Unemployed Californians to Receive Extra $300 In Weekly Jobless Benefits

Monday, August 31, 2020

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(Sacramento Bee)

An extra $300 per week available to California’s unemployed residents will start going out the week beginning Sept. 7.

The benefit, which will be in addition to regular weekly checks, will be rolled out in phases, so not everyone will see the extra money in two weeks.

The new amount will be nearly double the current average state unemployment benefit.

It’s only half the $600supplemental benefit unemployed claimants received from late March until late July through a federal coronavirus relief law.

The White House and Democrats can’t agree on replacing that amount in a proposed economic stimulus plan, so President Donald Trump took executive action to create the $300 payment.

Eligible beneficiaries who receive unemployment payments of more than $100 a week can qualify. They also get a payment on their regular jobless claim and must have provided self-certification that they are unemployed or partially unemployed for reasons related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The state last week processed 521,074 claims and paid out $4.3 billion.

The state’s Employment Development Department, which manages the unemployment system, did not say how long the supplemental payments would last.

The state is slated to get $4.5 billion for the Lost Wages Assistance Program from the federal government, and could receive more. EDD said last week the benefit would last a minimum of three weeks.

The first group of beneficiaries will be claimants who got payments for weeks between July 26 and August 15 and have previously given information they were unemployed because of a reason relate to COVID-19 on their initial application.

“Generally, claimants who applied for benefits mid-March would have been presented with questions about being unemployed due to a covid-19 reason,” the department said in a news release.

The second phase will involve those who were not able to indicate they were unemployed because of the pandemic but still meet the requirements for the $300.

The department plans to send them notifications, and they will be asked to complete a self-certification that would tell the state if they are unemployed for a pandemic-related reason.

These notifications are expected to go out by e-mail, text message or by mail in mid-September.

The average Californian has been receiving $347 a week in state benefits, according to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The state’s unemployment rate in July, the latest data available, was 13.3%.

Trump originally wanted states to add another $100 to the benefit, but many, including California, balked because their budgets have been devastated by the reeling economy.

Category: Economic News, COVID-19, Government Affairs