SAN DIEGO COUNTY, Calif. — Pandemic unemployment benefits are expiring this weekend for more than two million Californians. The federal money that paid for extra benefits is ending. Still, other state programs are still available to help unemployed workers.
The benefits expire on September 4, including $300 in weekly payments under Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation.
Unemployment money for gig workers, and self-employed workers is also expiring, as well as extended weeks of unemployment benefits under Pandemic Extended Unemployment Compensation.
“All programs, federally funded, are coming to an end whether you have a job or not,” said an unemployed worker from El Cajon, who asked to remain anonymous.
She lost her job in 2020 due to the pandemic.
“I am already using my savings to offset my living bills. And as of September 4, I have zero income,” she said.
Many Californians will lose their benefits because they already have exhausted their 26 weeks of state unemployment benefits.
Politicians were hopeful the federal government would extend the benefits, but it did not happen.
“Now is not a great time to take resources away from folks who are really struggling,” said State Assemblyman David Chiu of San Francisco.
Unemployed workers can still apply for CalFresh, better known as food stamps. They also may also qualify for $1 per month health insurance through Covered California. And, billions of dollars in state rental assistance is still available.
“It's important that struggling tenants and landlords know that they need to apply for state and local funding for rent relief as soon as possible. This money is available today,” said Chiu.
Those programs can help but for the El Cajon resident, there's only one solution.
“I'm not making excuses. I would love to find a good job,” she said.
While federal money is ending this weekend, unemployed workers can still be eligible for back benefits that have not been collected.
Gig workers and the self-employed have until October 6, 2021, to apply with the state agency, EDD, for back benefits under the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program.
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