Federal relief funds boost California unemployment offerings

Frank S. Clowney III

The pandemic of 2020 devastated local economies, placing millions of Americans in unemployment and debilitating small businesses. In response, the federal government passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act to help states recover and provide extended benefits to citizens. Now months into the national emergency, the President recently released more funds to help those in need.

Earlier in August 2020, President Trump signed an executive memorandum that released billions in federal aid to states seeking additional economic relief. The California Employment Development Department (EDD) reports that the state will offer these funds to jobless Californians.

How much money is available?

The order releases $80 billion from the Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF) directly to states. The Federal Emergency Management Agency approved California’s application for additional funding totaling $4.5 billion. The possibility of securing more funds remains.

California’s EDD and Governor Gavin Newsom’s Office of Emergency Services applied soon after the announcement of additional funding, securing approval only days later.

The release of funds marks California’s involvement in FEMA’s Lost Wages Assistance (LWA) program. Citizens who collect $100 each week in unemployment and can provide self-certification that the pandemic has caused their unemployment, will receive an additional $300 every week to supplement their income. These additional funds are available only for a limited time but will last for at least three weeks. Those eligible will even receive payments dating back to August 1, 2020 to provide additional assistance.

These emergency conditions expire on December 27, 2020. Without an additional extension from the federal government, those out of work may not receive additional relief.

Denied unemployment? Consider hiring a lawyer

Those having difficulty securing unemployment funds through the State of California may find more success working with a lawyer familiar with California’s employment law. A lawyer can assess one’s case and recommend courses of action. An attorney can review applications for unemployment or help file an appeal for a denied claim.