All About FED-ED Extended Unemployment Benefits In California
Updated : August 31st, 2020
California is one of the states that are the worst affected by the Coronavirus-induced economic shutdown. Though the businesses have reopened, the golden state is still receiving a huge number of unemployment claims. As per the Department Of Labor (DOL) reports, about 228,500 people filed initial unemployment benefits in California during the week that ended on August 1.
Normally, in California, the unemployed can receive Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits for a maximum of 26 weeks. However, since millions of Californians rely solely on UI benefits to meet their needs during the crisis, the state has extended them.
In this article, let us look at the extended benefits in California and who qualifies for it.
More About FED-ED Extended Unemployment Benefits In California
As stated earlier, California’s unemployment benefits last for 26 weeks, after which the unemployed people cannot receive benefits from the state. However, due to the crisis, the Employment Development Department (EDD) announced the rollout of the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) program under the CARES Act.
This financial aid program provides Unemployment Insurance benefits to qualified people for an additional 13 weeks. The extended unemployment benefits are part of the Federal-State Extended Duration benefits program, which the Employment Development Department regards as FED-ED.
The Federal-State Extended Duration benefits program becomes available during prolonged periods of unemployment or when the unemployment rate is high. The program is typically 50% funded by federal funds and 50% by the states’ UI Trust Fund, including taxes paid by employers on their workers’ wages.
Recently, Governor Gavin Newsom signed AB 103, a part of the state’s budget package. Under AB 103, the state can maximize federal support during times of high unemployment.
The support includes the provision of 7 extra weeks of regular UI to the PEUC extended unemployment benefits and 7 extra weeks to the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program. This means the unemployed Californians can receive 20 weeks of extended unemployment benefits and 7 additional weeks of benefits under the PUA program.
The additional weeks under FED-ED are completely funded by the federal government. This saves an estimated $7 billion of the state’s UI Trust Fund and provides tax relief to employers.
Eligibility Criteria For FED-ED Extended Unemployment Benefits In California
The Employment Development Department has a set of eligibility criteria that one should meet to qualify for the extended unemployment benefits. Some of them include:
- The individual must have a regular unemployment claim that began on or after May 19, 2019
- The individual must have exhausted benefits received under the regular unemployment benefits and PEUC
- The individual’s claim must be expired
- The individual is not eligible for any unemployment benefits in any other state
- The individual has earned more than 1.5 times his or her highest quarter earnings or 40 times more than the weekly benefit amount in his or her base period
How To File For A FED-ED Program?
If one is currently receiving benefits under the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation, he or she need not apply for the FED-ED program. Instead, the Department will automatically check if the individual qualifies and enroll him or her in the program.
The steps involved in the process are:
Step 1 – The Department will identify those receiving benefits under the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation program. It will automatically file for FED-ED extension, provided the individual has collected all PEUC benefits, or the PEUC program ends, December 31, 2020, and the FED-ED benefits are still available.
Step 2 – After filing for an extension, the Department will mail a Letter of Determination for FED-ED Extension within 5-7 days. The letter will include the eligibility requirements, the effective date of the extension, and potential benefit amounts.
Step 3 – The individual will then have to complete the bi-weekly certifications that determine eligibility for ongoing benefits.
What Amount of Benefits Can One Receive Under The FED-ED Program?
Benefits received under the FED-ED extension will be the same as the weekly benefit amount one receives under the regular UI claim. And the maximum benefit amount will depend on the individual’s last regular UI claim. However, the maximum benefit payment will be the lesser of either:
- 13 times the weekly benefit payment
- 50% of the maximum benefit amount of the regular UI claim.
For instance, consider that an individual has received $400 a weekly benefit amount and $800 a maximum benefit amount as the last regular UI claim and has exhausted the maximum benefit amount. Then the FED-ED benefit amount will be calculated as follows:
- Calculation 1- 13 X $400 = $5,200
- Calculation 2 – 50% of $8,800 = $4,400
Here, the individual will receive $4,400 because the result of calculation 1 is greater than 2.
Note – The Department will pay the benefits in the same method used to pay the regular UI claim.
What To Do If One Doesn’t Qualify For FED-ED?
The Department will review the claim and send a Determination Letter for Federal-State Extended Duration Benefits within 5-7 days. The letter includes the reason for not qualifying for FED-ED. It also includes details on how to apply for an unemployment appeal if he or she does not agree with the state’s decision.
EDD may also reopen a PUA claim if the individual had a PUA claim in the past. And for those who don’t have a PUA claim, the Department will proactively open a claim.
After opening or reopening a claim, EDD will send an Immediate Action Required – Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Self-Certification notice. The individual should attest that he or she meets PUA eligibility requirements like,
- The individual is fully unemployed, partially unemployed
- The individual is unable or unavailable to take up a job due to any of the federally recognized Coronavirus reasons
Note – The notice must be completed and returned within 10 days, failing to which the PUA benefits may be delayed or denied.
The FED-ED extension is indeed a great step taken by the Employment Development Department to help unemployed Californians. The program is expected to help millions of unemployed to meet their basic needs during the crisis.
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