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Unemployment benefits in California top $100 billion

-Editorial

The total of unemployment benefits providing support for California workers and local economies during this historic COVID-19 pandemic has now hit $101 billion in just seven months. About $55 billion of that is in regular state-provided Unemployment Insurance benefits which is more than double what was paid in the three worst years of the Great Recession combined.

Since March, the EDD has processed approximately 15.2 million claims between the regular unemployment program and extension claims, as well as the separate Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program.

This website enhancement is providing a quicker and more efficient way to authenticate claimants and is significantly reducing manual workload that has led to backlogs. The latest data shows significant progress in the last three weeks.

  • The backlog has declined 32% for initial claims that take more than 21 days to issue first payment or disqualification.
  • The backlog has declined 24% for continued claims for those who have received at least one payment and are waiting more than 21 days for further payment or disqualification.

It includes recent claim estimates based on the week ending September 19 to accommodate for a two-week reset period during which the EDD implemented a new identity verification tool at the beginning of the online application for benefits.

The EDD is issuing a 6th and final week of supplemental payments under the federal Lost Wages Assistance program in California. An estimated $6 billion lost wages payments have been issued over the last several weeks, including to more than 3.4 million claimants receiving the 6th of payments so far. Lost Wages Assistance funding supports an extra $300 payment for each week of regular unemployment, extension benefits, or federal unemployment benefits-eligible Californians already received for the weeks between July 26 and September 5.

The additional $300 payments can only be issued to claimants meeting these eligibility requirements:

  • Have a minimum weekly benefit award of $100 or more on their initial claim, even if they received a lower payment during this time period because they reported wages.
  • Attested that their unemployment is caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The self-attestation is collected as a quick and easy yes or no question. As stated on the self-attestation form, if a claimant answers no, the EDD is required to disqualify the claimant from receiving payments.

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