Apr 13 2020
California EDD Federal Funds $600 Per Week Extra for COVID19 CARES Act Info #COVID19

This info was sent to me in an effort to better understand how the $600 Federal funds are factored into the benefits one can receive from being affected by the COVID19 pandemic.




The following provides the latest available information on the efforts of the Employment

Development Department (EDD) to implement the new 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 timely 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. Each of these changes is discussed in detail below.


Additional $600 payments for workers


The EDD is working on the programming needed to implement the extra $600 per week benefit payment paid by the federal government to workers collecting regular UI benefits. The basic unemployment benefit provided by EDD, plus $600 per week, would replace a large percentage of wages for many California workers.


That programming cannot be finalized until California and other states receive the details and final guidance from the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). It is EDD’s expectation that the extra benefit payments can begin soon and continue thereafter as bi-weekly payments are issued for unemployed Californians.


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 also awaiting final details to be able to start programming to grant an additional 13 weeks of federally paid unemployment benefits 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 be made for up to 26 weeks within a one-year timeframe.




What is the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Program?


The Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) is a brand new program.


Who qualifies for PUA?


The Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Program is for those who do not qualify for regular unemployment benefits, including the self-employed and those who were previously on UI, but exhausted their benefits.


What will this program do?


This program will make 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 be made for up to 26 weeks within a one-year timeframe.


The EDD is working quickly with the California Department of Technology (CDT)/Office of Digital Innovation to develop the application needed to implement this new program to serve unemployed Californians who don’t usually qualify for regular UI benefits, including the self-employed.


Again, Californians should watch for updates on EDD’s website that will include instructions for workers who may have already applied for benefits and were not found eligible for the regular state-administered UI program.


What is the status of the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Program and its implementation?


The EDD is working on programing needed to implement the new provisions for the unemployed but, like all other states, they are currently awaiting further guidance from the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) to complete that programming.


That includes all of the parameters needed to start paying an additional $600 to those receiving unemployment benefits in light of the impacts of the coronavirus, as well as to establish a new 13-week extension of benefits paid for by the federal government when someone exhausts their regular UI claim during an established timeline.


Individuals who are waiting for the availability of Pandemic Unemployment Assistance should monitor EDD’s website for updates on this federal program.  At this time, EDD believes that it is incorrect to assume that this group of individuals will be required to file for regular unemployment insurance and be denied those benefits in order to apply for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance.  Specific instructions on how to apply for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance will be available later on the EDD website.



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