Federal Provisions for Unemployment

Last updated: 2/11/2021 | En español | COVID-19 Main Page | COVID-19 FAQs

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The federal government approved new legislation to extend federal unemployment benefits.

We’ve been making programming adjustments for these benefits. If you had benefits available on your Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) or Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) claim on December 26, 2020, you will now have the additional 11 weeks on your claim. If you used all your PUA or PEUC benefits before December 26, 2020, you will receive the additional 11 weeks in the first week of March. You will be able to certify for weeks of unemployment starting from December 27, 2020.

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.
  • 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

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.

If you are on a PUA claim because you used all of your regular UI, PEUC, and FED-ED benefits, you will be placed back on your PEUC extension to collect up to 11 more weeks of benefits effective February 7, 2021. Your weekly benefit amount could change if the amount on your last PEUC extension was different than the amount on your PUA claim.

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 to March 13, 2021. If you qualify for the phase out period, your weeks are available until April 10, 2021.
  • After collecting the first 13 weeks, the additional 11 weeks are available beginning on or after December 27, 2020 to March 13, 2021. If you qualify for the phase out period, your weeks are available until April 10, 2021.

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.

Phase Out Period

If you are receiving PEUC benefits for the week ending March 13, 2021, or that week is being used to offset an overpayment on your claim, and you have not used all 24 weeks, you will be eligible to receive PEUC until April 10, 2021.

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 file the 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 file the 11 weeks of the PEUC extension effective February 7, 2021, and will stop your PUA 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 weekly benefit 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 March 13, 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 original 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 after that which you don’t qualify for, we will continue paying you under the PEUC extension.

Continue to monitor your UI Online account for updates and to certify for benefit payments.

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.

FED-ED Extension

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 unemployment compensation on top of your current weekly benefit amount.

For weeks of unemployment between December 27, 2020, and March 13, 2021, we are paying $300 in federal unemployment compensation 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 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.

Note: Pandemic Additional Compensation, also known as Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC), is a taxable income and is reported to the IRS.