EDD language access

The Employment Development Department (EDD) has agreed to several measures to increase language access.  EDD will continue to provide no-cost language interpreter services in any language; expand existing in-language phone lines that currently include Cantonese, English, Mandarin, Spanish and Vietnamese to include Armenian, Korean and Tagalog; and translate unemployment insurance documents for claimants into 15 non-English languages.

EDD is also building a multilanguage web portal, establishing a Language Access Office, and convening a multilingual advisory board. (News Release 22-11, February 28, 2022.)

Verification of self-employment for people who received PUA

People who received Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) were required to submit documentation showing their work history.  Starting on November 10, 2021, the Employment Development Department (EDD) will send notices by email, text message and UI Online to people who must submit their proof of work history.

In general, notices will go to PUA claimants whose claim started in 2020 and who collected benefits after December 27, 2020, and PUA claimants whose claim started in 2021. People who filed for PUA in 2021 will be required to provide documentation of their 2020 work history even if they have already provided wage information.  People who filed PUA claims after January 31, 2021 will have 21 days to submit proof of work history or request an extension.  People who filed claims before January 31, 2021 will have 90 days to submit proof of work history or request an extension. Claimants can request more time by going to the UI Online homepage and selecting “Request More Time” in the “Upload Employment Documents” section.

Documents that can be used to prove self-employment include but are not limited to business licenses, tax returns, business receipts or invoices, signed affidavits verifying self-employment, contracts or agreements, or bank statements from a business account.

Documents that can be used to prove plans for self-employment include but are not limited to business licenses, state or federal employment identification numbers, written business plans, or lease agreements.

Notices will give the exact time periods that proof work history must be submitted and deadlines for submission or for requesting an extension of time to submit documentation.  EDD will acknowledge receipt of submitted information and will follow-up with a communication indicating whether the documentation was sufficient.

If the claimant does not respond to the notice, a follow-up notice will be mailed.  Failure to respond to the notice could result in a finding that the claimant was ineligible for PUA and an allegation of an overpayment of benefits.  In those situations, EDD will send a Notice of Determination which can be appealed.  If the claimant is found to be ineligible for PUA, EDD will send a Notice of Potential Overpayment which will give the claimant another opportunity to submit information.  If EDD confirms an overpayment, the claimant will receive a Notice of Overpayment which gives the opportunity to appeal or request waiver of the overpayment.  (News Release 21-64, November 5, 2021.)

End of federal pandemic unemployment benefits and federal extension benefits

Federal unemployment benefits because of the COVID-19 pandemic end on September 4, 2021.  The programs ending on September 4, 2021 are Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), Pandemic Unemployment Emergency Compensation (PEUC), Pandemic Unemployment Compensation, and Mixed Earner Unemployment Compensation (MEUC).  The Employment Development Department will accept application for PUA for 30 days thereafter for benefits for before September 4.  Any pending claims for these benefits will be processed after the September 4 deadline if the claimant is later determined eligible.

The 20-week FED-ED extension will also expire because California’s economic conditions no longer meet the threshold for FED-ED.  The 7-week FED-ED extension will end on August 8, 2021.  The 13-week FED-ED extension will likely end on September 4. FED-ED extensions will be recalculated to a maximum 13 weeks starting August 8, but likely will not be payable after September 4.

Full federal reimbursement for the Work Sharing program also expires on September 4.  Federal funding to support reimbursement for employers who do not contribute to the State Trust Fund also expires on September 4.  (EDD News Release 21-39, July 30, 2021.)

Mixed Earner Unemployment Compensation

The Employment Development Department (EDD) began accepting applications for the Mixed Earner Unemployment Compensation (MEUC) on June 30, 2021.  MEUC pays an extra $100 per week in supplemental unemployment benefits to people who earned both regular wages and more than $5,000 in self-employment wages.

 

Starting June 30, EDD will begin sending text messages and emails to claimants who may qualify for MEUC.  Paper applications will be mailed to people who are not online.  Claimants will have until September 6, 2021 to apply for MEUC. (EDD News Release 21-38, June 25, 2021.)

Resuming work search requirement for Unemployment Insurance

The Employment Development Department (EDD) is resuming the work search requirement for Unemployment Insurance starting July 11, 2021.  EDD will be sending notices to claimants to inform them that the work search requirement will be reinstated.

For Unemployment Insurance, reasonable efforts to search for suitable work will include preparing for job searches such as setting up an account on CalJOBS, expanding networks, applying for suitable work and participating in training.

For Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, the work search requirement can include rebuilding businesses, expanding networks, establishing accounts on platforms to advertise services, and participating in training.  Persons receiving Pandemic Unemployment Assistance who no longer want to continue self-employment, or were previously employed but not eligible for regular Unemployment Insurance benefits, can search for work like a regular Unemployment Insurance recipient.

If an employer furloughed or laid off workers during the pandemic, the Work Sharing Program can help bring these employees back at reduced hours. These employees can continue collecting the additional $300 per week in federal unemployment benefits, and a portion of their wages will be subsidized by the regular unemployment insurance benefits.  (EDD News Release 21-36, June 17, 2021.)

Change to unemployment insurance reapplication requirement

The California Employment Development Department (EDD) will now automatically process benefits from claimants who have not earned wages in the last 18 months, regardless of the type of claim, without needing to reapply for benefits. These claimants will need to continue certifying for benefits, and EDD will notify them when the additional benefit weeks are processed.

Claimants who have earned wages in the last 18 months must still reapply for benefits, even if they currently have are on either a PEUC or FED-ED benefits extension. EDD will then establish a new regular claim or deliver extended federal benefits on their behalf. All claimants will be notified if they need to reapply. Claimants can go to UI online and attempt to “File New Claim” to find out if they need to reapply. The application will proceed if a new application is necessary. Claimants can also use the Unemployment Insurance Benefit Calculator to see if they must reapply.

EDD also stated that, while there currently is no job search requirement, the requirement will return soon. EDD has a job search toolbox that can assist with employment searches. (EDD News Release No. 21-33, May 27, 2021.)