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$600 federal stimulus funds for unemployed ending
Parents of school children may be eligible for benefits if employment impacted by school closures

Those individuals receiving unemployment insurance payments are about to see a drop in their checks as the federal stimulus funds come to an end.

The extra $600 federal stimulus payments are known as Pandemic Additional Compensation in California and are coming to an end as of Sunday. The $600 was automatically added to unemployment insurance checks.

Claimants certifying for benefits for next week and beyond will only receive the maximum weekly benefit amount they qualify for on their regular unemployment insurance, extension, or PUA claim. Those weekly amounts range from $40 to $450 a week for regular UI and from $167 to $450 for PUA, depending on income earned previously.

If an individual runs out of the up to 26 weeks of benefits available on their regular UI claim, another round of benefits is available to 13 weeks on the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation extension provided by the federal government until the end of the year. If an individual runs out of PEUC benefits, up to another 20 weeks of benefits are available on a FED-ED extension if the individual meets eligibility requirements. The EDD is sweeping the system daily to identify these individuals and proactively file an extension claim where possible. Claimants will be sent notices in the mail as well as provided updates on their UI Online accounts.

To help keep customers informed on when either a PEUC extension or a FED-ED extension has been filed on their behalf, the EDD is also sending them text messages.

State legislation AB 103 helped maximize federal unemployment support available through this pandemic, allowing another seven weeks of benefits to be added to PUA for eligible self-employed individuals and others who don’t qualify for a regular UI claim. The EDD is working to complete programming needed to increase the maximum PUA benefits available from 39 weeks to up to 46 weeks until the PUA program sunsets at the end of the year.

Working parents or guardians may be eligible for unemployment benefits if their child’s school is shut down or offering distance learning only and parents have to miss work to care for their child. These individuals can apply for UI benefits through UI Online and our EDD representatives will determine eligibility on a case-by-case basis by potentially scheduling a phone interview for more information if needed.

If a parent or guardian quits a job, the EDD is required by law to determine if the individual had “good cause” for doing so before determining potential eligibility for UI benefits. Generally, an individual must continue to remain able and available to work in order to be eligible for benefit payments. But individuals could qualify for benefits if, for example, there are no other options for child care available. 

If an employer has temporarily allowed a parent or guardian to work less than full-time hours due to a child care situation, those individuals could be considered eligible for reduced unemployment benefits. That would all depend on the amount of the individual’s weekly earnings and whether he or she meets all other eligibility requirements. The first $25 or 25 percent of wages, whichever is the greater amount, is not counted as wages earned and will not be reduced from a UI weekly benefit amount. For example, if the individual earned $100 in a week, the Department would not count $25 as wages and would only deduct $75 from the weekly benefit amount. For someone who has a weekly benefit amount of $450, the individual would be paid a reduced amount of $375.

In the event that an individual is not eligible for regular UI benefits and they have primary caregiving responsibility for a child who is unable to attend school as a direct result of COVID-19, Pandemic Unemployment Assistance benefits may be available. 

Unemployment benefits that support workers out of a job or working reduced hours in this historic pandemic have now reached a total of approximately $50 billion paid since March. Just last week alone, the California Employment Development Department paid $4.1 billion in benefits, about $3.5 billion more than the highest week of the Great Recession ($542 million in February 2010).

The EDD has processed a total of 8.7 million claims in the last four and half months between the regular Unemployment Insurance program, extensions, and the separate Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program – more than the entire highest year of the recession (8.1 million in 2010).