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If you are unemployed, the California Employment Development Department (EDD) has news for you. Extended federal unemployment benefits that Congress approved and the President signed into law on December 27 is starting to roll out. 

Beginning today, Monday Jan 11 and stretching out over a two week period, Californians out of work or working reduced hours in this historic pandemic will be able continue on or file new claims for expanded Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) extension benefits.

Those who apply and are approved will also receive the [new] extra $300 Federal Additional Compensation (PAC) payments with their weekly benefits.

“As the EDD has done in expediting the first new federal $300 supplemental payments for Californians and their families during this difficult time, we are committed to implementing these extended benefits as quickly as possible,” said new EDD Director Rita Saenz.

“Since Sunday, the EDD has issued a total of more than $138 million in supplemental payments to about 461,000 claimants in need.” The extra payments were first added to each week of regular Unemployment Insurance (UI) or FED-ED extension benefits that impacted workers were collecting and will now be phased in for weeks of PUA and PEUC benefits claimants receive for weeks of unemployment starting December 27 (covering the week that the bill was signed by the President) through the week ending March 13.

The EDD will let claimants know via email, text, or mailed notices when they can certify for benefit payments under these programs. The upcoming second phase for the expansion of PUA and PEUC will include those who exhausted their claims for these benefits prior to the end of the federal CARES Act but now could become eligible for the new additional 11 weeks of benefits starting with the week of December 27.

There are a few new provisions to be implemented for the PUA program intended to support business owners, the self-employed, independent contractors and others who don’t qualify for regular UI but were impacted by one of the federally accepted COVID-19 reasons.

Those provisions include: - A new federal requirement that current PUA claimants and individuals applying for a new claim will need to submit proof of employment or self-employed documentation.