Unemployment Assistance & Paid Family Leave

Employment Development Department Takes Action to Continue Helping CaliforniansWorkers Affected by COVID-19 may be eligible for benefits

Access Extended Federal Benefits

Sacramento—Following state action in recent weeks to ensure millions of Californians continue to receive federal benefits under the American Rescue Plan, the Employment Development Department (EDD) today announced it remains on track to extend Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) benefits starting this weekend.

The Department will begin on April 10, 2021, and continue to April 17, 2021 (up from the previous April 30 commitment), to phase in PEUC benefits for the approximately 700,000 Californians who are currently on this program and exhausted all their benefits. This means all claimants who exhausted their PEUC benefits and have been waiting for additional weeks will be able to certify for benefits starting Sunday. Those with non-exhausted, existing PEUC claims have already been able to collect benefits.

These Department actions, starting this weekend, mark the final phase of the rollout of expanded American Rescue Plan (ARP) federal benefits that have been helping millions of Californians:

1.New PUA claims: New claims for PUA benefits have continued to be paid at the minimum level of $167 per week, plus the extra $300 federal payment for eligible recipients. By April 10, claimants may become eligible for a higher weekly benefit amount based on income information reported on their application and it will automatically be applied retroactively.

2.Existing and Exhausted PUA claims: All of the 1.2 million people collecting on an existing PUA claim when the American Rescue Plan started are able to certify and receive payments if eligible. The Department rolled out this program on March 28—faster than the initial April 10 target.

3.Regular or FED-ED claims: Californians on regular state Unemployment Insurance (UI) or Federal-State Extended Duration (FED-ED) have continued to receive the extra $300 federal payment without interruption.

4.Existing and Exhausted PEUC claims: Approximately 47 percent of the 1.4 million collecting on an existing PEUC claim are already collecting benefits. The remaining approximately 700,000 claimants that exhausted all PEUC extension benefits will be phased in between April 10 and April 17—faster than the previous April 30 target—and can begin to certify for benefits this weekend.  

The extended federal benefits are attached to certain eligibility periods, and eligible claimants will be paid for those weeks—even if Department processing of those benefits comes later. Updates on the implementation of the American Rescue Plan are posted on the Federal Provisions for Unemployment Page.

Helpful Information for Claimants Reaching Their Benefit Year End

The massive expansion in federal benefits under the American Rescue Plan comes at a time when many Californians are also reaching the expiration of their initial claims for benefits. At the end of that benefit year, most claimants will need to reapply for benefits.

Those on a PUA claim do not need to apply for a new claim when they reach the end of their benefit year. Everyone else—including those with a regular state UI claim, a PEUC extension, or a FED-ED—must reapply for federal benefits if they are still unemployed once they reach the end of their benefit year. This is a requirement under state and federal law.

Individuals will be notified via email and text message, or mailed notice, when the new claim is processed, which may take up to three weeks. When reapplying, EDD will run claims through fraud screening and identity verification. Those already verified through ID.me are streamlined through the process.

Visit the Department’s Benefit Year End page and watch the Ask Eddy video on the YouTube Channel for more information about the benefit year end and what a claimant can expect from the process.

Continuing to Help Claimants Avoid Delays With Self-Help Guidance

As shown in trends in the new data dashboard, one of the large parts of the state’s existing backlog of work involves determining the eligibility of claimants—and the process will take longer when staff must conduct an eligibility interview in the future.

Every two weeks a claimant will answer a series of questions to confirm eligibility for benefits. A claimant’s answer to the eligibility questions can trigger an eligibility interview several weeks in the future and result in a pending payment status in UI Online until that interview occurs.

As previously announced, Questions #1 and #2 continue to cause some confusion for claimants regarding the requirement that they remain able and available to accept work if offered. In many cases this delay can be avoided by carefully answering the certification questions.

In an effort to help claimants avoid unnecessarily delays—and pending status—the Department continues to urge claimants to read and answer the eligibility questions very carefully and to review self-help information for guidance.

This Help Text, along with guidance available in the Ask Eddy YouTube video and on the Department’s website, can help a claimant accurately answer the questions, while accounting for the unique circumstances brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.

EDD recently launched an expanded online data dashboard to publicly report, in a user-friendly format, statewide and county-specific information about unemployment filings, benefits paid, pending applications, and information about call center activity. As of March 26, 2021, the Department has paid an average of 9.7 million claims a week and has paid nearly $20 billion in benefits this year.

Tax Filing Updates and Help for Identity Theft Victims

The federal tax deadline and the state of California tax deadline have been extended from April 15, 2021, to May 17, 2021.

The Internal Revenue Service announced that the first $10,200 of 2020 unemployment benefits are nontaxable. Those who received unemployment benefits last year and have already filed their 2020 tax return, should not file an amended return at this time because the IRS said it will automatically refund money to those who filed their tax return reporting unemployment compensation before the recent changes made by the American Rescue Plan

EDD offers a Form 1099-G online help center to assist Californians who receive unemployment compensation with tax preparation. The Form 1099-G reports the total taxable income issued by EDD in a calendar year and is reported to the IRS.

Last year criminals filed claims for unemployment benefits using stolen identities at an unprecedented rate. Unsuspecting Californians may receive a Form 1099-G from EDD, indicating a claim was made in their name, address, or Social Security number. Anyone who receives a Form 1099-G from EDD in which they don't agree with the total benefits listed or suspect they are victims of identity theft should report this as fraud by going to AskEDD, selecting “Form 1099G,” and then choosing “Report Fraud.” EDD will investigate and issue a corrected 1099-G as appropriate.

The IRS recommends that the public save copies of whatever documentation they have regarding their attempts to get a corrected 1099-G from the state.

The IRS has made clear that taxpayers who are unable to obtain a timely, corrected 1099-G should still file an accurate tax return, reporting only the income they received.

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EDD awards $2 million to improve job opportunities for people with disabilities

SACRAMENTO –The California Employment Development Department (EDD) announced today it has awarded $2 million in Disability Employment Accelerator funds to six organizations to provide career development and job opportunities to people in Amador, Calaveras, Los Angeles, Mariposa, Sacramento, San Diego, Tulare, Tuolumne, and Ventura counties.

“These funds will help workers secure quality jobs in the post-pandemic labor market,” said EDD Director Rita Saenz.

The awarded organizations will provide employment and training services, while emphasizing the use of distance learning and other technology-based methods to deliver services. This approach will help participants develop technology-based skills, which have proven crucial during the COVID-19 crisis, while protecting their health and safety as they receive program benefits. The funded programs will help people harness their transferable skills, while focusing on solutions to employment challenges.

To prepare these workers for employment opportunities in emerging regional industries, the funds will be used to implement customized programs that include vocational assessments, career counseling, technical skills training, credential programs, apprenticeships, paid work experience, on-the-job training, and job placement assistance. Other services include: access to technology to facilitate distance learning, housing assistance, child care, mental health care, and a wide range of other supportive services.

Using strategies to target viable industry sectors, these organizations will work with local businesses and industry leaders to develop work-based learning programs to help people with disabilities obtain and retain competitive, integrated employment. These organizations will provide training needed to fill positions in local, high-growth industries such as advanced manufacturing, construction, educational services, healthcare, information technology, logistics and transportation, professional and business services, and technology.

Funding for this grant was provided through discretionary funds made available to Governor Gavin Newsom in accordance with the federal Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act and administered by the EDD and the California Labor and Workforce Development Agency.

These organizations were selected through a competitive selection process. Please refer to the table below for the organizations’ contact information to learn more about the services available with these funds.

Sacramento Employment and Training Agency

Sacramento

$350,000

Michelle O’Camb

1-916-263-3868

Michelle.OCamb@seta.net

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UI Benefit Extensions Q & A

Info on Suspended Payments Due to Fraud Screening

Sick or Quarantined

If you’re unable to work due to having or being exposed to COVID-19 (certified by a medical professional), you can file a Disability Insurance (DI) claim. DI provides short-term benefit payments to eligible workers who have a full or partial loss of wages due to a non-work-related illness, injury, or pregnancy. Benefit amounts are approximately 60-70 percent of wages (depending on income) and range from $50-$1,300 a week.

The Governor’s Executive Order waives the one-week unpaid waiting period, so you can collect DI benefits for the first week you are out of work. If you are eligible, the EDD processes and issues payments within a few weeks of receiving a claim.

For guidance on the disease, visit the California Department of Public Health website.

Reduced Work Hours

If your employer has reduced your hours or shut down operations due to COVID-19, you can file an Unemployment Insurance (UI) claim. UI provides partial wage replacement benefit payments to workers who lose their job or have their hours reduced, through no fault of their own. Workers who are temporarily unemployed due to COVID-19 and expected to return to work with their employer within a few weeks are not required to actively seek work each week. However, they must remain ready to work during their unemployment for each week of benefits claimed and meet all other eligibility criteria. Eligible individuals can receive benefits that range from $40-$450 per week.

The Governor’s Executive Order waives the one-week unpaid waiting period, so you can collect UI benefits for the first week you are out of work. If you are eligible, the EDD processes and issues payments within a few weeks of receiving a claim.

Self-Employed

The available benefits are insurance programs. To be eligible, either you or an employer had to make contributions in the last 5-18 months. It is possible these contributions were made at a prior job, or if you were misclassified as an independent contractor instead of an employee. We encourage you to apply for the benefit program that is most appropriate for your situation. Visit Self-Employed/Independent Contractor to learn more.

Caregiving – Paid Family Leave

If you’re unable to work because you are caring for an ill or quarantined family member with COVID-19 (certified by a medical professional), you can file a Paid Family Leave (PFL) claim. PFL provides up to six weeks of benefit payments to eligible workers who have a full or partial loss of wages because they need time off work to care for a seriously ill family member or to bond with a new child. Benefit amounts are approximately 60-70 percent of wages (depending on income) and range from $50-$1,300 a week. If you are eligible, the EDD processes and issues payments within a few weeks of receiving a claim.

School Closures

If your child’s school is closed, and you have to miss work to be there for them, you may be eligible for Unemployment Insurance benefits. Eligibility considerations include if you have no other care options and if you are unable to continue working your normal hours remotely. File an Unemployment Insurance claim and EDD representatives will decide if you are eligible.

EDD Implements New Military Assistance Provision of Paid Family Leave program at start of the New Year

Beginning January 1, 2021, Californians who are eligible for Paid Family Leave (PFL) may take time off from work to support a family member (spouse, registered domestic partner, parent, or child) in the military who is deployed or being deployed to a foreign country. Qualifying events for an individual to receive PFL Military Assist benefits include activities to manage essential needs during military deployment such as setting up childcare or parental care, attending military sponsored events, or making legal or financial arrangements.

Eligibility Requirements

To be eligible for PFL Military Assist benefits, claimants must:

  • Be unable to do their regular or customary work due to a need to participate in a qualifying event related to the military deployment of their spouse, registered domestic partner, parent, or child to a foreign country.
  • Be employed or actively looking for work at the time their Military Assist leave begins.
  • Have earned at least $300 from which State Disability Insurance (SDI) deductions were withheld during their base period. For additional information, visit Calculating Paid Family Leave Benefit Payment Amounts.
  • Complete and submit their claim form no earlier than the first day their Military Assist claim begins, but no later than 41 days after their Military Assist benefits begin. Military Assist is available to eligible individuals with a claim start date of January 1, 2021, or after.

California Paid Family Leave program at a Glance:

  • California became the first state in the nation to create a PFL program when the state law was enacted in 2002.
  • Most employees have already paid for the program benefits through mandatory SDI paycheck deductions noted as “CASDI” on most paystubs.
  • Claimants may receive about 60 to 70 percent (depending on income) of wages earned 5 to 18 months before their claim start date for up to eight weeks within any 12-month period. The length of time worked at your current job does not affect eligibility.
  • Benefit payments range from $50 to a maximum of $1,357 per week. The EDD offers an online benefit calculator to provide workers with an estimate of their potential weekly benefits.
  • PFL claim benefit eligibility is based on your claim start date.