Disappointed With Your EDD Award? Check if You Qualify for These New Expanded Benefits.

By Rachel Puryear, Attorney at Law

If you applied for unemployment benefits hoping for needed relief, but were disappointed with your award (maybe you even got $0); you might want to give it another try. California’s Unemployment Development Department has just implemented its Pandemic Unemployment Assistance benefits as of April 28, 2020, to give relief to people who did not qualify for regular unemployment benefits – including people who are self-employed, people who had a new job offer fall through because of Shelter-in-Place, or you or someone in your household has health issues due to Covid-19.

Woman reading a letter and looking disappointed.

Here is some information about regular Unemployment benefits, and also the new Pandemic Unemployment Assistance benefits (PUA), straight from EDD’s helpful benefits guide page. Apply for regular unemployment or PUA benefits here (English) or here (Spanish). If you are not sure which one you qualify for, or whether you qualify for more than one; apply for all that you might qualify for:

Unemployment Insurance (UI)

You may be eligible for regular UI if you have income reported on a W2 and you meet any of these:

  • Your employment status has been affected by COVID-19 and you are fully or partially unemployed as a result.
  • You are fully or partially unemployed. This includes layoffs, furloughs, reduced wages, or reduced hours. You can still receive unemployment benefits while working, depending on your pay.
  • Your child’s school is closed, and you need to miss work to care for them.
  • Your previous UI claim has expired.

If you’re already receiving UI, review Receive your benefits to learn how your UI claim may be affected by COVID-19.

Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA)

If you are a business owner, independent contractor, self-employed worker, freelancer, or gig worker and only received a 1099 tax form last year, you are most likely eligible for PUA.

Apply for PUA if your work situation changed because of COVID-19, and you meet any of these:

  • You had a definite date to begin work, but the job is no longer available, or you could not reach the job as a direct result of COVID-19.
  • You are unable to travel to your job as a direct result of COVID-19.
  • You quit your job as a direct result of COVID-19.
  • Your workplace is closed as a direct result of COVID-19.
  • You are unemployed, partially employed, or unable to work because COVID-19 has forced you to stop working.

Apply for PUA if you have health issues because of COVID-19, and you meet any of these:

  • You have been diagnosed with COVID-19 or are experiencing symptoms and are seeking a medical diagnosis.
  • A member of your household has been diagnosed with COVID-19.
  • You are caring for a family member or a member of your household who has been diagnosed with COVID-19.
  • You are caring for a dependent during the work day because their school or another care facility has closed due to COVID-19.
  • Your healthcare provider has told you to self-quarantine because of COVID-19.
  • You have become the main income provider due to a COVID-19 death in your household.

As always, dear readers, be safe and healthy out there. Please help keep everyone safe by observing official recommendations for social distancing, sheltering in place, covering your face in public, and practicing proper hygiene. Please also help others where you can in ways big and small, and ask for help if you need it. We will all get through this together. Thank you for reading, and for following me. I hope you enjoyed this, and learned something valuable.

** Got a legal subject or question you are curious about? Email it to me at admin@freerangelaw.net. Your question may be discussed in a future blog post!

Please note that the above is offered for educational purposes only. The information presented may not take into account every exception, variation, or complication which could apply to someone’s legal matters. Accordingly, nothing in this post or blog is ever intended as, nor should be construed by or relied upon by anyone, as legal advice. If you need legal advice, please consult an attorney who can give you assistance specific to your needs.


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