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Unemployment Benefits In California During The Pandemic

Updated : May 7th, 2020

Due to the outbreak of the Coronavirus pandemic, millions of Californians are losing their jobs. To cope up with the situation, the Employment Development Department (EDD) is providing unemployment benefits in California. The benefits are not only available to the unemployed, but also to people who are quarantined or are caring for the sick. 

Unemployment Benefits In California 

In general, the unemployed Californians who meet the eligibility criteria receive unemployment benefits for up to 26 weeks. But due to the unprecedented circumstances, the federal policymakers have expanded benefits and eligibility through various financial relief measures.

1) The Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) program provides a 13-week extension of benefits. That is, the claimant can get benefits for 39 weeks.

2) The Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) program provides an additional $600 on the top of regular unemployment insurance benefits to the claimants.

3) The Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) offers benefits to self-employed, gig workers, etc.

Who Are Eligible For Unemployment Benefits During The Pandemic?

PEUC, PUA, and FPUC have their own set of eligibility criteria. But be it PUA or PEUC, there are some common requirements that you must meet to qualify for benefits. They include:

  • You must be fully or partially unemployed
  • You have lost employment through no fault of your own
  • You are able to work, actively seeking employment and available for work
  • You must report all your earning earned during the claiming week
  • You must submit records of your work searches 

Though it is mandatory to meet the criteria mentioned above to qualify for the benefits, the federal government is allowing the authorities at California the flexibility to amend the laws to provide UI benefits concerning the Coronavirus pandemic. For instance, the authorities at California can pay benefits if:

  • Your employer temporarily shuts down operations due to Coronavirus, preventing you from going to work.
  • You are quarantined and expected to return to work post quarantine 
  • You are not going to your work fearing the risk of exposure or infection
  • You are giving care to a family member diagnosed with the Coronavirus
  • You have quit your employment as a direct result of the Coronavirus
  • You have been scheduled to commence a job but are unable to reach the workplace due to the Coronavirus

Where to File for Unemployment Benefits in California?

Californians who have lost a job due to the pandemic can apply for the unemployment benefits through the state’s EDD. 

  1. Visit Benefits Program Online and register yourself, if you are applying for the benefits for the first time.
  2. Next, log in to the Benefits Program Online
  3. Go to UI online and select file a claim
  4. Read the instructions and provide necessary information
  5. Click submit

After submitting the claim, you will receive a confirmation number. Save it for future reference.

The EDD has provided various options to collect payment. For instance, 

  • Quarantined or sick Californians who are unable to work due to the pandemic can apply for disability insurance claim online
  • If you are giving care to a family member diagnosed with the pandemic, you can apply for paid family leave claim

How Long Does It Take To Receive Unemployment Benefits? 

Earlier, EDD used to take about 3 weeks to process claims. But with the surge in demand, the department is likely to take more time to provide the benefit. However, EDD is planning to keep claimants informed as the situation evolves and also encouraging them to check the EDD website for updates.

What Is The Department Doing To Speed Up Claims? 

Many claimants have complained about the delays in processing the benefits. To address these concerns, Gov. Gavin Newsom recently signed an executive order to expand the call center work hours. Earlier, the call center worked 4 hours per day from Monday to Friday, the new call center that now operates 7 days a week from 8 A.M. to 8 P.M. 

Due to the increase in the number of claims, your claim may be delayed. However, if you don’t hear back from the department for weeks, you can consider reapplying for the claim. 

 

 

 

 

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