The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) has greatly interrupted our lives, the economy, and life as we know it over the past few weeks. Americans are hurting and in need of comprehensive and timely relief. This is why I supported passage of the CARES Act (H.R. 748), which was signed into law by President Trump just over a week ago. The CARES Act provides $250 billion for the expansion of Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits, including broadening UI benefit access to those who might have not been eligible in the past. Below are some resources that I believe may help qualified individuals navigate the new unemployment provisions and here is further information, courtesy of the House Ways and Means Committee.
The CARES Act accomplishes 3 major things for American workers:
- Creates the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program for workers that are not typically eligible for UI benefits. The CARES Act looks out for those who measures such as AB 5 have abandoned—gig workers, self-employed persons, independent contractors, and other employees who do not have the option to telework during the COVID-19 crisis—by allowing them access to unemployment benefits through the new PUA program. Governor Newsom recently announced that qualified Californians can begin to apply for PUA benefits beginning on Tuesday, April 28, 2020. More information can be found here.
- Allows reimbursements for nonprofit organizations, state and local government entities, and federally-recognized Indian tribes that do not participate in a state unemployment system. Under the CARES Act, eligible nonprofit organizations and government entities will be reimbursed for 50% of the costs they incur for payment of employee unemployment benefits from March 13, 2020 through December 31, 2020.
- Provides workers with additional unemployment benefits when necessary. The CARES Act provides workers who have exhausted their state UI benefit pay with 13 additional weeks of unemployment benefit pay.
The State of California is currently in the process of implementing the aforementioned unemployment provisions. Rest assured that, while the California Employment Development Department (EDD) works to implement the remaining new unemployment provisions, workers will not be missing out on any benefits. All benefit payments will be retroactive to when an individual first became unemployed due to COVID-19, not to when they first applied for assistance.
Those interested in applying for traditional state Unemployment Insurance benefits or Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program benefits can find up-to-date information here, on the California Employment Development Department’s (EDD) website and here, on the National Association of State Workforce Agencies’ website. Several companies and foundations have also partnered to create a one-stop resource website for California workers who have been impacted by COIVD-19: OnwardCA.org. As always, you can find up-to-date resources and other important information on my website at KevinMcCarthy.House.Gov/Coronavirus-Updates and on my Medium webpage at Medium.com/Beat-The-Virus.
I hope this information is helpful to you as we navigate this pandemic together. I will continue to work to ensure that American workers receive the benefits and resources that they need during this time.