COVID-19 and Your Unemployment – Answers to FAQs
On December 27, 2020, Congress passed legislation to add 11 weeks of benefits to Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) claims.
The new legislation also extends Pandemic Additional Compensation, which adds an extra $300 a week to regular Unemployment Insurance, FED-ED, PUA, and PEUC claims.
We are experiencing a high call volume and longer wait times on our phone lines. We appreciate your patience and understand you have questions.
Here you can find answers to the most frequently asked questions (FAQs) we have received about COVID-19 and unemployment.
If you have specific questions about your claim, log in to UI OnlineSM and select Contact Us at the top of the homepage.
Top Questions and Answers of the Week
If you have a claim for weeks of unemployment beginning December 27, 2020, you will receive the extra $300 a week for up to 11 weeks. When you receive the extra $300 depends on your claim type and when you certify for benefits.
Those with a regular state Unemployment Insurance or FED-ED claim will receive the extra $300 first.
We have completed programming to start adding the extra $300 a week for those with a Pandemic Unemployment Assistance or Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation claim.
No. We will notify you through UI Online, mail, or text message when you can certify for your next benefit payment. To make the extra weeks of Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) available as quickly as possible, payments will be issued in phases.
If you had a balance remaining when the federal CARES Act expired on December 26, we are automatically reopening your claim. You do not need to reopen your claim. We will finish extending benefits for these PUA and PEUC claims by January 22.
Note: If you reopened your claim online before receiving an EDD message, you will first be asked to certify for the later weeks of January. You will certify for earlier weeks when we make them available to you.
If you did not have a balance remaining on your PUA or PEUC claim on December 26, we are updating our system to makes these benefits available and will notify you. Only weeks of unemployment starting December 27 will be payable.
If you do not have an existing claim and wish to apply for unemployment benefits, visit File for Unemployment.
If you are filing a new claim for unemployment, you can use ID.me to verify your identity in UI Online. View the updated UI Online: File a New Claim (You Tube) or visit Filing an Unemployment Claim for more information.
If you have already filed a claim for unemployment and need to verify your identity, you will get a message to do one of the following:
- Visit your UI Online homepage and select Upload Identity Documents. You will only see this option if there has been an issue verifying your identity. You can also send us documents by mail. Visit Verify Your Identity to learn more.
- Use ID.me to verify your identity. The message in your UI Online inbox will have an ID.me link.
If your EDD Debit CardSM is frozen and you need to upload documents to verify your identity, review Why is my EDD Debit Card frozen?
You may have issues verifying your identity using ID.me if:
- You recently moved.
- Your credit report is locked or frozen.
- Your credit profile contains incorrect information.
- You already verified your identity using ID.me.
- Your submission has an error or typo.
- You submitted expired documents.
- You submitted an unreadable photo. Review the tips for creating digital copies of documents.
- You submitted a phone number that is not associated with your name and address.
ID.me may be able to verify your identity in other ways. Look for the Verify identity on a video call button to complete a video chat with a Trusted Referee and complete your identity verification, or contact the ID.me support team.
The State of California offers resources for basic needs, food assistance, health care, and more. Visit Additional Resources for a list of resources that may help you, including:
- Financial Help: Financial assistance for people affected by COVID-19.
- CalJOBS: Search for jobs, find training programs, and more.
- America's Job Center of California: Locate an office near you to find a job, training, and more.
- CalFresh: Food assistance for people and families with low income, including those who lost their job due to COVID-19.
- CalWORKs: Provides assistance for eligible families with children for up to 5 years. Includes cash and services like rental assistance and job skills training.
The best way to reopen a claim is by logging in to your Benefits Program Online account and using UI Online. If you certified for benefits within the last 30 days, you can continue certifying on your current claim. You need to certify for past weeks that you worked before you can certify for new weeks of unemployment.
If it has been more than 30 days, you can reopen an unemployment claim online, by phone, or by mail. View UI Online: Reopen your claim (YouTube) to learn more. Reopening a claim online is a shorter process than the original application for benefits. In most cases, we can automatically reopen a claim within a few days to a week.
You must be able to and available for work to collect benefits. If you don’t meet this requirement, we will follow up with you to see if you’re eligible. Once your claim is reopened, you must certify every two weeks to receive benefits.
We may request that you provide documents to prove your 2019 income for your Pandemic Unemployment Assistance claim. You can submit these documents using UI Online or by mail. Visit Income Documentation to learn more.
Note: You must submit these documents within 21 days from the date of the email or mailed notice from the EDD. If you are not able to provide proof of income, we may decrease your payments and you may have to repay the difference for any weeks you were paid more than $167.
If your account is frozen and you can’t use your EDD Debit Card or access funds, we may need to verify your identity to continue paying you unemployment benefits. If so, you should receive an email, text message, or mailed notice requesting identity verification documents. We strongly recommend that you log in to UI Online and use the upload documents option from the homepage for the fastest processing possible. Once verified, you’ll continue receiving benefits.
If you can’t upload your documents online, you can mail in copies of the required documents to:
Employment Development Department
Attn: Bank of America
PO Box 2530
Rancho Cordova, CA 95741-2530
Note: Some people will receive a message in their UI Online inbox with a link to use ID.me to verify their identity. If you receive this message, you must use ID.me to verify your identity.
Once verified, you’ll continue receiving benefits. If you don’t provide your identity verification documents, we may end your benefit payments. If this happens, you will receive a notice with information about how to appeal.
If you can’t access funds on your EDD Debit Card or funds have been reduced and you have not received any messages from the EDD, it’s likely that Bank of America has frozen or suspended the card. This may be due to suspected fraudulent, unauthorized or unlawful activities involved with the EDD Debit Card or a suspect transaction. In this case, the EDD does not need to verify your identity and suggests that you contact Bank of America. We do not have direct access to withdraw funds on any accounts. While debits may appear as having been debited by EDD, the funds were debited by Bank of America.
If you received unemployment benefits you were not eligible for (known as an overpayment), we will send you a notice. It is important to repay this benefit overpayment as soon as possible to avoid collection and legal action. After receiving a notice, visit Benefit Overpayment Services to learn how to repay an existing overpayment.
If you want to repay these benefits before receiving a notice, review the following:
- Benefit check not cashed – Return the original check to the EDD.
- Benefit check cashed – Send a personal check, cashier's check, or money order made payable to the EDD.
- EDD Debit CardSM – If the funds are still on your card, transfer them to your bank account and then repay them by sending a personal check, cashier’s check, or money order made payable to the EDD.
Include a letter with the following information:
- Mailing address.
- Social Security number or EDD Customer Account Number (EDDCAN).
- Week or weeks that the returned payment applies to.
- Reason for returning the benefits.
- Date you returned to work (if applicable).
- Gross earnings for each week of benefits being returned (if applicable).
Mail the payment and letter to:
Employment Development Department – Overpayment Center
PO Box 66000
Anaheim, CA 92806
Note: If you return the overpayment, you will still receive a notice from the EDD.
The Form 1099G reports the total taxable income we issue you in a calendar year. This income is reported to the IRS. As taxable income, these payments must be reported on your federal tax return, but they are exempt from California state income tax.
Total taxable compensation includes:
- Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits.
- Disability Insurance benefits received as a substitute for UI benefits.
- Pandemic Unemployment Assistance benefits.
- Disaster Unemployment Assistance benefits.
- Paid Family Leave benefits.
Visit Tax Information (Form 1099G) for more details.
Find out if you’re eligible for Unemployment Insurance (UI) and get answers to common questions about claims.Visit UI FAQs
If you don’t qualify for regular Unemployment Insurance, you may be eligible for the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program.Visit PUA FAQs
Learn what benefits are available if you are sick or caring for a family member.Visit DI/PFL FAQs
Get information about the temporary suspensions to the WARN Act and what EDD services can help navigate your business operations.Visit Employer FAQs
Still Need Help?
Find the latest updates and changes in effect due to COVID-19, including what benefits are available, how to apply, and what to expect after applying.