COVID-19 Information about Lost Wage Assistance, change to certification form and fraud changes

The Employment Development Department (EDD) has issued information about Lost Wage Assistance (LWA), change to certification form and fraud reporting.  LWA is the temporary $300 per week benefit pursuant to presidential executive order.  EDD is paying LWA benefits based on the order in which EDD received certification forms for Unemployment Insurance or Pandemic Unemployment Assistance for the three week period July 26 to August 15.  People who have certified for those weeks that their full or partial unemployment is because of COVID-19 will receive LWA payments first.  Claimants must also have a weekly benefit award of at least $100 per week to be eligible for LWA.

Claimants who submitted their certification for all three of those weeks at the same time will receive one lump sum check of $900.  Claimants who did not submit their certification for all three of those weeks at the same time will have their payments split in two depending on when certifications for those three weeks was submitted.

Starting September 15, EDD will start accepting self-attestations for claimants who had not yet verified that their full or partial unemployment was because of COVID-19 (phase 2).  EDD will be sending email, texts or mailed notices advising claimants to complete the self-attestation online through their UI Online account or to mail a paper form.

After phase 1 and phase 2 payments are made, EDD will distribute two more weeks of LWA payments.  More information will be coming about when to expect these additional two weeks of benefits.  California has requested a 6th week of LWA benefits contingent on availability of federal funds.  EDD will issue additional information if this is approved.

EDD has issued a new certification form for people receiving Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA).  The new form requires PUA recipients to attest each week that they are unemployed as a direct result of COVID-19.

EDD will no longer automatically backdate new PUA claims because of fraud concerns.  To backdate a PUA claim, claimants can submit an online inquiry through AskEDD, select Unemployment Insurance, the claims question subcategory, and then the topic backdate the effective date of my claim due to COVID-19.  Claimants can also speak to a representative by calling 833-978-2511 or other numbers listed on the Contact EDD page.

People who are concerned that fraud is occurring on their EDD account can send any fraudulent documents to EDD investigators at P.O. Box 826880, MIC 43, Sacramento, CA 94280-0225.  (EDD News Release 20-46, September 10, 2020.)