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California Unemployment Extension – CARES Act

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If your California unemployment benefits are ending soon, an extension may be available through federal funds.

The federal CARES Act made additional funds available through the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) program. This program was created for the purpose of giving workers impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic additional unemployment benefits that they would not ordinarily receive.

PEUC will provide a temporary extension of state unemployment benefits for up to 13 additional weeks. Normally, California unemployment insurance benefits provide up to 26 weeks of payments. The CARES Act PEUC extends the benefits for a total of 39 weeks of payments.

Who is Eligible For The California Unemployment Extension?

You are eligible for an automatic 13-week extension of unemployment benefits under the PEUC program if:

  • You were fully or partially unemployed after March 29, 2020.
  • Your benefit year started June 2, 2019 or later.
  • You have used all of your available benefits.
  • You are not eligible for a new unemployment claim.
  • You meet all of the unemployment insurance eligibility requirements.

If you do not meet the automatic extension criteria above, you will have to reapply for unemployment insurance. Benefits will be retroactive to March 29, 2020. Those who are receiving assistance under the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program will not be able to collect PEUC at the same time.

If you are unsure of your eligibility for unemployment, it is recommended that you go ahead and apply as soon as you have lost your job or had your work hours reduced. California will then be able to determine your eligibility. You can apply for unemployment benefits here.

Additional California Unemployment Benefits

Those who do not qualify for traditional California unemployment insurance compensation such as gig workers, the self-employed, independent contractors, business owners, and those with limited work history may qualify for the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Program (PUA).

Workers who receive benefits through unemployment insurance, PEUC, or PUA will receive an extra $600 in federal funds on top of their current weekly benefit amount. This extra compensation is available between March 29 and July 25, 2020.

For a helpful summary of California benefits available to workers impacted by COVID-19, view this chart.

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