Federal Provisions for Unemployment
On December 27, 2020, the President signed legislation to extend federal unemployment benefits that expired on December 26, 2020.
Although there will not be a gap in eligibility for the extended benefits based on the date the legislation was signed into law, we cannot implement the new programs until we receive guidelines from the US Department of Labor on how states must follow the law. However, we are making program adjustments with what information we have, so that when the federal guidelines and final details are available, we can complete the necessary programming to make these new benefits available quickly.
This new legislation:
- Restores the federal increase for all unemployment benefits, which adds $300 to each week of benefits for up to 11 weeks through March 13, 2021.
- We are now adding the $300 to regular Unemployment Insurance and FED-ED claims. We will next be adding this to Pandemic Unemployment Assistance and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation claims.
- Extends Pandemic Unemployment Assistance and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation by 11 weeks. If you are receiving these benefits, we will automatically recalculate your claim and notify you when you can certify for your next benefit payment.
- Continues the federally funded FED-ED through March 14, 2021, providing up to 20 weeks of benefits.
- Provides a supplement of $100 per week to certain “mixed earners” who received at least $5,000 a year in self-employment income but were eligible for regular unemployment, not Pandemic Unemployment Assistance.
The federal government expanded unemployment benefits so we can help more Californians impacted by COVID-19:
- Pandemic Unemployment Assistance – Provides unemployment benefits for people who don’t usually qualify for regular state Unemployment Insurance.
- Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation – A benefit extension for people who have used all benefits available in their regular Unemployment Insurance claim.
- Pandemic Additional Compensation – An additional $300 federal stimulus payment automatically added to each week of benefits received from December 27, 2020, through March 13, 2021.
Pandemic Unemployment Assistance
You may qualify for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) if you are not eligible for regular Unemployment Insurance (UI) and you are unemployed or partially unemployed for a COVID-19 reason permissible under federal law. This includes:
- Business owners.
- Self-employed workers.
- Independent contractors.
- People with a limited work history.
- People who have used all their regular UI benefits as well as any extended benefits.
- People who are serving false statement penalty weeks on their regular UI claim.
There are up to 57 weeks of benefits available to eligible workers. If you have an existing PUA claim, we will automatically recalculate your claim to add the additional 11 weeks of benefits. We will notify you through UI Online, mail, or text message when you can certify for your next benefit payment.
If you submitted your new PUA application on or after December 27, 2020, the earliest your claim can start is December 6, 2020. However, you may receive fewer than 57 weeks of PUA benefits if:
- You previously collected regular UI and FED-ED extension benefits (not including PEUC benefits). We will subtract these weeks from the 57 total weeks of your PUA claim.
- Your unemployment or partial unemployment is no longer due to a COVID-19 reason.
- The PUA program is no longer available.
Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation
Usually, you can only collect up to 26 weeks of regular Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits within a benefit year. A benefit year is the 12-month period from the start of your claim. Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) provides up to 24 additional weeks of payments if you’ve used all of your available UI benefits.
- The first 13 weeks are available from March 29, 2020, until December 26, 2020.
- The additional 11 weeks are available beginning December 27, 2020.
To qualify for a PEUC extension, your regular UI claim must have started on July 8, 2018, or after. Depending on when you filed your unemployment claim and if it has expired, you may need to reapply for unemployment.
Within Your Benefit Year
- If you run out of benefits within the benefit year, we will automatically file the first 13 weeks of the PEUC extension on your regular unemployment claim.
- If you collected the first 13 weeks, we will automatically file the remaining 11 weeks of the PEUC extension.
- If you are currently receiving a FED-ED extension, you will continue to collect it until it is exhausted. We will automatically file the remaining 11 weeks of the PEUC extension after you use all FED-ED benefits.
- If we started a PUA claim for you after you collected all PEUC benefits, we will automatically file the remaining 11 weeks of the PEUC extension.
- We will notify you through UI Online, mail, or text message when you can certify for your next benefit payment.
After Your Benefit Year
- If your benefit year has expired, you must file another unemployment claim. We will send you a notice telling you to file a new claim if you are still unemployed. UI Online is still the fastest way to apply. If you have enough wages to qualify for regular unemployment, we will process your claim.
- If you don't qualify for a new claim after the benefit year expires, two things will happen.
- First, you will receive a $0 award notice in the mail saying there are not enough wages for a new claim.
- A few days later, you will receive another notice showing that we automatically filed a PEUC extension on your other unemployment claim. You will also receive a text message about the extension.
Continue to monitor your UI Online account for updates and to certify for benefit payments.
After your extension is filed, you will need to certify for benefit payments. Certifying is answering basic questions every two weeks that tells us you’re still unemployed and eligible to continue receiving payments. Payments will be the same as the weekly benefit amount from your regular UI claim.
If you have a PUA claim, you cannot collect PEUC at the same time. If you still have false statement penalty weeks on your regular UI claim, you are not eligible for PEUC and you will continue on the PUA claim.
If you use all your PEUC benefits, you may qualify for a FED-ED extension.
Pandemic Additional Compensation
For weeks of unemployment between March 29 and July 25, 2020, we are paying $600 in federal stimulus funds on top of your current weekly benefit amount.
For weeks of unemployment beginning December 27, 2020, we are paying $300 in federal stimulus funds on top of your current weekly benefit amount. You will receive the extra $300 a week for up to 11 weeks.
You do not need to do anything. We will automatically add the federal stimulus funds to each week of benefits that you are eligible to receive.
Note: Any unemployment benefits through the end of the program will still be eligible for the extra $300, even if you are paid later.