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How to apply for disability, unemployment, or family leave during the coronavirus pandemic

The California Employment Development Department waived the one week waiting period for people unemployed or disabled due to COVID-19.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. —

Californians who may be missing work because of the coronavirus (COVID-19) can now apply for benefits through the state's Employment Development Department (EDD).

EDD is providing workers and caregivers with various options to collect payment while they're not working.

There are three options for workers affected by COVID-19. 

Sick or quarantined Californians who are unable to work due to having or being exposed to the virus can file a Disability Insurance (DI) claim online. Benefit amounts are approximately 60-70 percent of wages (depending on income) and range from $50-$1,300 a week, according to EDD’s website. EDD will issue payments within a few weeks of receiving a claim.

RELATED: Filing for unemployment in California | 5 things to know

If you're unable to work because you're taking care of a sick or quarantined relative with COVID-19, you can file a Paid Family Leave (PFL) claim, according to EDD. PFL beneficiaries may receive up to six weeks of payments. Benefit amounts are approximately 60-70 percent of wages (depending on income) and range from $50-$1,300 a week, according to EDD’s website. EDD will issue payments within a few weeks of receiving a claim.

Parents who are missing work to take care of their child while schools are closed, may be eligible for Unemployment Insurance

“Eligibility considerations include if you have no other care options and if you are unable to continue working your normal hours remotely,” the EDD website says.

An EDD representative will decide if you are eligible.

Californians whose hours have been reduced by their employer or who have lost their job due to their employer shutting down operations, can file an Unemployment Insurance (UI) claim. Payments can range from $40 to $450 per week. 

“Workers who are temporarily unemployed due to COVID-19 and expected to return to work with their employer within a few weeks are not required to actively seek work each week,” the EDD website says.

But beneficiaries must remain available and ready to work during their unemployment for each week of benefits claimed, according to EDD.

The EDD also has options for self-employed Californians. To be eligible, either you or an employer had to make contributions in the past five to 18 months, according to EDD.

“It is possible these contributions were made at a prior job, or if you were misclassified as an independent contractor instead of an employee,” the EDD website says.

In a tweet Thursday, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced the state is waiving the one week waiting period for those "unemployed or disabled as a result of COVID-19.

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CORONAVIRUS BACKGROUND: 

According to the CDC, coronavirus (COVID-19) is a family of viruses that is spreadable from person to person. Coronavirus is believed to have been first detected in a seafood market in Wuhan, China in December 2019. If someone is sick with coronavirus, the symptoms they may show include mild to severe respiratory illness, cough, and difficulty breathing.
Currently, there is no vaccine, however, the CDC suggests the following precautions, along with any other respiratory illness:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water for a minimum of 20 seconds. 

The CDC also says facemasks should only be used by people who show symptoms of the virus. If you’re not sick, you do not have to wear a facemask. The CDC says the immediate risk to the U.S. public is low.

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