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California to Send Additional $300 Weekly Unemployment Benefit

Courtesy photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash

Unemployed Californians may soon receive an additional $300 weekly supplement from the Employment Development Department (EDD).

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) approved the state’s application and will provide an initial amount of $4.5 billion, with the possibility of additional funding going forward.

The additional $300-a-week payment will be available for a limited period of time, a minimum of three weeks, for those currently eligible to receive at least $100 per week in benefits and who have provided a self-certification that they are unemployed or partially

unemployed due to disruptions caused by COVID-19.

The supplement will be available for weeks of unemployment dating back to Aug. 1. The EDD will begin processing payments in phases for eligible individuals beginning Sept. 7, 2020.

The first phase will cover claims from people who previously provided information that they were unemployed due to a COVID-19 related reason on their initial application and have already received their regular state or federal unemployment payments for benefit weeks between July 26 and Aug. 15. Generally, those who applied for benefits mid-March would have been presented with questions about being unemployed due to a COVID-19 reason.

The second phase will cover people who did not have the opportunity to indicate they were unemployed due to a COVID-19 reason on their initial application and still meet the minimum $100 weekly benefit amount eligibility requirement. The EDD will be sending notifications to complete a one-time self-certification to inform the department of unemployment due to disruptions caused by COVID-19.

The EDD will send out notifications by email, SMS text message, or by mail to gather this information in mid-September. The EDD suggests that self-certification be submitted through the UI Online account for faster processing.

According to reporting from the Associated Press, the EDD is not answering 60% of the calls it receives “as the overwhelmed department struggles to work through a backlog of more than 1 million pending claims five months into the pandemic.”

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