Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) Benefits
The new Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) Program in California was created to help those who do not typically qualify for regular state unemployment benefits. This includes unemployed gig workers, the self-employed, independent contractors, business owners, and those with limited work history who have lost their work as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
The Employment Development Department (EDD) will begin accepting applications for the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Program on Tuesday, April 28, 2020. Learn more about how to apply for the program when the details become available on the EDD website here.
In order to better assist those whose ability to work was affected by the pandemic some time ago, Pandemic Unemployment Assistance benefits will be retroactive. This means that you may be able to claim benefits going back to February 2, 2020, depending on your last day of work as a result of the pandemic.
How Much are PUA Benefits from the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Program?
The minimum weekly benefit amount is $167, but this amount may be higher and equal to the amount provided under regular unemployment insurance depending on your proof of prior earnings. Some people may qualify for an additional $600 per week under the Federal CARES Act of 2020.
The EDD states that these PUA benefits from the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Program will be paid within 24-48 hours for those with an existing EDD debit card, rather than the traditional 21 days for regular unemployment insurance claims. Others will receive the benefits within 4-7 days when new debit cards and checks are mailed.
What if I’m Misclassified as an Independent Contractor?
If you believe you are misclassified as an independent contractor and actually earned wages as an employee, you have another option. You can choose instead to file a claim for regular unemployment insurance benefits here. The EDD will then conduct a wage investigation to determine your eligibility for benefits.
Questions? Call PARRIS Employment Attorneys
If you have questions about whether you were misclassified as an independent contractor and should have been classified as an employee, call PARRIS for a free case consultation at (661) 485-2072. You pay no fees until we win compensation for you.