Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA)
The Employment Development Department (EDD) is offering the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program for unemployed Californians who are business owners, self-employed, independent contractors, have limited work history, and others not usually eligible for regular state UI benefits who are out of business or services due to the pandemic. Learn more about the program here. For the required forms you will need, view here.
If you applied to general unemployment insurance prior to 4/28/20, you MUST reapply to PUA.
- Provides 39 weeks of benefits between 02/02/2020 and 12/26/20.
- A 13-week extension doesn’t apply because it’s woven into the program.
- No waiting period.
- Claims are automatically backdated to the Sunday prior to the first date the claimant was directly impacted by COVID-19.
- Can only go back as far as 02/02/2020 to coincide with the effective date of the program. (For CA, most were impacted in mid-Mar.)
- The minimum weekly benefit amount is $167. (Everyone gets this.)
- Claimants need to report their 2019 *net* income when filing. (Estimates are fine.)
- To be considered for a higher WBA up to $450, verifiable income documentation will be required.
- Still working on the process to get docs to EDD, but will make it retroactive to the date the claim began.
- $600 weekly stimulus applies but only between 3/29/20 and 7/25/20.
- EDD will automatically certify all weeks ending between 3/14/2020 and 05/09/20 to expedite payment processing.
- If wages are earned during this time, must report using Ask EDD (online tool).
- Payments will be made through the EDD Debit Card; allow at least 5 business days for mail time once the first payment is authorized.
- Can be a bit difficult to know whether you are applying for PUA as it isn’t prominent on application
- Be sure to answer NO to the following question if you are self-employed/1099, etc.
- If you worked today, you should indicate the name of the employer you worked for today
- BUSINESS OWNER, SELF-EMPLOYED, INDEPENDENT CONTRACTOR OR GIG WORKER: If you had no employment(i.e. if you did not receive a W-2) in the last 18 months and are applying for PUA, then click No below.
- There is an option to save application draft; keep doing this throughout in case system freezes, etc.
- Don’t forget to refresh the page
- You might get an error/not available at this time announcement. The system is also knocking people off and asking them to try back in one hour.
- Answer no to Question 7 – Have you been employed in the last 18 months. If you made a mistake on this question on a previous application, EDD is reporting there is no need to go back and fix this on your end. The system has been corrected.
- If you have an existing UI account, you don’t need to open up a new one in order to apply for PUA
- Net income is gross income minus all allowable deductions by the IRS, including rent, gas, phone bills, etc. Bottom line, it’s what you pay taxes on. Again, an estimate is OK here.
- I filed previously and received a letter stating I had zero benefits afforded to me. I understand now that when I filed the system was not set up for self-employed claims. Should I open a new claim or update my existing claim? Yes, please. EDD will automatically backdate your claim to the Sunday preceding the first date your business/employment was impacted by COVID-19. However, PUA claims can’t begin any earlier than 02/02/2020.
- If I file a new claim, should I cancel my existing claim? No. EDD updated the system to allow you to submit a new claim without canceling the previous one.
For more information, contact the EDD Assistance Center at 1-866-333-4606 between the hours of 8 AM – 5 PM.
The Employment Development Department (EDD) is providing payroll assistance for employers who are experiencing hardship as a result of COVID-19. Therefore, employers may request a 60-day extension to file their payroll reports and taxes. For more information take a look at our downloadable resources down below or call the EDD Taxpayer Assistance Center at 1-888-745-3886 (toll-free).
The Small Business Administration (SBA) is a U.S. government agency that provides support to entrepreneurs and small businesses. They are offering up to $2M in disaster loans for small businesses that have been impacted by COVID-19; this loan can help alleviate some of the economic injury caused by this pandemic.
The state of California’s CA Infrastructure and Economic Development Bank’s (IBANK) Disaster Relief Loan Guarantee Program (DRLGP) for small businesses is also accepting applications from those whose business has been negatively impacted by COVID-19.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has also provided information regarding the health and safety of all workers during this pandemic. On their website, they describe the different actions that employees can take to financially help and protect themselves from the changing shape of the workplace. Employers may also feel free to download the OSHA guide on preparing workplaces for COVID-19 in the section below.
Employers may also apply for the Unemployment Insurance Work Sharing Program implemented from the EDD. This will aid those whose hours and wages have been reduced receive unemployment insurance benefits, keep their current jobs, and reduce their risk for financial strain. This program will also help employers keep their current employees and reduce the need to layoff their workers.