weekly benefit amount doesn't change, EDD will move you to the new claim.
  • If you qualify for a new unemployment claim, but your weekly benefit amount is less than what you were earning on PEUC, you will be able to finish collecting the rest of your current PEUC extension. Once you reach the end of that extension, EDD will switch you to the new unemployment claim.
  • If you don't qualify for a new unemployment claim, you will continue on your current PEUC claim, and EDD will then add the additional 29 weeks of PEUC benefits that were approved as part of the American Rescue Plan Act.

FED-ED

People who are on a Federal-State Extended Duration (FED-ED) extension are required to apply for a new claim at the end of their benefit year.

  • If you qualify for a new unemployment claim, EDD will move you to the new claim or back to your PEUC extension.
  • If you don't qualify for a new unemployment claim, you will be able to collect the rest of your FED-ED benefits. Once you exhaust those benefits, EDD will move you to a PEUC extension with the additional 29 weeks of benefits that were approved as part of the American Rescue Plan Act.

PUA

People who are on a Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) claim are not required to apply for a new claim at the end of their benefit year. Instead, EDD will check if you qualify for a new unemployment claim based on wages you earned over the last 18 months.

  • If you qualify for a new unemployment claim, EDD will move you to the new claim.
  • If you don't qualify for a new unemployment claim, you will remain on your PUA claim.

WATCH MORE: EDD end of claim year FAQ + new federal unemployment extension & boost