COVID-19 EDD Information

UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE INFORMATION (Revised)

                                

The following provides current information about the efforts of the Employment Development Department (EDD) to implement the unemployment provisions of the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act.  Because developments are occurring so quickly, we encourage you to check for updates on the EDD Coronavirus 2020 webpage.

Here is the link. https://www.edd.ca.gov/about_edd/coronavirus-2019.htm

Another useful link from EDD that provides information for people who recently filed for benefits because they lost jobs or had their hours reduced due to the impacts of the Coronavirus. https://www.edd.ca.gov/about_edd/coronavirus-2019/unemployment-claims.htm

 

What changes did the CARES Act make to Unemployment Insurance?

The CARES Act made several significant changes to the traditional Unemployment Insurance program.  More specifically, it:

  1. Increased unemployment insurance by increasing benefits by $600 per week;
  2. Extended unemployment benefits by 13 weeks, and
  3. Expanded access by allowing part-time, self-employed and gig economy workers to access unemployment insurance benefits.

 These changes are discussed in detail below.

Additional $600 payments for workers

The EDD is providing the extra $600 per week benefit payment paid by the federal government to workers collecting regular UI benefits. This program is available from March 2 – July 25, 2020. The basic unemployment benefit provided by EDD, plus $600 per week, would replace a large percentage of wages for many California workers.

It always takes about three (3) weeks for most Californians to receive their first benefit payment if found eligible, with the exception primarily of wage and identity issues. However, after that first benefit payment, unemployed workers will have to answer basic certification questions every two weeks to receive bi-weekly payments as long as they remain eligible.

13-week extension of Unemployment Insurance benefits for those who exhaust their current benefits

The EDD is in the process of implementing a new 13-week federal extension of unemployment insurance benefits called the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) program.  This takes effect when an unemployed worker runs out of all of the benefits associated with their regular state-administered unemployment claim. In California, regular state benefit payments can last for up to 26 weeks within a one-year timeframe.

In order to make these benefits available as quickly as possible, EDD will be rolling out the extension in two phases starting on May 27.

Phase 1 will begin on May 27. EDD will begin automatically filing PEUC claims for those who exhausted all available benefits on their claim with a benefit year that started on or after June 2, 2019 and expects the first phase to be completed in early June. These individuals will receive a notice through the mail about 5-7 days after the filing of the PEUC extension. The notice will include instructions on how to certify for extension benefit payments if you remain unemployed.  Please look for updates in the Inbox of your UI online account.

Phase 2 will start in early July and EDD will begin mailing notices to those who ran out their regular UI benefits after July 2018 who are not part of the first group of those who exhausted their benefits in Phase 1.  More details will be released later.  However, EDD recommends that if you remain out of work apply for another unemployment insurance claim through UI Online if you have not done already done so. EDD will need to first check whether or not they would qualify for a new regular claim before an extension could be filed.

What is the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) Program?

The Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) is a brand new unemployment insurance program, which expands eligibility to receive such benefits to the self-employed and others impacted by the Coronavirus.

Who qualifies for the  PUA Program?

The Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Program is for those who do not qualify for regular unemployment benefits, including the self-employed, independent contractors, gig economy workers and those who were previously on UI, but exhausted their benefits.   It went into effect on April 28.

What will this program do?

This program makes those individuals eligible for UI, including the additional $600 per week and the 13- week extension of benefits when they run out of benefits associated with regular state-administered UI claims.  In California, regular state benefit payments can last for up to 26 weeks within a one-year timeframe.

Specific instructions on how to apply for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance are available on the EDD website. Californians should check for updates on EDD’s website that include instructions for workers who may have already applied for benefits and were not found eligible for the regular state-administered UI program.

Second Phase of Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Program

Starting on May 20, EDD will increase the weekly benefit amounts that started at the minimum level of $167 per week when the program began on April 28. Based upon the total income reported for calendar year 2019, payments could go up to a maximumof $450 per week.  More information will be available on the EDD soon.

EDD Call Centers

EDD operates two separate call centers to assist people with their unemployment insurance claims that for different reasons cannot be resolved online.

If the issue involves problems about filing claims, including questions about eligibility or benefits, individuals should call 1-800-300-5616.  This call center is open from 8 a.m. to 12 noon (Pacific Time), Monday through Friday, except on California state holidays.  Assistance is available in English and Spanish.

The other call center provides technical help to access the EDD website such as password resets.  They can also provide answers to questions about how to file a claim online and general information about unemployment insurance. These EDD representatives will not have access to your claim or payment information. The hours of this call center are 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. (Pacific Time), seven days a week, and the phone number is 1-833-978-2511.