This information is provided as a service to our members for
informational purposes. It is not a substitute for professional
legal or financial advice.
December 22, 2020
Congress passed a short-term relief bill after months of demands
by unemployed workers to extend Unemployment Insurance. The
extension covers all CARES Act unemployment programs and
extends benefits for an additional 11 weeks through March
14, 2021. Click
here for details.
August 22, 2020 — EDD
The following changes occurred while Congress
struggled to negotiate another stimulus package to
extend the benefits of the CARES Act. Register your support
with AFT for Congress to provide more assistance with the
enormous losses caused by the pandemic – and pass the HEROES
California’s application was approved for the federal Lost Wages
Assistance program, which will provide an extra $300 a week to
anyone receiving at least $100 a week in regular state or federal
unemployment benefits, the Employment Development
Department announced. The state will receive an initial
amount of $4.5 billion, with the possibility of additional
The $300 a week supplement will be available for a minimum of
three weeks, retroactive to Aug. 1, to people who are “currently
eligible to receive at least $100 per week in benefits, and who
have provided a self-certification that they are unemployed or
partially unemployed due to disruptions caused by COVID-19,” the
July 1, 2020 — EDD
Jobless Californians could get up to seven additional weeks of
unemployment benefits, bringing the maximum duration to 59 weeks
for those on regular state unemployment and 46 weeks for those
receiving Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, according to the
Employment Development Department.
The extra seven weeks brings it to 46, but these benefits cannot
be paid after December 26 in California, even if someone has
not collected the full 46 weeks.
June 22, 2020 — CFT
The CFT has been contacted by members having problems reopening
their claims. Due to the overwhelming number of unemployment
claims being submitted during this time, there is a technical
issue with the online system that results in some
submissions disappearing. If this happens to you, do not
resubmit your claim. Instead contact EDD by phone at (800)
300-5616 or send a message through UI Online.
If you have already attempted to contact EDD but are unable to
reach them, we recommend you contact your California
assemblymember for assistance. Most representatives have
liaisons to help with EDD-related issues. If you need to
know the name of your assemblymember, you may search by zip
CARES Act: One-time federal stimulus checks
First, we want to recap the intent of the federal “stimulus”
checks that are part of the Coronavirus
Aid, Relief, and. Economic Security Act, or CARES
Act. These are one-time payments to
qualifying individuals and separate from Unemployment Insurance.
- Stimulus payments are available for individuals earning up to
$75,000 a year, with a tapering down of the amount
available for annual earnings up to $99,000. For heads of
household, payments are available for incomes up to $112,500, and
for joint filers up to $150,000.
- The one-time payment is $1,200 per
individual, $2,400 for married couples, and $500
for each child aged 16 or under.
- You must have filed a tax return to receive the stimulus
payment. The federal government will base the amount you receive
on your 2018 return if it’s on file. If you file your 2019 taxes
right away and update your direct deposit info, it may speed up
- The federal checks will arrive in 2-8 weeks and distribution
began mid-April. If you choose direct deposit, you will get the
money faster; if the check is mailed to the address on your
previous tax return, it will take longer to arrive.
- You will receive a letter saying where and when you will
receive the benefit. If you don’t receive the letter, contact the
- The stimulus money is tax free.
- Social Security and disability recipients are included.
- All wage garnishments, except child support, will stop.
CARES Act: Rent and mortgage relief
The CARES Act includes the following relief measures for some
renters and mortgage holders. However, the relief described below
is only available to people if the mortgages
on property are backed by federal agencies such as Freddie Mac or
- Suspends all evictions through July 2020 for failure to pay
(Additionally, in California, through the governor’s executive
order, evictions are suspended through May 31 if non-payment is
- Eliminates penalties or late fees for failure to pay rent
during this period
- Allows 6-month forbearance on mortgage payments
- Allows 90-day grace period for all mortgage payments (work
with your bank or loan provider)
- Bans foreclosures or evictions for 60+ days
- Waives mortgage-related late fees for 90+
CARES Act: Retirement savings hardship withdrawals
The CARES Act allows individuals to take out a temporary loan
against their retirement savings through these relief measures:
- Employees may withdraw up to $100,000
- Eliminates 10 percent penalty if you are younger than 59.5
- Applies to 401k, 403b, IRA, and most defined contribution
- Employees may ‘self-attest’ to financial crisis
- Gives you three years to repay the loan, or to pay taxes on
- Extends repayment of (similar) existing retirement loans by
CARES Act: Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA)
The CARES Act funds a new type of unemployment insurance, relief
that will be provided in addition to a state’s regular
unemployment benefit. In California, the governor waived the
one-week waiting period, and the state has directed EDD to pay
claims before final eligibility has been determined.
Please note: Those who can telework or who are
receiving paid leave are not eligible.
Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) offers the
Adds $600 per week to the Unemployment
Insurance benefit, which in California is a maximum of $450 per
- The additional federal benefit of $600 per week lasts lasts
four months, from March 29 through July 25.
- Extends benefits at your regular benefit rate for an
additional 13 weeks.
- Extends eligibility to:
– Gig workers and the self-employed
– Part-time or furloughed workers
– Newly employed workers
– Those unable to work due to COVID-19
CARES Act definition of: “Those unable to work due to COVID-19”
- Those diagnosed with COVID-19 or those with symptoms awaiting
diagnosis (may also be eligible for State Disability
- Those having a household member diagnosed with COVID-19
(may also be eligible for SDI)
- Those providing care for a family or household member
diagnosed with COVID-19 (may also be eligible for Paid
- Being a primary caregiver for a child whose school or
childcare facility is closed due to COVID-19
- Being unable to reach your workplace due to an imposed
quarantine, or being advised by a healthcare provider to
self-quarantine (may also be eligible for SDI)
- Those about to start new employment and were unable to begin
a new job because of COVID-19
- Becoming a breadwinner because the head of household died of
- Those who had to quit their job as a
direct result of COVID-19
- Those whose workplaces are closed as a direct result of
Unemployment Insurance: “Normal” eligibility criteria
The eligibility criteria to receive unemployment benefits in
California during “normal times” are listed below. Those followed
by an asterisk (*) have been modified or waived under Pandemic
Unemployment Assistance in the federal CARES Act.
- Have received enough wages during the base period to
establish a claim*
- Be totally or partially unemployed
- Be unemployed through no fault of the employee’s own
- Be physically able to work
- Be available for work*
- Be ready and willing to immediately accept
- Be actively looking for work*
- Be approved for training before training benefits can be paid
Biweekly certification requirements
- Physically able to work
- Available for work*
- Ready and willing to immediately accept work
- Actively looking for work each week benefits
Certification for weeks ending March 14 to May 9
Based on the persistent inability of claimants to access the UI
Online system during this time period, if your UI benefit
certification form has dates for weeks ending March 14
through May 9, you do not need to certify or recertify for
UI payments at this time. For those weeks, this means:
- After you initiate your UI claim and are determined
eligible, you do not need to provide certification for your
continuing biweekly payments for these weeks if you have not
already done so.
- You will automatically receive your benefit payments, unless
you have an existing disqualification or pending issue.
You will be required to provide information to the EDD
if you worked during any of these weeks.
- The failure to provide the EDD with information that you
worked during these weeks may result in an overpayment that the
EDD must later recover.
If you worked during these weeks, you need to report that work
through the Ask EDD
- Select Unemployment
then Payments, and then EDD
Paid Me and I Returned to Work, Need to Report Wages.
For part-time faculty: Know the Cervisi decision
“Normal” unemployment allowance for part-time faculty and
temporary certificated employees
Working with the CFT, the San Francisco Community College
Federation of Teachers
won a landmark legal victory in 1989 that provides
unemployment benefits to many faculty members during layoffs.
In Cervisi v. California Unemployment Insurance Appeals
Board the California Court of Appeals agreed with AFT Local
2121 that a teaching assignment contingent on enrollment,
funding, program changes or bumping by a full-time faculty member
is not a “reasonable assurance” of employment, and that part-time
temporary instructors may therefore be eligible for unemployment
The Cervisi decision means that:
- You are eligible even if you have been offered a class for
- You are eligible even if your name appears in the schedule of
- You are eligible even if you have signed next term’s
Here’s how the Cervisi decision reads in California
Unemployment Insurance Code
1253.3 (g) “For the purpose of this section,
‘reasonable assurance’ includes, but is not limited to, an offer
of employment or assignment made by the educational institution,
provided that the offer or assignment is not
contingent on enrollment, funding, or program changes.”
How to apply for Unemployment Insurance & PUA
- At present, there is a single application process for UI. The
EDD alludes to a future separate application for PUA to be used
only by those not normally eligible for UI benefits.
- If you qualify for UI benefits, you will still receive the
additional $600 per week payment and a 13-week benefit extension.
- If you do not qualify for UI benefits, you can then be found
eligible for PUA benefits. Like UI benefits, the amount is based
on recent wages.
- File your unemployment claim on the last in-class day of your
last class of the semester, or your last day of paid work.
- Pay attention to deadlines and file all of your forms in a
timely manner. Be ready to answer phone calls or emails as soon
as you receive them, and respond as quickly as possible.
How to file a claim online
This helpful video from EDD will get you off to a good start.
It’s 6 minutes well spent.
- Go to the EDD
Unemployment Insurance landing page and create
- Complete the online application fully.
- When selecting information about your last employer, pay
careful attention to the drop-down menus regarding the reason and
explanation for being out of work.
Separation category: Depends upon your
Separation explanation: Depends upon your
Tips for a successful EDD interview
- The EDD has not yet announced changes to its interview
process. In light of the vast expansion of eligibility under the
CARES Act, changes can be expected. In the meantime, we recommend
preparing for interviews as for normal unemployment claims.
- Remember the Cervisi decision: Contingent faculty and
temporary certificated employees can have classes taken away at
any time due to enrollment, funding, or program changes.
For more information
Helpful info from the EDD
Helpful FAQ from the Labor and Workforce Development Agency
Get assistance from the union