Federal Provisions for Unemployment
The federal government approved new legislation to extend federal unemployment benefits.
This new legislation:
- Continues the federal increase for all unemployment benefits, which adds $300 to each week of benefits through September 4, 2021.
- Extends Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) up to 29 weeks through September 4, 2021.
- Continues the federally funded FED-ED through September 11, 2021, providing up to 20 weeks of benefits.
We will continue to provide updates as they become available. For the latest information, monitor this page and your UI OnlineSM account.
Getting Started: Unemployment Benefits
Learn what benefits are available, how to apply, and what to expect after you’ve used all of your benefits or your claim has expired.
When Your Benefit Year Ends
If it’s been more than one year since you applied for unemployment, you may need to file a new claim.
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 September 4, 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.
With the recent extension, PUA includes up to 86 weeks of benefits, beginning February 2, 2020. The date you can start collecting these benefits depends on when you were directly affected by COVID-19 and the date you filed your PUA claim.
Note: Your claim type in UI Online will display as Disaster Assistance.
If you have an existing PUA claim, we will automatically add the additional weeks of benefits and extend your claim to September 4, 2021. You do not need to submit a new application. 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. But, you may receive fewer than 86 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 86 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 53 additional weeks of payments if you’ve used all of your available UI benefits.
- The first 13 weeks are available from March 29, 2020 to September 4, 2021. In UI Online, your claim type will display as PEUC.
- After collecting the first 13 weeks, an additional 11 weeks are available beginning on or after December 27, 2020 to September 4, 2021. Your claim type will display as Extension Tier 2 in UI Online.
- After collecting the first 24 weeks, an additional 29 weeks are available beginning on or after March 14, 2021 to September 4, 2021. Your claim type will display as Extension Tier 2 (Augmentation) in UI Online.
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 your PEUC extension on your regular unemployment claim.
- If you are currently receiving a FED-ED extension, you will continue to collect it until it is exhausted. We will file the additional weeks of the PEUC extension after you use all FED-ED benefits.
- 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 are currently collecting PEUC benefits and filed a new regular UI claim, we might continue paying benefits on your PEUC extension, instead of your regular UI claim if the weekly benefit amount on your PEUC extension is at least $25 more than the amount on your new regular UI claim. This is allowed under the new Deferred New Claim Payment (DNCP) program. The regular UI claim you recently qualified for will be on hold until you collect all available PEUC benefits, or until the PEUC extension ends on September 4, 2021, whichever comes first.
- Once you have collected all available benefits on your PEUC extension, and if you are still unemployed and eligible, we will automatically start paying benefits on your new regular UI claim. There is no need to contact us.
- 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 expired unemployment claim. You will also receive a text message about the filed extension. If you are already collecting PEUC benefits and filed a UI claim but aren't eligible, we will continue paying you under the PEUC 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 continue certifying for benefits. 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 that you have not served yet, 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 December 27, 2020, and September 4, 2021, we are paying $300 in federal unemployment compensation on top of your current weekly benefit amount.
You do not need to do anything. We will automatically add the federal unemployment compensation to each week of benefits that you are eligible to receive.
Any unemployment benefits through the end of the program will still be eligible for the extra $300, even if you are paid later.
For weeks of unemployment between March 29 and July 25, 2020, we are paying $600 in federal unemployment compensation on top of your current weekly benefit amount.
Note: Pandemic Additional Compensation, also known as Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC), is a taxable income and is reported to the IRS.