UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS

California unemployment benefits: is job hunting proof required to apply for aid?

California Employment Development Department announced on Thursday that the state will require those claiming benefits to prove they are seeking work.

California unemployment benefits: is job hunting proof required to apply for aid?
R-ZERO via REUTERS

California ended the majority of restrictions put in place to stem the tide of the covid-19 pandemic in the state 15 June. Now as the economy gets back on its feet the state’s Employment Development Department (EDD) on 11 July 2021 will reinstate requirements for Californians receiving unemployment benefits to be actively job hunting.

The requirement to search for work has been part of the state’s unemployment insurance program since it was set up in 1935. The obligation was waived in March 2020 to expedite payment of benefits in the face of the mass layoffs due to the covid-19 pandemic. It also went contrary to the stay-at-home order put in place in California to keep non-essential workers from going to their workplaces.

How can Californians prove they are job hunting?

When completing their weekly certification for benefits jobless Californians could answer “No” when asked if they had looked for work the week prior. Starting 11 July 2021 most claimants will need to answer “Yes” to maintain eligibility for collecting aid. Depending on which type of unemployment benefits a claimant receives different work search requirements will apply.

Regular unemployment insurance or extension claims requirements

Workers claiming regular unemployment insurance (UI) or extension claims are expected to search for “suitable work that is safe to return to and is comparable to the worker’s skills, experience, usual occupation, age and health.”

EDD will be sending claimants notices about any requirements on their specific claims in the coming weeks. In order to receive benefits workers claiming unemployment insurance will have to register on the state’s job board CalJOBS.

Workers can prove that they’ve made a reasonable effort in their job hunt through the following activities:

  • Prepare for Job Searches: Signing up at CalJOBS, and through other job search and networking sites.
  • Expand Networks: Inform others that you are looking for work and attending events where you could find job opportunities.
  • Apply for Suitable Work: Send applications to suitable openings matching skills and experience.
  • Participate in Training: Take part in training or educational courses to aid in landing a job but that will not interfere with accepting a suitable full-time position.

Pandemic Unemployment Assistance requirements

Workers claiming Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) will also receive via post notices about any requirements on their specific claims in the coming weeks. Unlike regular UI claimants, they will not be required to register on the state’s job board CalJOBS but EDD recommends that they do to access its many useful tools including job training and networking opportunities.

PUA claimants can prove that they’ve made a reasonable effort in their job hunt through the following activities:

  • Rebuild Business: Show that they are actively trying to attract business.
  • Expand Networks: Participate in events, workshops related to activity or expand business.
  • Establish Accounts: Independent contractors using online platforms can set up accounts on alternate relevant platforms.
  • Participate in Training: Take part in training or educational courses that will help their business but that will not interfere with returning to work full-time.