California’s Employment Development Department will begin sending out weekly $300 unemployment benefits on Monday through the Lost Wages Assistance program.
To be eligible for the supplemental benefits, the recipient must currently be eligible to receive $100 or more in weekly benefits and must show that they are unemployed or partially unemployed because of the pandemic.
The payments, which are retroactive to the week beginning on July 26, available for a “limited period of time” but will be offered for a minimum of three weeks, according to the EDD. The benefits will be sent out in two stages: Those who already indicated they are unemployed or partially unemployed due to COVID-19 when filing for unemployment will receive the $300 weekly payments automatically. Those who did not must fill out a “one-time certification” that will be sent via email or in the mail in mid-September; the EDD has urged Californians to fill out that information quickly or else they may not receive the additional benefits “if the funding for this program becomes unavailable.”
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The new timeline for LWA payments comes two weeks after FEMA approved California’s request for a grant that would allow the state to offer additional unemployment benefits to those whose jobs have been impacted by the pandemic. California is expected to release its unemployment numbers for August in two weeks, but for the month of July, the state’s unemployment rate was 13.3% — a slight decrease from June’s 14.9%. Across the U.S., unemployment was at 8.4% in August.
According to a recent report from the California Policy Lab, about 192,000 Californians who are on unemployment will not qualify for the additional $300 weekly payments because they do not meet the earnings threshold that would give them $100 or more in weekly benefits.