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California Ramps Up Unemployment Insurance in Reaction to COVID Crisis

With state and local governments issuing “stay-at-home” orders to slow the spread of COVID-19, “non-essential” businesses across the nation have been forced to close their doors and lay-off workers in unprecedented numbers. On Wednesday, Gov. Newsom reported that more than 1 million Californians have filed unemployment claims since March 13, 2020.

In a recent article published by the New York Times, Sharon Terman, Director of Work and Family Program and senior staff attorney at the nonprofit Legal Aid at Work, shared practical advice on what Californians that have been directly impacted by the crisis should know.

  • The Employment Development Department (E.D.D.) has waived the typical one-week waiting period, allowing eligible workers to receive benefits right away.
  • To qualify for benefits, you must meet the minimum requirements.
  • For faster service, applicants should use UI online to file their unemployment claims. If approved, workers can receive between $40 to $450 per week.
  • Workers who have been temporarily laid off, but plan on returning to the same employer are exempt from the unemployment insurance requirement to look for work.

Applicants should receive their first check within three weeks of filing for unemployment insurance. 

Click here for a checklist of all the information you’ll need to apply for benefits.