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The New Stimulus (Continued Assistance Act)

Updated: Feb 9, 2021

Top Questions:


General Questions


What is this new stimulus called?

  • Continued Assistance Act (CAA)

When will I see changes to my account?

  • NEW 1/8/20 - EDD announced some claimants will begin seeing changes on Monday, January 11. Claimants will begin seeing changes over the next two weeks.

Will I miss out on benefits???

  • On their website they say there will be no gap in benefits, so it is unlikely you will miss out.

Should I apply for a new claim?

  • You can only apply for a new claim if you 1) made enough wages last year to establish a new claim and 2) your claim year is expired

  • If you are part of the group of regular UI people who have applied in March 2020, that means your claim year will end March 2021 -- meaning your claim year DID NOT expire. So you CANNOT apply for a new claim. This is for regular claimants only -- not PUA

  • If you are PUA, you need to wait for implementation. Check your account for notices.

If you want to figure out whether or not you made enough wages in 2020 to establish a new claim, you can use the tools on our website or use EDD's calculator



Should I apply for PUA?

  • The only time you would "apply for PUA" is if you are self-employed, 1099, etc and this is your initial application. Otherwise, if you were on regular UI, PEUC, or FED-ED you cannot apply to PUA. PUA is not something you apply to once your other benefits run out... you will automatically be put on PUA if EDD determines you to not qualify for the other programs. So the answer is no, do not apply again -- you may be risking putting yourself into a black hole of ID verification.


I still have a remaining balance, why can't I certify?

  • If you were on PEUC and PUA, those programs ended December 2020. EDD has not yet implemented the extensions, but once they do you can continue certifying. This does not mean your balance will go away... you just need to wait.

  • Keep in mind that when April 2021 comes for these programs to end and you still have a remaining balance that is not owed to you. If you do not collect it before April 2021, then you do not collect.

I was in the middle of collecting but abruptly stopped at the end of December, what do I do?

  • You were likely on PEUC or PUA and you need to wait for implementation from EDD



Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC)


When will I start seeing the additional $300?

  • Some claimants (not all) will start seeing additional FPUC starting January 3, 2021 that will cover the week ending January 2, 2021.

Is there any additional federal aid?

  • Yes, they are reinstating the FPUC. FPUC originally referred to the additional federal supplement of $600 from weeks ending 4/5 - 7/25. They are extending this for $300/week with the week ending January 2, 2021 and week ending March 13, 2021

Will it work like last time where, as long as I make $1, I can receive federal benefits?

  • Yes. This means anyone with a WBA under 100 will still qualify as long as they meet all other eligibility requirements and do not have excessive earnings.

Do I qualify for FPUC? I am on ___ program.

  • All programs (regular UI, PUA, PEUC, FED-ED) should qualify for FPUC. As long as you get state benefits (at least $1 from EDD) then you will get federal benefits.

Lost Wages Assistance

  • This provision allows state to waive recovery of Lost Wages Assistance overpayments if 1) the recipient was not at fault and 2) repayment would be contrary to equity and good conscience (meaning it would cause hardship).

Recertification

  • You will not be considered ineligible or have benefits terminated because of state system failure errors, so long as the state made good efforts to implement the program

Stimulus Checks

How much are they giving out for the stimulus check?

  • Provision provides a refundable tax credit of $600 per eligible family member. It's $600 per taxpayer ($1,200 for married filing jointly), in addition to $600 per qualifying child

  • Those earning more than $75,000 will be subject to the limitations of the provision

Will it be on my bank account or EDD card?

  • Unemployment is not related to stimulus checks. You will see it however you got your last stimulus checks or how your taxes are set up. Some people have their taxes done and have refunds or payments made through their bank account. If you do not, you will receive it by mail through the address you used when you filed your taxes.



Program Specific Questions


Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA)


What is PUA?

  • PUA are for those who are self-employed, independent contractors, have little work history. Basically you did not get taxes taken out of your paychecks. Another indicator that you are on PUA is if you started out with 167 as your weekly benefit amount

How long does this extension last?

  • It will last up to the week ending April 10, 2021 OR when you have used 50 weeks -- whichever comes first. If you use up your 50 weeks before the week ending April 10, 2021 that will be the limitation. Even if you have a remaining balance, PUA will expire on the week ending April 10, 2021.

What about overpayments?

  • This provision allows state authority to waive overpayments made if they can determine it was 1) without fault on the part of the individual and 2) repayment would be contrary to equity and good conscience

I'm a new applicant and about to apply January 2021, but I have been unemployed since March, can I backdate?

  • There are new limitations. Anyone who applies after December 27, 2020 cannot backdate any earlier than week ending December 6, 2020.

Didn't PUA have an additional weeks added on before? It was 39 weeks then people were saying it was 46 weeks. What happened to the 7 weeks?

  • If a state is triggered as High Unemployment Period (HUP), PUA extends for additional 7 weeks. What this means is if the unemployment rate is still high, there will be an additional 7 weeks added on top of PUA.

  • To break it down: PUA was initially 39 weeks. They added 11 weeks which makes it 50 weeks. If unemployment rate is still high, then there will be the opportunity to collect 7 more weeks, totaling PUA to be 57 weeks.



New Applicants

  • As of January 31, 2021 - new applicants have to submit documentation to substantiate employment or self-employment within 21 days. The deadline may be extended if individual can show good cause

Do I still need to submit documentation?

  • Anyone receiving PUA on or after December 27, 2020 will have to submit documentation to substantiate employment or self-employment

When do I need to submit my documentation by?


It depends on when you applied:

  • Applied for PUA before January 31, 2021: If you receive payment after December 27, 2020 you're required to provide documentation within 90 days of application or when directed to submit documentation, whichever is later. Deadline may be extended if individual shows good cause.

  • Filling on or after January 31, 2021: required to provide documentation within 21 days of application or when directed to submit documentation, whichever is later. Deadline may be extended if individual shows good cause within 21 days.

I'm on PUA, it says maximum benefits paid, what do I do?

  • You need to wait for implementation, unless you can qualify for a regular UI claim (made enough wages in 2020).


Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) - 13 week extension

What is PEUC?

  • PEUC is the very first extension that would initiate after your REGULAR UI claim exhausts. If you are PUA or self-employed, you would not get PEUC.

How long is the extension?

  • PEUC is now 24 weeks rather than 13. They will expire after you use up 24 weeks or they expire on week ending April 10, 2021. Even if you have a remaining balance, it will expire on the week ending April 10, 2021.

What happens after PEUC?

  • If FED-ED is not available (only available when unemployment rate is high and if you qualify) and you have exhausted regular UI and PEUC, you may then be able to receive Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) which has a minimum Weekly Benefit Amount (WBA) of $167/week.

  • NOTE: You have to be effected by COVID-19 in order to be eligible to receive PUA. PUA program is a total of 50 weeks or up until week ending April 10, 2021.

I'm on PEUC, it says maximum benefits paid, what do I do?

  • You need to wait for implementation. For PEUC claimants, I would recommend waiting unless you know you can qualify for more with a new claim AND your claim year is expired.


FED-ED (20 week extension)

  • You will need to finish your FED-ED extension before getting benefits of the PEUC 11 weeks additional extension. Once FED-ED exhausts, you will go back to PEUC and get the 11 weeks extension. This will be in effect until March 13, 2021.

  • If you are going into FED-ED after PEUC you'll have 20 weeks of FED-ED.

  • FED-ED expires December 31, 2021 or when you use all 20 weeks - that does not mean you will have benefits the entire time until then, it means that the opportunity to collect FED-ED will exist until December 31, 2021 for claimants.

I'm on FED-ED, it says maximum benefits paid, what do I do?

  • Wait for implementation to go back on PEUC after you finish FED-ED, unless you can qualify for a regular UI claim (made enough wages in 2020 and claim year expired).



Mixed Earner Unemployment Compensation (MEUC)


This is good news for hybrid workers who have mixed income of w2 and 1099:

  • MEUC provides a federally funded $100/week additional benefit who have at least $5,000 a year in self-employment income, but disqualified from receiving PUA because they are eligible for regular state benefits. This will be in addition to the $300/week from FPUC. This also ends March 13, 2021.

  • How will they verify this? No news on that yet, but subscribe for updates.

  • WARNING: They also write that the states also have a right of non-participation, which means they can choose to pay FPUC (only the $300/week) without providing Mixed Earner Unemployment Compensation (MEUC) -- the additional $100/week for hybrids. States must make a decision if they are implementing MEUC by January 2, 2021.

  • MEUC covers weeks ending January 2, 2021 to March 13, 2021

Regular Unemployment Insurance, no extension yet

How do I know I'm on regular UI?

  • If you paid taxes on your paychecks, you are more than likely on regular UI. If you have a weekly benefit amount less than 167, you are on regular UI.

What happens for me?

  • Once you exhaust, you will go on PEUC and it will last 24 weeks or will expire week ending April 10, 2021 whichever comes first. If you use up your 24 weeks, next will be FED-ED

  • Scenario 1: Regular UI > PEUC (24 weeks) > FED-ED (20 weeks if you qualify)

  • Scenario 2: Regular UI > PEUC (24 weeks) > PUA (50 weeks) (if you do not qualify for FED-ED)

  • Both scenarios have programs that will end on the week ending April 10, 2021.

I'm Regular UI, it says maximum benefits paid, what do I do?

Regular UI? If your claim year expired then you may be eligible for a new claim and should apply (for example, if you applied in December 2019, your claim year ends December 2020 and is expired). This is NOT THE CASE for most people since many applied March 2020, which means your claim will expire March 2021. Do not apply for a new claim - you will put yourself in an ID verification black hole. Claim year typically expires 1 year after you had applied.


In Between Programs

Mostly for W2 claimants

PUA to PEUC: I was originally on Regular UI. I was put on PUA because I did not qualify for FED-ED. Now there is an 11 week extension, what happens now?

  • When the 11 week extension for PEUC becomes available you will be switched back onto PEUC from PUA

  • States are allowed to keep you on PUA until they have the ability to put you back on PEUC. Because the Continued Assistance Act (CAA) just BARELY got signed and begun implementation. They are allowed to keep you on PUA in order to give states time to change their system and implement the 11 week extension of PEUC for you.

  • This does not mean they can put you on whatever program they desire. All this means is that they allowed to temporarily put you PUA until they can implement the 11 week PEUC extension.

PUA to FED-ED: I was on PUA, but actually I qualify for FED-ED (13 weeks) and can be on that - what happens to me?

  • If you qualify for FED-ED, you need to stop collecting PUA and be put on FED-ED when EDD can implement that.

PEUC or new claim?? I know I qualify for a new claim since my claim year expired, should I go on PEUC or file a new claim?

  • The Continued Assistance Act "gives states the option to allow individuals" to continue being on PEUC despite being qualified for a new claim, but only for claims with a benefit year expiration date of January 2, 2021.

  • If your potential "new claim" would award you a weekly benefit amount that is at least $25 lower than the PEUC weekly benefit amount. For example, if you apply for a new claim, your weekly benefit amount is $200, but your old PEUC claim had you at $250 -- because that's a $50 difference (more than $25), they can put you back on PEUC.

  • KEYWORDS: "give states the option to allow individuals", which means US Department of Labor guidance says EDD could do this, but whether or not if they will depends on what California as a state wants to do. Also NOTE - this is for any claims that have an expiration of January 2, 2021 or later.



FED-ED to PEUC? I've started FED-ED, but with this new PEUC extension do I go back to PEUC?

  • If you previously exhausted PEUC and started on FED-ED, you must finish your FED-ED before being eligible for the additional 11 weeks of PEUC that is under the Continued Assistance Act

FED-ED but qualify for a new claim? I can qualify for a new claim since my benefit year has expired, but can I be on PEUC or FED-ED or am I supposed to make a new claim?


Currently, the verbiage was a little confusing, but this is what the new guidance says verbatim:

  • 1) If permitted under state law, as long as the state is in an Extended Benefits period after the date the individual exhaust PEUC, even if the individual's benefit year has expired, the individual may still be eligible for Extended Benefits"

  • 2) "If at any time while the individual is collecting Extended Benefits, the individual becomes eligible for regular Unemployment Compensation, the individual must stop collecting Extended Benefits and file a new regular Unemployment Compensation Claim"

  • To be interpreted... keep checking back for updates

PUA, but eligible for a new claim - what do I do?

  • If any any point you become eligible for a new claim, you must stop collecting PUA and file for a new regular UI claim.

Miscellaneous

New provision regarding: Return to Work Reporting Requirement

This will take effect 30 days from enactment, January 26, 2021

  • This basically says that states need to implement a method to address situations where an individual refuses to return to work or accept work that is suitable or without good cause. This is more for employers needing to find a way to report when someone denies work, but also important for claimants to know.

  • Also important to note that the Continued Assistance Act (CAA) does not require employers, but only requires states have a method to allow employers to submit information

Other Topics


Workshare

  • 100% federal financing for Short-Term Compensation ("worksharing") programs until March 13, 2021

  • 50% subsidy to non-statutory, temporary state Short-Time Compensation programs until March 13, 2021

FFCRA Unemployment Provisions

  • Temporary assistance for states with advances extended to March 13, 2021. "The loans allow states with low balances in their unemployment trust funds to delay employer tax increases or other employer surcharges while the economy is struggling."

  • FFCRA which provides temporary full federal finances of Extended Benefits for high states will extend up until March 13, 2021.



Paid Sick & Family Leave

  • Refundable payroll tax credits for paid and family leave is extended through the end of March 2021. It also modifies the tax credits so you apply as if the corresponding employer mandates were extended through the end of March 2021

  • Beginning January 1, 2021 - those who are eligible for PFL can take time off from work to support a family member in the military who is deployed. Qualifying events to receive PFL Military Assist benefits include activities to manage essential needs (setting up childcare, parental care, attending military sponsored events, or making legal or financial arrangements)

  • PFL provides up to 8 weeks of wage replacement benefits while they take time off from work. It can be used all at once or staggered over a 12 month period. PFL provides benefits approximately 60% of an employee's salary for higher income earners, and 70% for lower income earners

PFL Eligibility requirements (copied from EDD Newsletter):

  • Be unable to do their regular or customary work due to a need to participate in a qualifying event related to the military deployment of their spouse, registered domestic partner, parent, or child to a foreign country.

  • Be employed or actively looking for work at the time their Military Assist leave begins.

  • Have earned at least $300 from which State Disability Insurance (SDI) deductions were withheld during their base period. For additional information, visit Calculating Paid Family Leave Benefit Payment Amounts.

  • Complete and submit their claim form no earlier than the first day their Military Assist claim begins, but no later than 41 days after their Military Assist benefits begin. Military Assist is available to eligible individuals with a claim start date of January 1, 2021, or after.


Charts & Important Dates






Additional Notes:

Waiting period waived still continues until March 13, 2021


Sources:

Letter to State Workforce Agencies from US Department of Labor

Chart with important dates from US Department of Labor

EDD Newsletter from December 13, 2020

 

Subscribe at the bottom if you want to be e-mailed updates.

 

Additional Tools & Resources


NEW: direct Unemployment Guru Help

We are now servicing people who have claims that have been stuck for months or those who need assistance with appeals. If you have other questions you can ask in our forum which we check periodically.


Tools & Calculators

Unemployment Gurus has tools and calculators to figure out those really confusing questions:

  • How much can I earn and still qualify for the FPUC $300 from the new stimulus?

  • Do I qualify for FED-ED?

  • How much will I get if I work?

  • What is my standard base period?

  • Do I qualify for LWA?

  • Am I eligible for UI?

Preview tools here


 

EDIT HISTORY

12/31/12 - Updated with information from US Department of Labor and EDD Newsletter (see sources


12/27/20 - Stimulus signed by Trump

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