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California is asking the federal government for new $300-a-week jobless benefit

-Editorial

California is asking the federal government for a $300 weekly supplemental unemployment benefit for jobless Californians.

This comes days after President Donald Trump signed an executive order to continue with unemployment benefits since Republicans and Democrats were not able to reach an agreement on the pandemic stimulus package.

After five months of the COVID-19 pandemic and the historic demand for unemployment benefits it has created, impacted workers have received a total of $67 billion in benefits to help support their families as well as businesses in their community. The California Employment Development Department (EDD) reports processing a total of 10.6 million claims for benefits over that time between the regular Unemployment Insurance (UI) program, extensions, and separate Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program. That’s almost triple the number of claims processed in the highest year of the Great Recession (3.8 million claims in 2010).

California submitted an application this week to participate in the Lost Wages Assistance (LWA) program. If approved by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), it would provide a supplemental payment of $300 per week for a limited period of time for claimants who are currently eligible to receive at least $100 per week in benefits, and who have provided a self-certification that they are unemployed or partially unemployed due to disruptions caused by COVID-19. Updates will be provided when they become available.

In the meantime, the prior $600 stimulus payment is still available to claimants with any eligible weeks of benefits between March 29 and July 25, even if those payments are processed at a later date. Otherwise, weekly benefit payments without the stimulus can continue to be made on all regular unemployment insurance, Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) or FED-ED extensions, or assistance claims in which individuals meet bi-weekly eligibility requirements.

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