COVID-19: Unemployment Insurance, Disability Insurance & the CARES Act

Did you lose your job because of COVID-19? Are currently unemployed and having a difficult time finding work? Are you unable to work because you have young children at home and no childcare? Are you sick with COVID-19 and do not have enough paid sick leave? There are several resources available to you. 

California State Unemployment Insurance

EDD has set up an unemployment info page specifically tailored to entertainment industry claims.

The Unemployment Insurance (UI) program pays benefits to workers who have lost their job and meet the program’s eligibility requirements. If you have become unemployed or partially unemployed, you may file a UI claim. After you have filed a claim, you must continue to certify for benefits and meet eligibility requirements each week in order to receive benefit payments. For additional information specifically related to COVID-19 applications, click here.

The new CARES Act is providing additional relief to workers and those who may not normally qualify for unemployment benefits through the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (PUC) and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) programs.

The National Employment Law Project help sheet breakdown how to qualify here.

Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (PUC)

From the date the bill is signed through July 31, 2020, all regular UI and Pandemic Unemployment Assistance claimants will receive their usual calculated benefit plus an additional $600 per week in compensation.

Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC)

The CARES Act also provides an additional 13 weeks of state UI benefits, which will become available after someone exhausts all their regular state UI benefits. All but eight states offer 26 weeks of UI benefits.

Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA)

Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) provides emergency unemployment assistance to workers who are left out of regular state UI or who have exhausted their state UI benefits (including any Extended Benefits that might become available in the future). Up to 39 weeks of PUA are available to workers who are immediately eligible to receive PUA. The program will expire on December 31, 2020, unless otherwise extended. Applications will begin to be processed on April 28, 2020.

Download a PDF version of the video here: Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) Program – How To Access Information

Know your rights! Check out this infographic that outlines your rights to paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act.

The California Employee Development Department (EDD) is encouraging individuals who are unable to work due to exposure to COVID-19 to file a Disability Insurance claim. DI provides short-term benefit payments to eligible workers who have a full or partial loss of wages due to a non-work-related illness, injury, or pregnancy. Benefit amounts are approximately 60-70 percent of wages (depending on income) and range from $50-$1,300 a week.

If you’re unable to work because you are caring for an ill or quarantined family member with COVID-19 (certified by a medical professional), you can file a Paid Family Leave (PFL) claim. PFL provides up to six weeks of benefit payments to eligible workers who have a full or partial loss of wages because they need time off work to care for a seriously ill family member or to bond with a new child. Benefit amounts are approximately 60-70 percent of wages (depending on income) and range from $50-$1,300 a week.

Additional resources to help you file a claim

Are you still have trouble filing for benefits?

Helping Entertainment Labor and Professionals (HELP), a new program underwritten by Legendary, will provide a free legal assistance program for displaced entertainment workers designed to help them correctly fill out those forms and tap into whatever funds are due them under the federal Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security Act. The Organization is hosting informational webinars along with backup from pro-bono lawyers when needed. Learn more here.