California workers struggling through pandemic receive total of $33.5 billion in unemployment benefits

 More extended unemployment benefits becoming available 

Sacramento – Workers who’ve lost their jobs or had their hours reduced during this pandemic continue to collect unemployment benefits in large numbers. The California Employment Development Department (EDD) reports paying $3.5 billion in total benefits last week alone, far surpassing the highest one-week total of benefits paid during the Great Recession which was $542 million in February 2010. So far since the pandemic struck, the EDD has processed more than 6.7 million claims and paid a total of $33.5 billion in benefits between the state’s regular Unemployment Insurance (UI) program and the federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) programs.

1. The Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) was implemented in California on April 28, 2020.This data includes initial claims only.                 

2. Claims processed through UI Online, along with about 5% of claims that arrive via paper or phone. This accounts for claims received in the current week as well as past weeks. The data also includes claims that are re-opened when there is a break in certifying for benefits, for example when the claimant may return to work but then later come back to collect benefits on their initial claim.

3. Includes $600 federal stimulus payments EDD adds to each week of regular UI/PUA/PEUC benefits. Regular UI benefits are paid out of California’s UI Trust Fund with contributions from employers, PUA, PEUC and the $600 federal stimulus payments are paid for by the federal government.                                              

4. For the week ending June 13, 2020, Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) total weeks claimed was 296,831PEUC claims are an extension of a regular UI claim.                

5. Counts include individuals claiming regular UI or PEUC benefits.  If an individual claims a regular UI benefit and a PEUC benefit in a four-week rolling time period, they are only counted once.                  

6.  Four-week rolling totals accommodate for numerous variables that dictate what claimants receive benefits in any given bi-weekly period. Data excludes claimants were who fully employed, disqualified or had excessive earnings that would disqualify them for a week of benefits.

7.  Four-week rolling total between week-ending May 30 and week-ending June 20, 2020.

8. Four-week rolling total between week-ending May 23 and week-ending June 13, 2020.                                                    

 

Additional Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits soon available for long term unemployed

The EDD is finalizing the details of a separate extension of regular UI benefits that will soon become available for those who are struggling to return to a job in the midst of this coronavirus pandemic. The Federal-State Extended Duration benefits program, known in California as FED-ED, only becomes available during times of high or prolonged periods of unemployment. It will offer up to at least 13 weeks of additional benefits for those who run out of their initial benefits on their regular state UI claim, as well as any benefits they are eligible for on the current 13-week federal Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) extension. The first week a claimant could be exhausting a current PEUC claim is next week. The EDD is sweeping our systems and will be automatically filing a new FED-ED claim for those potentially eligible. More details will become available next week.

EDD adds more staff as expedited hiring effort continues

The department is in the midst of a massive hiring effort with the goal of quickly filling more than 4,800 positions statewide over just a matter of weeks. To date, the EDD has hired almost 1,200 new staff to help bolster our ability to fully meet the historic demand for benefits created by the pandemic. Another 1,400 offers are being finalized, while about 500 others have conditional job offers as we await the results of background checks. The pandemic hit at a time of record low unemployment in California which meant low federal funding paying for low staffing levels. Fast forward a few months and an unprecedented 300% increase in the number of unemployed in California and the EDD is now receiving increased federal administrative funding to support the expedited hiring effort with the support of Cal HR. Anyone interested in positions available throughout the state should visit our Careers with EDD webpage.

Common pandemic-related confusion disrupts eligibility for ongoing benefit payments

The regular state UI, as well as federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) are both eligibility-based benefit programs. Workers who’ve lost a job or are working reduced hours through no fault of their own must certify their ongoing eligibility for benefits every two weeks before they can receive their next payment. This mandated bi-weekly process of answering basic eligibility questions is known as certifying.

While claimants receive helpful information about completing their certifications timely every two weeks, the EDD has found many common mistakes which can delay benefit payments unnecessarily as EDD staff must complete a manual review to determine if the individual is eligible for benefits.

The first question on the certification asks “Were you too sick or injured to work?”

You must be well enough to work every day of the week in order to receive unemployment benefits. But many are responding yes, they are too sick which disqualifies them from benefits for the week. During a follow up by EDD, they say they were not sick but they felt they needed to answer yes because COVID is still impacting the population. The EDD reminds claimants to avoid this delay and be sure to answer the question as it relates to your own health and availability to work.

The second question on the certification asks “Was there any reason (other than sickness or injury) that you could not have accepted full-time work each workday?”

You must be available for work to receive UI benefits. Available means you are ready and willing to accept work even though businesses may still be closed due to the pandemic. However, the EDD is finding that many claimants are again responding yes, believing they can’t accept work because of COVID.

When in actuality, they are or would be available for work when they are called upon by either their employer or a new job opportunity.

Not being available for work and willing to accept suitable work will disqualify you for benefits, unless your case meets good cause provisions for refusing work. Some examples include having no childcare as long as the individual explored all alternatives to obtain childcare (even asking for a different work schedule accommodation), or being over the age of 65 or having a serious health condition that meet high risk factors as identified by the state Department of Public Health. Visit EDD COVID FAQs for more information.

 

Other top reasons benefit payments can be delayed

  • Missing other names used – On the initial application for unemployment benefits, claimants are asked to provide any other names they may have used in their employment history, including nicknames or maiden names. The EDD verifies identity information with the Social Security Administration and DMV. If we aren’t able to match the names with information provided by the claimant, the claim will have to be diverted to the manual identity verification process which will take additional time to confirm individuals are who they say they are. To avoid these delays, the EDD reminds claimants to ensure they provide names used for a Social Security Card or driver’s license on their application. 
  • EDD return calls – If a claimant encounters an eligibility issue on their initial application or bi-weekly certification for benefits, the EDD may have to schedule a determination interview with the claimant to collect more information. The individual will be notified of the date and time by mail and receive sample questions the interviewer may ask. The call may appear as restricted or blocked due to it coming from a government source. We strongly encourage claimants to be prepared to answer their phone during the time period identified to prevent processing delays. EDD representatives will identify themselves, will relay the specific reason the call is about, and will know the individual’s customer account number.

26 thoughts on “California workers struggling through pandemic receive total of $33.5 billion in unemployment benefits

  • June 27, 2020 at 9:56 pm
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    I have not received a check since May 12. I was on hold for 4.5 hours ( after dialing 2 phones simultaneously for 3 hours. When they finally picked up, thrrr was nothing they could do! This is getting old!

    Reply
  • June 28, 2020 at 10:17 am
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    I have run of 13 weeks extension, can/do I get another extension? this will help me a lot, I am struggling to find a job as most of companies are slow or not hiring at the moment. pls respond. I been trying to contact EDD via phone for past few weeks with no luck.

    Reply
    • June 28, 2020 at 3:10 pm
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      I have run of 13 weeks extension, can/do I get another extension? this will help me a lot, I am struggling to find a job as most of companies are slow or not hiring at the moment. pls respond. I been trying to contact EDD via phone for past few weeks
      with no luck please answer so I have an idea what’s the next step. Thank you

      Reply
    • July 13, 2020 at 4:59 pm
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      Best way to contact EDD is by FAX.

      Reply
  • June 29, 2020 at 5:10 pm
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    How long does it take to get the pua increase from 167$ if Eligible?

    Reply
  • July 1, 2020 at 8:55 pm
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    I was furloughed on April 16 then I was wrongfully penalized for false penalty I filed an appeal and won June 4th ! I still haven’t been paid the difference for unemployment and pandemic weeks I’ve left emails twice a day and haven’t been replied back I’ve called and no answer ! This is truly unfair do quick to penalize me but delay in back pay is forgiven ! I’m 50 years old and struggling I work I’m a California cats room which hS not men reopened since March 26 so no I’m not t as king advantage of the 600 to stay at home !

    Reply
    • August 8, 2020 at 1:48 pm
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      Hello my name is Nathanael and I ran out of UI benefits and qualited for an extension. I certified for July 19, threw the 25th, well I still receive the additional $ 600 dollars for that week?

      Reply
  • July 1, 2020 at 10:26 pm
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    I didn’t receive checks in the beginning as oApril 16 I was furloughed and then penalized I appealed and won on June 4 ! I have not received any back pay nor a call back no a reply to my questions I submit daily ! I call from 8-12 on to have anxiety please contact me and help thank you for your attention to this matter

    Reply
  • July 2, 2020 at 4:42 am
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    I applied and apparently I really messed up my account because I can’t log in I forgot my password and the security questions aren’t working. It says I have to talk to someone at EDD after days if tryin several different phone numbers there is just no way to reach a human

    Reply
  • July 2, 2020 at 4:42 am
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    I applied and apparently I really messed up my account because I can’t log in I forgot my password and the security questions aren’t working. It says I have to talk to someone at EDD after days if tryin several different phone numbers there is just no way to reach a human

    Reply
  • July 2, 2020 at 10:50 am
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    This situation is so frustrating. I understand that there has been an unforeseen and dramatic increase in claims, but really?? Surely by now the EDD would have a handle on it.
    I filed on May 15th and have not yet seen any funds. Today is July 3rd. There is apparently a conflict in the system involving my email address. I have received my Claim award, Account number and award information, but can’t log in to UI online because of the email address conflict. I have spoken with two specialists and been put on 3 callback lists. I was given a Confirmation code for a Tech request for the error code, and received no response. I’ve never received a call back. I’ve emailed 3 times, received one reply but no resolution. I call 50 – 100 times every day. I’m doing my best to be patient, but I need a resolution to this so that I can get my payments going! What can I do??

    Reply
  • July 2, 2020 at 3:39 pm
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    Applied late March, then said did not qualify for UI. Waited to apply for PUA in early May, had no response… for some reason the Claim disappear in early June…. waited a few days no updates, so on June 5 , filed a another Claim, of course , like everyone, trying to call all the numbers I reached someone on June 19th, was told that my claim was escalated and should get a response in 3-5 days…. Of course, no response did had a weird call on Monday and Tuesday of this week, but some scratchy noise then an hangup…. don’t know … As of July 1st, my claim has disappeared again, but after the conversation with the lady, was told not to re apply… it’ll mess with the system…. Can’t reach anyone, its July 2nd , its been Over 3 months!!

    Reply
  • July 3, 2020 at 12:31 am
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    Hello,

    Currently located in Nevada, lived in California for 1.5 years previously, and prior to that was in Nevada for 4 years.

    After 2.5 months of trying to get ahold of Nevada they eventually contacted me to inform they denied my request for UI, and now stating i have to file via California. (yippy, another task!!)
    Since they already connected EDD, why wouldn’t they just redirect my file over, making this whole process easier.

    Reply
  • July 6, 2020 at 1:14 pm
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    I’ve applied in March 30th. Got my first payment for two weeks on May 17th. Have not received anything since. It’s July 5th. Two weeks of payment assistance for last 3 + months.

    You would think, they would have got a handle on this by now. You called every number they provide on the website and non has worked. When you finally get to someone on the other line, they tell you there is nothing they can do. This is a complete utter failure in so many level.

    How about let people get back to work if you can’t support those people’s industry you have effected by shutting it all down.

    Reply
    • July 20, 2020 at 9:40 am
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      This is exactly my situation to a tee dates and all.

      I cannot get a hold of them and I am suggesting a huge caravan to Sacramento.

      I don’t know what else to do.

      Reply
  • July 9, 2020 at 6:25 pm
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    After the extra 600 a week ends, I will only be receiving 167 a week in San Diego,Ca. Do you know if that can be bumped up at all? Or if they are extending the 600? The 167 a week in California will be very hard to live off with all my bills.

    Reply
    • August 24, 2020 at 9:23 pm
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      the 600 per week is done..no more from california ..all we get is your standard 167 per week..as i read as of today. california is requesting a 300 per week for california but i heard it will be only good for 3 weeks total retro to august 1..so believed only 1200 dollars total ..and that is it.

      Reply
  • July 9, 2020 at 7:16 pm
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    My original unemployment claim is coming to an end at the end of July. I can’t find a position still and wanted to know how I get the 13 week extension. Do I need to apply for it like I did the original claim? Or is it an automatic enrollment? I am trying to call and can’t get a human. I have tried contacting and no one has gotten back to a message I sent over a month ago. I just need to know if I need to do anything to receive those additional 13 weeks at the end of my original claim.

    Reply
    • July 9, 2020 at 7:56 pm
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      No you should be all set. They will automatically enroll you. Chk you portal after it runs out. It may take couple weeks..

      Reply
  • July 11, 2020 at 12:07 am
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    I was I’ll informed and didn’t think I had to certify for benefits and now have not received a payment since May 2 due to non certification. Is there any way for me to get backdated benefits for all those weeks I missed certifying? I am freaking out here.

    Reply
    • August 24, 2020 at 9:25 pm
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      used your uionline account and click on missing certification weeks and request it for those weeks

      Reply
  • July 13, 2020 at 4:20 pm
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    I’m being penalized for having medical insurance payments deducted from my paycheck. I should receive benefits on my earnings and not what I take home. Has this happened to anyone else?
    Why are 16 year olds that worked summer jobs being approved and I’ve worked my whole life and I’m penalized for medical insurance deductions. It makes no sense at all!!

    Reply
  • July 17, 2020 at 7:41 pm
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    On 3/20/20 I was furloughed due to COVID-19 I put the wrong info
    I received a letter in the mail telling me that I put the wrong information, in the meantime I did not even realize that I did it when I found out I tried to call and fix it but I couldn’t get through the lines so I paid the penalty and the fee and was put on a penalty for six weeks.
    I got a notice in the mail stating on
    04/26/20 was the start of my penalty weeks I was fined six weeks my normal award was 450 a week and a $600 fed boost
    On 5/08/20 I got a notice in the mail stating that I was put on PUA for my penalty weeks my new award for those 6 penalty weeks it got put to $167 a week plus the $600 fed boost.

    On 4/26/20 was the first week of my penalty I was paid $767.00

    On 5/09/20 was second week of my penalty I was paid $767.00

    On 5/16/20 was third week of my penalty I was paid $767.00

    On 5/23/20 was the fourth week of my penalty I was paid $767.00

    On 5/30/20 I was not paid they didn’t give me away to certify for benefits I should’ve received $767.00 that should’ve been the fifth week of my penalty)
    In the meantime I contacted them every day sent emails tried to call them no response

    On 6/06/20 I was not paid didn’t give me a way to certify for benefits I should’ve received $767.00 that should’ve been my sixth week of penalty
    Again I attempted to get a hold of them by email and phone can’t get through no responses

    On 6/13/20 I did not receive any way to certify for benefits this would’ve been my first week at full benefits which is $ 450 per week plus the $600 fed boost

    Again I attempted to get a hold of them by email and phone can’t get through no responses

    On 6/20/20 I did not receive any certify for benefits this would’ve been my 2nd week at full benefits which is $ 450 per week plus
    The $600 fed boost

    Again I attempted to get a hold of them by email and phone can’t get through no responses

    On 7/04/20 I was not paid it said that it was because of my penalty weeks which should’ve been over two weeks ago this week should’ve been at full benefits which is $ 450 per week plus The $600 fed boost

    Again I attempted to get a hold of them by email and phone can’t get through no responses

    On 7/11/20 I was not paid website said that it was because of my penalty weeks which should’ve been over 06/06/20 this week I should have been at full benefits which is $ 450 per week plus The $600 fed boost

    In the meantime I have been calling every day for 300-500 times a day contacting them every day by email contacting Gavin Newsom every day by email no responses I’m 63 don’t I’m extremely mad at how they’re treating everyone I wonder if you took their money away for the same amount of time how would they feel?

    Reply
    • August 24, 2020 at 9:28 pm
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      do you your certifiy online on the edd uioline? make a account online as it is the best way for you to make changes and input information much quicker

      Reply
  • August 8, 2020 at 1:49 pm
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    Hello my name is Nathanael and I ran out of UI benefits and qualited for an extension. I certified for July 19, threw the 25th, well I still receive the additional $ 600 dollars for that week?

    Reply
  • August 31, 2020 at 8:41 pm
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    I fild back in june and backdated to the last day i worked in march. I received my first payment on the pandemic in july. Everything after that has been a nightmare. I have been being paid from an old claim while i was in school. This claim expired in 03/2013. The weekly benefit amount was only $77 per week $154 for 2 wks. I keep calling telling them that they are not paying me on the pandemic claim. At one point i thought it had been fixed cuz i received one of my back payments only to have to call them again to find out why i am still getting paid from the expired claim and when i would be getting my pandemic pay and back pay only to find out that they disqualified me. Saying on my application wasn’t covid 19 related. It is related. I have to drive to an area that was quarantined and that there was a shelter in place order.Now i have to file an appeal thst could take up to 19 weeks to get a determination. This has got to be a mistake or misunderstanding. They already said that it isn’t my fault and that if i win the appeal all would be retroactive. Yeah right. I havent received the first 12 weeks of retro pay. How are the going to be able to pay me retro retro. Damn!!

    Reply

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