Federal Unemployment Benefits Set to Expire Soon
Reopening claims during stay-at-home orders
Sacramento – Federal unemployment payments that have been available for workers who don’t qualify for regular state unemployment benefits and for those who run out of all of their state benefits are set to expire after December 26, 2020. The state Employment Development Department (EDD) is launching an outreach effort to ensure Californians are aware of the upcoming end to the federal CARES Act funding and the associated benefits, along with the various resources that are available to assist them during this difficult time.
The EDD is closely monitoring developments in Washington D.C. and will keep claimants aware of any updates. However, absent congressional action, benefit payments are set to expire for recipients of Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) starting December 27, 2020, which will impact an estimated 750,000 Californians.
The PUA program provides up to 46 weeks of benefits to help business owners, self-employed workers, independent contractors and others not usually eligible for regular Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits. The PEUC extension provides up to 13 additional weeks of benefits for those who run out of their up to 26 weeks of benefits associated with a regular UI claim.
Regular UI claims will continue to be paid as long as the claim is within the associated benefit year however, revisions will become necessary for extension claims as follows:
- For those currently on PEUC who meet eligibility requirements for a FED-ED extension, the EDD will automatically transition the claimant to a FED-ED claim and send a notification through the mail.
- FED-ED extensions filed on or after December 27, 2020, will be eligible for up to 13 weeks of benefits instead of the current 20 weeks due to expiring funding provided by the federal CARES Act.
- For existing FED-ED extensions filed prior to December 27, 2020, and established with up to 20 weeks of benefits, the EDD will be required to recalculate the award to the maximum 13 weeks. Any weeks paid over that maximum at the end of the year will not be considered an overpayment.
Helpful Supportive Resources – The EDD understands the loss of federal unemployment benefits can be critical to families relying on this support during the unprecedented impacts of this COVID-19 pandemic. The State of California has helpful resources for basic needs, food assistance, medical care or health care, housing and utilities assistance, among many others. Visit COVID19.ca.gov and the Additional Resources page on EDD’s website for a list of agencies and organizations that may be able to help you, including:
- CalFresh provides monthly food benefits to individuals and families with low income – including those who lost their job because of the pandemic. To apply for CalFresh food benefits visit getcalfresh.org. Applying online takes about 10 minutes and after completing an interview with your county, eligible individuals can get up to $204 a month in food benefits.
- For job search assistance, visit CalJOBS. With CalJOBS, you can search for jobs, find education and training programs, create résumés, and more.
- You can also use the Find an Office feature on EDD’s website to find the location of the America’s Job Center of California nearest you and make an appointment for assistance in exploring options for jobs and training available.
Re-opening Unemployment Claims – Those impacted by current stay-at-home orders who may have initiated a claim earlier in the pandemic but stopped collecting benefits when they returned to work are encouraged to reopen their claim if they once again find themselves out of work or with reduced hours. Individuals can learn more about how to reopen a claim on the EDD website. The process all depends on when they last certified for benefits.
For any claims that started more than a year ago, individuals will have to file a new claim. The EDD recommends applying for unemployment benefits through UI Online for the fastest processing possible. Individuals looking to establish a new claim should be prepared to verify their identity through EDD’s new ID.me verification tool by either providing documents or talking with a trusted referee, and providing a self-photo.