Last week, we received new updates from the Employment Development Department (EDD) about the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program.
Part of the CARES Act, this program helps provide unemployment benefits to business owners, independent contractors, self-employed, and others who do not typically qualify for unemployment benefits.
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act became law on March 27, 2020, as a $2.2 trillion economic stimulus package to support individuals and businesses affected by COVID-19. The Act provides federal dollars at this time of crisis to state unemployment insurance benefit (UI) programs and to individuals who would not normally have this assistance.
Separate from the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), the CARES Act makes significant changes to unemployment benefits. For example, the CARES Act allows states to opt into an agreement to receive enhanced UI benefits and Pandemic Unemployment Assistance funded by the federal government.
The EDD began accepting online applications for PUA on Tuesday, April 28, 2020. Additionally, the EDD provided the following clarification for the PUA program:
- The minimum weekly benefit is $167 for each week unemployed – subject to eligibility requirements.
- Applicants must provide verifiable income documentation to apply for a higher weekly benefit amount up to $450.
- The PUA program provides up to 39 weeks of benefits between February 2, 2020, to December 26, 2020.
- If you applied for UI benefits prior to April 28th you are encouraged to reapply.
- Claimants will need to report their 2019 net income when filing. An estimate is sufficient for this.
- There is no waiting period.
- EDD will automatically certify all weeks ending between March 14, 2020, and May 9, 2020, to expedite payment processing. If wages were earned during this time, they must be reported to Ask EDD.
- EDD payments will be made through an EDD Debit Card. Recipients should allow at least five days for mail time once the first payment is authorized.
We know that the weeks to come will bring unexpected challenges for the business community as a whole due to the Coronavirus. However, we are prepared to respond to these challenges as they arise. Additionally, we will continue to provide ongoing communications as more details unfold.
Finally, if you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact us at (866) 946.2032 or by emailing our support team. And don’t forget to follow us out on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn for even more Coronavirus and business updates!