A. General

The California Employment Development Department (EDD) administers claims for Unemployment Insurance. Generally, those benefits are available to workers:

  1. Who have earned at least $1,300 during what the EDD refers to as the “base period;”
  2. Are unemployed (or underemployed) through no fault of their own;
  3. Ready, willing and able to accept work immediately;
  4. Actively looking for work.

Anyone who meets the eligibility criteria may be entitled to receive benefits from $40 to $450 per week for up to 26 weeks.

B. CARES ACT – Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA)

a) Changes to EligibilityGenerally, Unemployment Insurance Benefits were only available to W-2 wage earners and were not available to independent contractors or Gig workers. The PUA is one of the CARES Act provisions that helps Californians who would not otherwise be eligible for unemployment benefits to receive aid. It allows certain business owners, self-employed workers, independent contractors, who are either out of business, or have significantly reduced services as a result of the Pandemic.This assistance is also administered through the EDD and an online application may be found here.b) Additional $600 Weekly BenefitAs part of the CARES Act, applicants receiving traditional unemployment benefits will receive an additional $600 per week. Applicants will automatically receive this additional benefit without any additional application or requirement.c) Additional 13 Weeks of BenefitsThe PUA allows for an additional 13 weeks of benefits on top of the 26 weeks generally available. This brings the total available benefit weeks to 39.

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