Economic Recovery Bill Makes More CA Workers Eligible for Unemployment Insurance

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Source: Office of Senator Dianne Feinstein

Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) today released the following statement on unemployment benefits for self-employed, part-time and gig workers included in the coronavirus response legislation:

“The $2 trillion coronavirus stimulus signed into law last week includes new unemployment benefits for self-employed, part-time and gig workers who in the past haven’t been eligible for such benefits. These workers were made eligible because the economic damage caused by the coronavirus isn’t discriminating between different types of workers and so neither should federal benefits.

“In California, more than 2 million workers are self-employed and 3.4 million work a part-time job. The state is also home to millions of so-called ‘gig workers,’ independent contractors who work through online platforms such as Uber and Lyft. These non-traditional workers comprise as much as one- quarter of all workers in the state.

“I encourage all Californians who have lost their jobs because of the pandemic to apply for unemployment benefits if needed. Even if you weren’t eligible in the past, you may be now.”

Frequently Asked Questions (compiled by Democratic committee staff):

How do I file for unemployment insurance?

Californians can apply for unemployment benefits through the California Employment Development Department.

The best way to begin the process is by going online and clicking HERE. Claims can be filed online Sunday 5 a.m. to 8:30 p.m., Monday 4 a.m. to 10 p.m., Tuesday through Friday 2 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Saturday 2 am to 8 p.m.

How much can I get from Unemployment Insurance?

The exact amount you can receive through unemployment insurance depends on your state and your previous earnings. Between now and July 31, an additional $600 will be added to every unemployment compensation check, so no one eligible will receive less than $600 per week.

What if I’m not eligible for traditional Unemployment Insurance?

The CARES Act temporarily expands unemployment insurance to cover individuals who are not traditionally covered, including the self-employed, gig-workers, independent contractors, and workers with irregular work histories. It also expands the list of allowable criteria for claiming unemployment compensation to include many reasons related to the COVID-19 public health emergency. Contact the unemployment office in the state where you worked to determine your eligibility.

What if I’ve been out of work because of COVID-19 for several weeks already?

If you exhaust the weeks of unemployment compensation available to you through your state’s laws, you will be eligible for an additional 13 weeks of benefits. These benefits will be federally-funded, but you will still receive them through your state.

How long will the expanded benefits be in place? 

Expanded eligibility for unemployment insurance will be in effect until December 31, 2020. A $600 additional benefit will be added to unemployment compensation received for weeks between when the bill is enacted and July 31, 2020.

Is there a waiting period? 

The CARES Act includes incentives for states to waive the waiting week between applying for unemployment compensation and receiving it. Contact the unemployment office in the state where you worked to determine whether there will be a waiting week.

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a-1591058711 Apr 01, 2020 12:01 AM
Economic Recovery Bill Makes More CA Workers Eligible for Unemployment Insurance

So does this mean that some people will actually make more $$ on unemployment than they make if they kept working? Asking b/c someone I know is trying to keep an employee in their job and the employee seems not to want to continue working as it appears she can make more on unemployment [this is remote work btw so it's not a safety issue].

SantaBarbaraObserver Apr 01, 2020 09:15 AM
Economic Recovery Bill Makes More CA Workers Eligible for Unemployment Insurance

Yes. If you make almost nothing, you may get a tiny amount more during the emergency. For a few months... The question is not if we should we be paying people to sit at home (that is the smart thing to do), its why does your friend pay their employees so little that such a tiny increase is appealing? The solution is for your friend to pay their employees enough to survive during these times and more if they are on the front lines of the pandemic. But the right solution is for them to shutter their business and wait for this to pass to protect the lives of the people who work for them as well as the community at large. And if its an essential service? Pay them more! Grocery store workers pay should be doubled immediately. They are putting their lives at risk to feed us. Pay them!

RHS Apr 01, 2020 08:53 AM
Economic Recovery Bill Makes More CA Workers Eligible for Unemployment Insurance

Anonymous right wing criticism such as this should be identified as such. This is a bogeyman of the Tea Party wing of the GOP. Even if it is true (that people might make more by not working for a time) the massive good done by the payments to actual workers instead of corporation handouts is critically important in this emergency. Petty criticisms do not override the good being done here.

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