Federal and state government agencies have expanded unemployment assistance for those affected by COVID-19:
Pandemic Unemployment Assistance
Benefits Now Open to Independent Contractors, Self-Employed and Business Owners
- EDD is now accepting applications for the PUA program.
- Independent contractors, individuals who are business owners, self-employed, have limited work history, and those who are not currently eligible for state unemployment benefits are eligible for PUA. Apply here.
- Individuals who are currently receiving unemployment insurance payments no longer have to recertify their claims every two weeks to keep receiving the money.
- This applies to the dates for weeks ending March 14 through May 9.
- If you work during this time period, you will still have to report the earnings to EDD. For more information visit the EDD website.
Here are some answers to frequently asked questions regarding unemployment benefits:
Q: Who qualifies for PUA?
A: Independent contractors, individuals who are business owners, self-employed, have limited work history, and those who are not currently eligible for state unemployment benefits are eligible for PUA. PUA provides a minimum "base benefit" of $167 per week for people in this part of the workforce, including part-time workers, affected by the virus. On top of their base benefit, affected workers will receive $600 per week in unemployment assistance through the end of July.
Q: How long will it take to start receiving PUA benefits?
A: Qualified applicants will be able to receive their benefits within one to two days upon determination of eligibility.
Q: Do furloughed workers qualify for unemployment?
A: EDD encourages furloughed workers to file an unemployment insurance claim. Those who are temporarily unemployed and are expected to return to work with their employer within a few weeks are not required to actively seek work each week provided they remain able, available, and ready to work during their unemployment for each week of benefits claimed and meet all other eligibility criteria.
For more information visit the EDD website.
EDD call center hours and days have been expanded. Representatives will be answering calls 7 days a week from 8 a.m. - 8 p.m.
If you are unable to work due to caring for a quarantined family member or due to having COVID-19, you can file a Disability Insurance claim with the State of California Employment Development Department here.