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Update on the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance for Self-Employed

The California Employment Development Department has updated its Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) webpage providing new information on when the self-employed can begin filing claims.  Please know that these benefits are retroactive, so if you lost income as far back as February 2, 2020, you can file for assistance once up and running.  Filing is scheduled to begin on Tuesday, April 28, 2020.  According to Governor Newsom, payments will begin being transferred within 48 hours after filing.


The current webpage does not let you know what documentation you will need in order to file for assistance.  That will be released soon.  However, based on other state PUA websites  that have already implemented the program, you will need verifiable proof to establish your work history as self-employed.  This can be done by providing any of the following documents:


2019 1099 Miscellaneous Income only

2019 W-2

2019 Pay stubs

2020 Pay stubs

Form 1040 – U.S. Individual Income Tax Return


Take the time now to find these documents so you can be ready to file on Tuesday, April 28.  In the meantime, review the updated information currently available.


From the EDD webpage: https://edd.ca.gov/about_edd/coronavirus-2019/pandemic-unemployment-assistance.htm


Benefit Payments

In order to provide benefits as quickly as possible, payments will be issued in phases. If you qualify for PUA, and depending on the effective date of your PUA claim, the initial payments you will receive are as follows:


Phase 1

$167 per week for each week you were unemployed from February 2, 2020 to March 28, 2020 due to a COVID-19 related reason.

Phase 2

$167 plus $600 per week for each week you were unemployed from March 29, 2020 to July 25, 2020, due to a COVID-19 related reason.

Phase 3

$167 per week, for each week from July 26, 2020 to December 26, 2020, that you are unemployed due to a COVID-19 related reason, up to a total of 39 weeks (minus any weeks of regular UI and certain extended UI benefits that you have received).

Note: If you qualify for your claim to be backdated to an earlier PUA effective date based on your last day of work, you could receive payment for prior weeks you were unemployed due to COVID-19.


You will be required to “certify” for your benefit payment. Certifying is the process of answering basic questions every two weeks that tells us you’re still unemployed and otherwise eligible to continue receiving biweekly payments.


When to File a Claim

We have a dedicated team working around the clock with state partners to build this new program as quickly as possible. The EDD will begin accepting online applications for this program on Tuesday, April 28. This page will be updated with instructions for filing a claim for PUA benefits when details become available.


If you are unsure if you are an independent contractor or an employee who could be eligible for benefits, file for regular Unemployment Insurance benefits and we will determine your eligibility.


After you have filed, refer to our step-by-step UI claims process. You’ll learn what to expect and the actions you need to take through the course of your claim for receiving benefit payments as long as you’re eligible.