The California Employment Development Department (EDD) is now accepting applications for the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program. As you may know, PUA was made available by the CARES Act and provides emergency unemployment insurance benefits for the millions of American workers who have lost their jobs due to coronavirus. For more information about the PUA and the latest updates on its availability in California you can visit the California Labor & Workforce Development Agency’s (LWDA) website here.
To apply for the unemployment insurance (UI), you can visit the EDD website here. If you are having difficulties with the application process, or have concerns regarding EDD, I encourage you to contact your state representatives, as they have jurisdiction over California governmental agencies. You can identify your state representatives here.
Additionally, I will be hosting a telephone town hall with local health and employment experts on Tuesday, May 5 at 3:00 p.m. PST to discuss the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and how to access the resources that are available to you, including PUA benefits. If you would like to participate please call (855) 962-1140 at the time of the event or you can stream the event at garamendi.house.gov or facebook.com/repgaramendi. Below are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions regarding the new benefits made available through the CARES Act.
- What support is included in the new UI benefits? Through July 31, 2020, the federal government will provide a temporary Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) of $600 a week for any worker eligible for state or federal UI benefits. The FPUC will be paid in addition to regular state or federal UI benefits. The federal supplement will not affect eligibility for Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program.
- Am I eligible for the expanded UI? In addition to those who are eligible for traditional UI, the CARES Act expanded eligibility for unemployment benefits to include self-employed individuals, independent contractors, “gig economy” employees, and individuals who were unable to start a new job or contract due to the pandemic.
- I am already receiving UI; will I be eligible for the expanded benefits? The expanded UI provides an additional 13 weeks of unemployment benefits to workers who need support beyond what is provided for by traditional UI.
For additional information about these federally expanded unemployment benefits, you can visit the Department of Labor’s website here. I have also put together a comprehensive list of tools you can use to learn more about the resources available to you during this time of crisis. You can access these federal, state, and local county resources on my website here.
If you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 or may have had contact with a person with COVID-19, please call your health care provider or local public health department first before seeking medical care so that appropriate precautions can be taken.
Please stay safe and comply with notices from public health officials. It is an honor to serve you, and together we can get through this emergency.
Member of Congress