A Detailed Guide To Unemployment Benefits In California
Californians who have lost their job or had their work hours reduced due to the direct result of the pandemic can collect Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits. According to the reports of California Employment Development Department (EDD), the authorities have processed about 6.7 claims and paid about $33.5 billion in unemployment benefits in California since the outbreak of the pandemic.
Unemployment Benefits In California And The CARES Act
Generally, the regular unemployment benefits in California last for 26 weeks, but Californians can receive payment for an additional 13 weeks under the CARES Act. The Act also provides benefits to the otherwise ineligible self-employed, gig workers, freelancers, or independent contractors.
Extended Unemployment Benefits In California
The Employment Development Department is looking to provide a separate extension of traditional unemployment benefits. The program would be the Federal-State Extended Duration benefits program and will be known as the FED-ED program. It would provide benefits for at least an additional 13 weeks.
Under this program, benefits will be provided to Californians who are struggling to go back to their job and have a prolonged duration of unemployment amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Who Qualifies For FED-ED Program?
To receive benefits under the FED-ED program, Californians should meet certain eligibility criteria. Some of them include:
- Should exhaust benefits received under the regular Unemployment Insurance program
- Must run out of benefits received under the Federal Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) program
- Should be capable, available, and actively seeking to take up any job
- Should submit work search documents
More details about this program are expected to be out in a couple of weeks.
Can You Collect Unemployment Benefits If You Return To Your Work?
As businesses begin to reopen, some employers may require their employees to return to work. If you return to full-time employment, you cannot collect unemployment benefits. But if the work hours are reduced, or you are furloughed again, you can apply for UI benefits.
To apply for benefits, you should certify the number of hours worked each week and report income in the week in which it was earned. All these details must be reported on a bi-weekly certification form. If approved, you can collect payment for up to 26 weeks.
Note that the amount earned will be deducted from unemployment benefits. For instance, if you earned $200 in a week. The EDD may not count $50 and may deduct $150 from your regular unemployment insurance. So if you are expected to receive a $430 payment for that week, after deductions, you may get $280.
The same rule applies to the self-employed, independent contractors, or gig workers. The only difference is that they have to apply for the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program and not regular unemployment benefits.
Filing For Unemployment Benefits In California
You can apply for unemployment benefits in California either online, by fax or mail, or the phone. To file online, visit the EDD website, log in to your account if you have one, and enter details asked for. If you don’t have an account, first register and then log in.
To file by fax or mail, access the paper unemployment application on the EDD website and mail it to the mailing address mentioned on the form. You can also call representatives at the toll-free number mentioned in the EDD website and file a claim.
What Happens After Filing An Unemployment Claim?
If you are a recent online applicant, you will receive a mail from the EDD confirming your registration. But if you haven’t filed unemployment for many years, you may not receive a mail, but a letter with an EDD Customer Account Number using which you can complete the set-up of the EDD unemployment claims account and file weekly claims.
Due to the surge in unemployment applications, the EDD may sometimes take time to process your application. Therefore, don’t panic if you haven’t received any mail from the EDD. Stay patient while the authorities process your form. For more details, you can always contact authorities at the EDD.
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