We’ve been a year after a deadly pandemic struck California, causing hundreds of thousands of people to lose their jobs and millions of people to file for unemployment benefits.
In March 2021, President Biden signed the American Rescue Plan into law, which would provide more immediate assistance to those most affected by the pandemic while still assisting the economy. The bill further expands federal unemployment benefits in addition to additional stimulus payments.
If you’re applying for unemployment benefits through the Workforce Development Department (EDD), this one-year mark will indicate that you need to act on your application. But how do these widespread federal benefits affect your unemployment claims in California? What’s more, how do you make sure you’re getting the help you deserve?
Please be aware that the EDD website has recently experienced several issues with individuals attempting to certify their allegations. Furthermore, EDD’s ID.me identity authentication app also has significant wait times. Any of these problems will make it difficult to receive benefits, even though you do it correctly.
On their webpage, you’ll find phone numbers for EDD members. However, if you’re having trouble, you could think that calling the representative or a workers’ advocacy organization like the Center for Workers’ Rights is a better option than waiting on hold. A directory of multilingual services for job seekers is also open.
What Sorts of Unemployment Insurance Do You Apply For?
Unemployment Insurance, also known as “Regular UI,” is a state-funded initiative that assists Californians of W-2 wages who are unemployed with no fault of their own (including pandemic, school closures or an expired unemployment claim).
The federal service that assists company owners, private contractors, and self-employed employees is known as Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, or PUA. (This is most definitely the package you’re on if you just received a 1099 tax form.)
PEUC, or Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation, is a government scheme for those who have been on daily unemployment but who lost their benefits. You can be placed on PEUC more than once, but your standard UI argument must have begun on or after July 8, 2018 to apply for a PEUC extension. You will need to reapply for unemployment benefits depending on when you made your application and if it has expired.
FED-ED, or Federal-State Extended Period, is a federal service for those who have used up all of their UI and PEUC benefits.
Will I be automatically eligible for any federal benefits?
It’s possible. For all candidates, EDD can apply $300 in federal Pandemic Additional Compensation (PAC) to support weeks between Dec. 27, 2020 and Sept. 4, 2021, on top of the other benefits you qualify for.
This money should be immediately disbursed; claimants should not be required to make any changes to their claims in order to receive it.
Is it necessary for me to reapply for benefits?
When you’re on one of the above benefits, you must make a new application if your benefits year has ended:
- Unemployment insurance on a regular basis (UI)
- Extension of the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) program
- Extension of the Federal-State Extended Period (FED-ED) program
Your benefits year begins the day after you file your application and expires 12 months later. You must reapply so that EDD can determine whether you are qualifying for a new UI claim and, if not, which software is best for you.
If you’re in this situation, EDD should notify you (either via your UI Online account or via mail) that you need to reapply for another claim.
What If I Was On Regular UI But Didn’t Work Through The Pandemic — And My Claim Is Now Expired?
To apply for additional UI incentives, you would have received enough W-2 income after the pandemic to make a new application.
If you haven’t performed at all since the pandemic, EDD should file a PEUC extension on your previous UI argument immediately, and you should be alerted.
What kind of federal assistance does my program qualify me for, and how do I go about getting it?
1. Current and Expired PUA Claims
- If your PUA claim has a balance on March 14, EDD says you can continue to receive benefits without interruption. According to EDD, approximately 95% of PUA recipients should be able to continue certifying without interruption.
- During a press conference on March 26, EDD stated that those with current PUA claims should have been able to begin certifying for these benefits on March 28.
- EDD states that by April 10, 2021 — if not earlier — anyone who have expended all PUA benefits should be receiving emails, UI Online updates, or mailed reminders on when to certify for other benefits.
2. PEUC arguments that are still active and others that have been exhausted
- On March 14, did you still have a balance on your PEUC claim? According to the EDD, you can continue to receive benefits without interruption. According to EDD, about half of citizens with current PEUC statements should be able to continue certifying without interruption.
- For the other half of applicants who have exhausted all PEUC extensions, the FED-ED Extension will provide you with another 20 weeks of benefits. If you are, EDD will file a FED-ED extension on your petition automatically. EDD says these perks will be phased in between April 10 and April 30, and you’ll be notified in your UI online account as it happens. However, not everyone is qualified, so check out the EDD’s Unemployment Benefit Programs flowchart to see if you qualify.
3. Regular UI and FED-ED claims that have already been filed
- If your benefits year hasn’t ended yet, you should be allowed to begin certifying and collecting the $300 federal PAC bump without delay.
4. PUA Claims That Have Been Made
- Do you need to submit a new PUA claim? You should be allowed to, but you will only be paid the minimum wage of $167 a week, plus an additional $300 federal charge.
- By April 10, candidates will be eligible for a higher weekly benefit amount depending on the income details they provided on their application, and any change in benefit amount may be retroactively applied.
For how long will these new benefits keep me going?
EDD has a rundown of how long these government payments will keep you afloat, as well as how many weeks of benefits you can get. See the table below for a breakdown of gain durations.
Filing a New Claim vs. Reopening an Old One
And if their old lawsuit allows them to recertify, candidates should be on the lookout for the chance to file a new claim, according to Daniela Urban, executive director of the Center for Workers’ Rights. Some people’s accounts have been marked as pending for a long time when, in fact, it’s time to refile. And if the alternative has already appeared in their account, they can be unaware of it.
If it’s been more than 30 days since you last certified for insurance, you can see the option to “Reopen Claim” online. Instead of shutting your tab, EDD will bring it into a semi-dormant state if your bonus year hasn’t expired. (Think of it as putting the machine into sleep mode rather than shutting down.)
However, there have been bugs in the past, and several users have sent this message when they weren’t supposed to. If you get this “Reopen Claim” message but have been certifying on a regular basis, don’t press the button until you’ve received more details about why you’re receiving this notice.
If you need to reopen your petition, we bring you a tutorial that will guide you through the process.