UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS | CALIFORNIA

How many people will lose unemployment benefits in California after they end in September?

Federal pandemic unemployment benefits are due to expire 4 September for over 2 million Californians. Officials in the state are warning people to be ready.

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How many people will lose unemployment benefits in California after they end in September?
SPENCER PLATT AFP

Millions of Americans will see income support from unemployment compensation go off a cliff in early September when federal programs put in place last year expire once again. This time it appears for good.

California is the state that will see the most people lose coverage under the programs which have kept households afloat during the covid-19 pandemic. The Employment Development Department (EDD) is recommending that those who are receiving jobless aid begin seeking employment and informing claimants of other assistance they can lean on.

What unemployment programs will end in California?

Californians will still have access to regular state unemployment insurance payments as well as other assistance through SNAP, rental assistance, low-cost health insurance and cash aid for families with children. Those that have exhausted regular benefits may be able to get the Federal-State Extended Duration (FED-ED) benefits but this program ends 11 September and even if a claimant has a balance left on their claim no payments will be made.

Four federal unemployment compensation programs will end abruptly on 4 September, but any weeks of payments that can be claimed prior to the expiration date can still be paid retroactively “if a claimant is determined to be eligible for those weeks of benefits,” according to the EDD. They include:

The Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program (PUA)

PUA provides income support to those who those who normally wouldn’t qualify for state jobless aid including gig workers and people who were unable to work due to the pandemic because they had to care for dependents or children. The termination of this program will affect over 1 million workers in California who are benefiting from these payments according to the Century Foundation.

Pandemic Extended Unemployment Compensation program (PEUC)

PEUC allows for extra weeks of unemployment for those who had exhausted their regular benefits. The Century Foundation estimates that nearly a million claimants will be impacted by the loss of this income support in California.

Mixed Earner Unemployment Compensation program (MEUC)

MEUC provides an extra $100 weekly to those who have income from both part-time wage employment and self-employment. This program was implemented by EDD in July and payments can be retroactive to December 27, 2020. As many as 350,000 Californians may be eligible according to the Sacramento Bee. Recipients of PEUC, FED-ED or regular unemployment compensation can apply but not those receiving PUA or training extension benefits. For further information check ABOUT MIXEDEARNERS.ORG.

Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation program (FPUC)

FPUC boosts weekly income support for those out of work by $300. In California these additional funds raised the wage replacement provided by state unemployment insurance benefits from 34 percent to almost 68 percent. This will affect all Californians receiving any form of unemployment compensation which will deal a serious blow to household finances.

Getting back to work will not be an easy task

There are currently around 3 million people receiving some form of jobless aid in California where the rate remains stubbornly high at 7.6 percent. Former EDD director Michael Bernick who now works for as the research director for the California Workforce Association told ABC that the economy has changed since the covid-19 pandemic began. Many workers still fear getting sick, businesses have closed and people have moved.

"It's not such an easy process to say, well we have 3 million on unemployment and we have all these jobs and people can immediately fill them. It's not an easy match in terms of location, in terms of skills, in terms of aptitudes," he said.