UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS

When is the last day to claim weekly unemployment benefits in California?

The additional pandemic support programmes have been in place for the last 18 months but as the US economy continues to grow the payments will end this weekend.

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When is the last day to claim weekly unemployment benefits in California?

To help individuals and families through the economic fallout of the pandemic, back in March 2020 the federal government implemented various forms of additional unemployment support. A number of programmes were introduced to provide financial relief for those who had suffered a loss of income due to covid-19.

The programmes were extended by President Biden earlier this week but those additional measures are set to end this week. For residents of California, the pandemic unemployment benefits will end on Saturday, 4 September 2021.

The programmes set to expire are:

  • Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA)
  • Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC)
  • Extended Benefits (EB)
  • $300 Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC)
  • $100 Mixed Earner Unemployment Compensation (MEUC)

Who will be affected by the end of the additional unemployment benefits?

California has one of the biggest economies in the world but the lack of tourism and business closures over the past 18 months have hit the state’s workers hard. When the additional programmes end on Saturday, The Century Foundation estimate that around two million Californians will lose access to the support.

Those to lose the payments will largely be split into two groups: gig workers, freelancers and the self-employed; and those classified as long-term unemployed.

The first group will have been receiving support from the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), because without a traditional employer they are not able to receive unemployment insurance. Some may have also received an additional $100 per week from the Mixed Earner Unemployment Compensation (MEUC) if they had previously supplemented their income with a regular job.

The second group, the long-term unemployed, will have received the bulk of their additional payments from the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) programme. The state’s typical unemployment benefits only last for 26 weeks but the PEUC allows those who have exceeded that limit to continue receiving support.

Some may have been able to enrol in an extension programme called the Federal-State Extended Duration (FED-ED), but that too is set to end on 11 September.

Concern that millions will lose out when additional support is removed

Across the country, the 24 states who had not prematurely withdrawn from the additional unemployment benefits will lose access to the support this weekend. With the gains made by the economy in recent months there appears little appetite in Congress to extend the programme further, but there is concern about when effect the sudden cliff-edge will have.

The Century Foundation estimate that around 8.8 million Americans will lose access to all unemployment support, with another 3 million seeing their payments reduced by $300 per week.

Till von Wachter, an economics professor at the University of California Los Angeles and director of the California Policy Lab, said: “We’re cutting benefits off when many, many individuals are still relying on them.”

“This is sort of a recurring problem in American recessions. We ask politicians to come up with benefit programs, and they set end and start dates,” he added. “They’re set in advance and have nothing to do with how the economy is.”