The California Employment Development Department (EDD) has taken action to further assist people who are unemployed due to the economic impact of COVID-19.
On July 8, the EDD will complete its phased rollout of the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) extension, providing up to 13 weeks of additional unemployment insurance (UI) benefits to people who’ve run out of their traditional UI benefits. EDD will begin notifying claimants this week of their potential eligibility for the PUEC extension, which are funded by the federal government’s Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES). For more information visit the PEUC webpage.
The state is utilizing the Federal-State Extended Duration benefits program (FED-ED in California), which only becomes available during times of high or prolonged periods of unemployment. It generally provides up to 13 additional weeks of benefits and is typically funded 50 percent from the state’s UI Trust Fund, which includes employer-paid taxes on their employees’ wages, and 50 percent from federal funds.
However, when Governor Gavin Newsom signed AB 103 last week, triggering another seven weeks of unemployment insurance benefits and bringing the total amount of additional UI benefits to up to 20 weeks, the funding model shifted: The additional 20 weeks are fully federally funded, which saves the California UI system more than $7 billion.
“The state has been able to maximize benefits for families and business throughout California,” said EDD Director Sharon Hilliard in a press release. “We’re expanding the FED-ED extension to provide up to 20 additional weeks of benefits for workers struggling through this pandemic, increasing the benefits available on the separate federal PUA program, and alleviating further financial strain on many state employers by receiving 100 percent federal funding for these benefits.”
To be eligible for the additional weeks, claimants must have earned more than 40 times the weekly benefit amount or 1.5 times their highest quarter earnings during the base period. The base period covers 12 months and is divided into four consecutive quarters.
Those who qualify for FED-ED will still receive the extra $600 stimulus payment through July 25, 2020, based on the end date under the federal CARES Act.
Additionally, the EDD recently announced that it’s re-implementing the bi-weekly unemployment insurance requirement that claimants answer basic questions regarding their unemployment status and that they’re still receiving benefits. This requirement was temporarily suspended early in the pandemic for regular UI and PUA claims.
Mike McCluskey, Senior Technical Editor, CalChamber