California’s Employment Development Department (EDD) manages the Unemployment Insurance (UI) and State Disability Insurance (SDI) programs for the State of California. SDI includes both Disability Insurance (DI) and Paid Family Leave (PFL). You can file a claim for all of these programs online, by phone, or by mail.
Extra $300 Unemployment under Lost Wages Assistance (LWA) program
The CA EDD has been approved by FEMA for the $300 weekly payment under the LWA program, which provides supplemental payments to eligible unemployment benefits claimants who have been unemployed, partially unemployed, or unable or unavailable to work due to disruptions caused by COVID-19 and are currently eligible to receive at least $100 per week in UI benefits. The EDD has completed work on the technology requirements necessary for this program and will begin delivering payments to eligible claimants starting on September 7th. Eligible claimants will have their LWA weekly benefit payment retroactive to August 1st for the weeks that they are eligible.
LWA Payments will start in phases on Sep 7th, 2020 (for week beginning Sep 6th).
Payments will be made in multiple phases/batches so you may see different lump-sums in your account. EDD will begin processing LWA payments as follows:
Phase 1 (Sep 7th to Sep 21st)
Claimants who indicated that you were unemployed or partially unemployed due to COVID-19 when filing for unemployment, whether it was regular Unemployment Insurance or Pandemic Unemployment Assistance will automatically receive one lump sum of $900 ($300/week x 3 weeks).
Claimants who did not submit their certification for all three of those weeks at the same time, the payments will be split in two due to normal bi-weekly payment cycles based on when they provided certifications for the three weeks of benefits. Those with the weeks ending August 1st and 8th in the same two-week cycle will receive a $600 payment first followed a few days later by the remaining $300 for August 15th.
Those with the week ending date of August 1st on the second half of their two-week cycle will receive $300 first and the other $600 should arrive a few days later for the weeks ending August 8th and 15th. Claimants that were not paid for one or two weeks of the initial three week period due to excessive earnings, fully employed, or disqualified will only receive LWA payments for weeks paid.
Phase 2 (Sep 15th onwards)
Phase two began mid-September. If you did not indicate that you were unemployed or partially unemployed due to COVID-19 when you filed for unemployment, you must provide a one-time self-certification.
CA EDD will send you a time-sensitive notice, the Lost Wages Assistance Self-Certification (DE 4365LWA), in the mail or to your personal email, asking you to provide information in UI OnlineSM. Complete the information as soon possible. You might not receive LWA payments if you respond late or if the funding for this program becomes unavailable.
If we find that you are not eligible, you will receive a Notice of Determination for Lost Wages Assistance (LWA) Program
After phases one and two, the EDD will issue two additional weeks of LWA payments, recently approved by the federal government. These payments will be for weeks of unemployment between August 16 and August 29, 2020. Additionally, California is applying for a sixth week of payments for the week beginning August 30 based upon the availability of federal funds. See the latest information on the CA EDD tracker.
COVID 19 Enhanced Benefits and Payment Issues
[August 2020] The EDD announced that they have put in place unemployment support programs so that Californians on a regular UI claim can qualify for a total of 59 weeks of benefits. If eligible, you can get 26wks of regular state UI +13wks of PEUC +20wks of FED-ED. If you don’t qualify for regular UI, you can get up to 46wks of benefits w/ PUA.
EDD has reviewed the federal CARES Act and has is now compliant with the following enhanced unemployment programs:
• Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA): expands eligibility for individuals who are typically ineligible for
Unemployment benefits, for example independent contractors, and self-employed and “gig” workers. The Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) was released in California effective April 28, 2020.
• Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC): provides an additional $600 per week, on top of regular benefits, to all recipients of Unemployment Insurance; retroactive to the week ending April 4, 2020.
• Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC): provides an additional 13 weeks of Unemployment benefits to all recipients. The EDD initiated phase one of the PEUC roll-out on May 27. The department is now automatically reviewing regular UI claims in our system for those with a benefit year that started on or after June 2, 2019, and that have run out of all available benefits.
The EDD offers a wide variety of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) including those about the PUA program designed for the self-employed, as well as how eligibility for unemployment benefits can be impacted with a worker’s return to work or refusal to return to work.
If you qualify for PUA the initial payments you will receive are as follows (Phased)
- $167.00 per week, for each week from February 2, 2020 to March 28, 2020 that you were unemployed due to a COVID-19 related reason.
- $167.00 plus $600 per week, for each week from March 29, 2020 to July 25, 2020, that you are unemployed due to a COVID-19 related reason.
- $167.00 per week, for each week from July 26, 2020 to December 26, 2020, that you are unemployed due to a COVID-19 related reason, up to a total of 39 weeks (minus any weeks of regular UI and certain extended UI benefits that you have received).
If you qualify for your claim to be backdated to an earlier PUA effective date based on your last day of work, you could receive payment for prior weeks you were unemployed due to COVID-19. You will be required to provide the EDD eligibility information every two weeks. This is known as certifying for benefits.
After these initial payments, depending on your prior earnings, your weekly amount of $167.00 per week may be increased. You will have an opportunity to certify your prior income on your PUA application. The EDD is working to establish efficient procedures to determine if an increase to the weekly PUA amount will be appropriate after an individual receives the initial weekly amount. In addition to applying to future benefits, any increase from the $167 amount also applies retroactively. This means that you may also receive payment to make up the difference you should have been paid if your benefits had initially been based on the increased amount. You will be notified of any increase that you are entitled to receive.
Example: If you apply for PUA on April 28, the first day it will be available, and you certify you were unemployed due to COVID-19 since March 8, you have been unemployed for seven full weeks. If you meet the COVID-19-related criteria for PUA, we will calculate your amount as follows—
March 8 to March 28 = 3 weeks x $167/week = $501
March 29 to April 25 = 4 weeks x $167/week (with extra $600) = $3,068
TOTAL: $3,569 (from March 8 to April 25)EDD PUA
How It Works
You must submit any retroactive certifications by October 5, 2020. This will help us determine if you were eligible to receive benefits during the waived certification period.
For these waived weeks, use the retroactive certification application. Reporting wages in Ask EDD is not considered a certification. You must certify even if you did not work or earn wages.
If you do not retroactively certify, we will make a determination based on information available. If you were not eligible for benefits, you may receive a Notice of Overpayment, and you must repay the EDD.
Start Your Retroactive Certification
To retroactively certify, you will need your:
- Last name
- Date of birth
- Social Security number
Challenges with CA EDD Payments Continue
The EDD is sending the following letter to people having challenges receiving the $600 payments and/or getting extended benefits. To help navigate the mandated requirements, the EDD provided the following guidance to assist workers. It all depends on when you exhausted your benefits, and when your benefit year expires.
1. If you received your last benefit payment for weeks you spent unemployed between February 2 and March 21, but are still within the one year that your claim is good for, you could be eligible for 13 weeks of PUA benefits for the weeks you are eligible for between February 2, 2020 and March 28, 2020. While you will not be able to apply for PUA through UI Online, the EDD will send you a Notice of Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Award and a separate document you’ll need to complete to give EDD additional details that we don’t already have from you to meet PUA requirements. Watch for further updates soon.
2. If you received your last benefit payment for weeks you spent unemployed on or after March 21 and are still within your benefit year, you will not meet federal requirements for PUA. But the EDD will automatically file an extension claim for you as soon as it’s available since we will already have your information needed. You will receive a notice from EDD when that claim has been filed and when you can certify for PEUC benefit payments.
3. If you ran out of benefits before February 2 and are still within your benefit year, you most likely will not be eligible for PUA because you have to verify your unemployment is a direct result of the pandemic. However, you may be eligible for the new federal 13-week extension. The EDD will notify you of how to apply as soon as further details are available.
4. If you have run out of your benefits AND your benefit year has expired, you are encouraged to reapply for benefits through UI Online. Based on the information you provide, the EDD will determine if you qualify for a new regular UI claim based on wage data or a PUA claim.
5. If you are unable to collect regular UI benefits due to a disqualification (such as you voluntarily quit, were fired or discharged from your employer), or you are serving a false statement penalty from a past claim, you could be eligible for PUA benefits. As with group one above, you will receive a Notice of Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Award and a separate document you’ll need to complete to give the EDD additional details that we don’t already have from you to meet PUA requirements.
Yes, you could receive partial unemployment benefits if you are only able to work part time because of the pandemic. When you certify, continue to report your income, even if it is part time.
The first $25 or 25 percent of your wages, whichever is more, will not be deducted from your benefit amount, but the rest will.
For example, if you earned $100 in a week, we would not count $25 as wages and would only deduct $75 from your weekly benefit amount. For someone who has a weekly benefit amount of $450, they would be paid a reduced amount of $375.
If your weekly benefit amount is $450 but you earned at least $600 in that week, the full $450 would be deducted leaving $0 left for any unemployment benefits that week.
You can start collecting benefits, stop when you return to work, then re-open your claim (within one year from your claim start date) if you become unemployed or your hours are reduced again.
Can I file an Unemployment Insurance claim if I am self-employed, an independent contractor, or gig worker?
If you are self-employed, an independent contractor, or gig worker and are unable to work or have had your hours reduced due to COVID-19, you may be eligible for Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits under a few different scenarios:
- You chose to contribute to UI Elective Coverage and paid the required contributions to be considered potentially eligible for benefits.
- Your past employer made contributions on your behalf over the past 5 to 18 months.
- You may have been misclassified as an independent contractor instead of an employee.
When filing for your UI claim, you will be asked for your last employer.
- If you own your business or are self-employed, you should list yourself as your last employer.
- If you are an independent contractor, you should list yourself as your last employer.
- If you believe you are misclassified as an independent contractor instead of an employee, you should list the business you contract with as your last employer. Be sure to include:
- The employer name, phone number, and address.
- Type of work performed.
- Dates worked.
- Your gross wages and how you were paid (such as hourly or weekly).
- If you are a gig worker, you should list your gig employer as your last employer.
File a Claim
File a new claim if you have already applied for UI but are eligible for PUA because you are a business owner, independent contractor, self-employed worker, freelancer, or gig worker affected by COVID-19, and you have not already appealed a $0 award notice, been asked to verify your identity, or requested a wage investigation.
Filing a PEUC Claim
The PEUC extension is available until December 31, 2020. To make benefits available as quickly as possible, we are implementing the extension in two phases:
Beginning July 8, the EDDl start mailing notices to people who used all of their regular UI benefits, whose claims expired between July 6, 2019 and May 23, 2020, and who have not filed a new claim.
- If you have enough wages to qualify for a new claim, we will process your claim. You will need to certify your eligibility every two weeks to keep receiving regular UI payments.
- If you don’t qualify for a new claim, you will get a $0 award notice in the mail. Within a few days, you will get another notice showing that we automatically filed a PEUC extension for you. The notice will include the weeks that you need to certify for. You can also check your UI Online account for updates.
If you qualify and your extension is filed you will be backdated to one of the following, whichever comes later:
- March 29, 2020
- The last certification date of your expired claim
Payments and Certifying for Unemployment
After your extension is filed, you will need to certify for benefit payments. 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 filed a PUA claim because you used all your UI benefits, we will stop your PUA claim as of March 29, and will transfer you automatically to a PEUC claim. If you still have false statement penalty weeks on your regular UI claim, you are not eligible for PEUC and you will continue on the PUA claim.
If you use all your PEUC benefits, you may qualify for a FED-ED extension.
Due to the impact of COVID-19, the following temporary exceptions are in place for all Unemployment Insurance claims until further notice:
- Waiting Period – The 7-day waiting period is waived for claims beginning on or after January 19, 2020. After you submit your first two-week continued certification, you will be paid for the first week of your claim.
- Work Search – You are not required to look for work each week to be eligible for benefits.
The individual files a claim for UI benefits using one of the following methods:
- Access eApply4UI: (online is the recommended option)
Answers to questions are entered online. After the application is completed the individual submits it online to the Department. Note: This is the fastest way to file your claim.
- Contact EDD by phone:
Individuals will speak to a Department representative who will ask a series of questions and record the responses.
- Complete a paper UI Application, DE 1101I:
The application can be completed online and printed, or it can be printed and completed by hand. The application can then be faxed or mailed to the EDD for processing using the fax number or mailing address on the application.
Mail – CA EDD Unemployment Insurance
Employment Development Department
P.O. Box 826880 – UIPCD, MIC 40
Sacramento, CA 94280-0001