COVID-19 and Your Unemployment – Answers to FAQs

Last updated: 5/7/2021 | En español | COVID-19 Main Page

We are experiencing a high call volume and longer wait times on our phone lines. We appreciate your patience and understand you have questions.

Here you can find answers to the most frequently asked questions (FAQs) we have received about COVID-19 and unemployment.

If you have specific questions about your claim, log in to UI OnlineSM and select Contact Us at the top of the homepage.

Top Questions and Answers of the Week

The new American Rescue Plan Act:

  • Continues the federal increase for all unemployment benefits, which adds $300 to each week of benefits through September 4, 2021.
  • Extends Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) by 29 weeks through September 4, 2021.
  • Continues the federally funded FED-ED through September 11, 2021, providing up to 20 weeks of benefits.

Unemployment Insurance is one of the most complex benefit programs in the state. How the rules apply to any one person often depends on a particular person's circumstances. We will continue to provide updates on federal unemployment benefits as they become available.

If your benefit year ends, you must apply for a new claim, even if you are on an extension or have money left on your expired claim. We will send you a notice telling you to apply for a new claim if you are still certifying for benefits. To learn more, visit Benefit Year End.

If you do not apply for a new claim, we will not be able to determine your eligibility or process payments. To apply for a new claim, log in to UI Online.

Note: If you have an existing Pandemic Unemployment Assistance claim, you do not need to submit a new application.

If your claim status is pending, we may need to confirm your identity or eligibility before we can process payment.

If we need to confirm your eligibility, we will schedule a phone interview with you. For more information, visit Claim Status: Pending Payment.

Many people receiving unemployment are reaching the end of their benefit year. If your unemployment claim expired because your benefit year ended, you must apply for a new claim. If you do not, we will not be able to determine your eligibility or process payments, which can lead to a Pending claim status. To learn more, visit Benefit Year End.

Note: If you have an existing Pandemic Unemployment Assistance claim, you do not need to submit a new application.

If you received a Notice of Determination of Invalid Claim, Section 1277 (DE 429L) after applying for a new claim, this means you did not work or earn enough wages over the past year to qualify for a new regular unemployment claim.

If your new claim is invalid, you may still qualify for a federal extension on your prior claim. For more information, visit Benefit Year End.

Any portion of the grant funds used to compensate you for lost wages or services must be reported when you certify for unemployment benefits. Any portion of the grant funds used to pay for other expenses, including overhead costs, payroll (not including your own payroll), and other expenses related to COVID-19, do not need to be reported.

How you report grant funds depends on if you receive regular Unemployment Insurance (UI) or Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) benefits:

  • Regular UI: Report the grant funds during the week in which they were earned.
  • PUA: Report the grant funds during the week in which they were paid.

If you are still attached to your employer, receiving pay, and accruing benefits, the pay must be reported in the week in which the payment applies. Report your gross pay to the EDD on your biweekly certifications for benefits.

Once reported, we will deduct part of the gross income from your weekly payments. The first $25 or 25 percent of your income (whichever is greater) will not be deducted.

For example, if you earned $75 in a week, we will deduct $50 from your weekly payment because the first $25 does not apply. If you earned $400 in a week, we will deduct $300 from your weekly payment because the first $100 (25 percent) does not apply.

The Form 1099G reports the total taxable income we issue you in a calendar year. This income is reported to the IRS. As taxable income, these payments must be reported on your federal tax return, but they are exempt from California state income tax.

Total taxable compensation includes:

  • Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits.
  • Disability Insurance benefits received as a substitute for UI benefits.
  • Pandemic Unemployment Assistance benefits.
  • Disaster Unemployment Assistance benefits.
  • Paid Family Leave benefits.

Visit Tax Information (Form 1099G) for more details.

Note: The American Rescue Plan Act waives federal tax on unemployment compensation of up to $10,200, per person, collected in 2020. For more information, visit the IRS website.

If you receive a Form 1099G, but you did not file a claim for benefits and you think that someone else filed a claim under your name, address, or Social Security number, visit Ask EDD and select the Form 1099G category or call 1-866-401-2849 Monday through Friday, from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (Pacific time), except on state holidays.

If we find you were a victim of fraud, we will remove the claim from your Social Security number and send you an updated 1099G.

All unemployment benefits are taxable by the federal government, including the $600 federal Pandemic Additional Compensation and the extra $300 Lost Wages Assistance payments added to benefits. The 1099G will show the total benefits paid, along with any federal tax withheld or child support you owed. So, your 1099G may show more than the payments you received for your claim.

Learn more about your Form 1099G.

Due to the unusually high number of claims, repaid benefits may not show on your Form 1099G. Contact us online using AskEDD and select the Form 1099G category, or by phone at 1-866-401-2849 during regular business hours. We will confirm if we received your payment in 2020 and send you a corrected Form 1099G.

We recently added information to UI Online to help you complete your certification. When you log into your account and begin answering your certification questions, you will see this updated information. This new text will help you understand how to answer questions correctly and avoid payment delays.

Note: These additional instructions are currently not available through UI Online MobileSM.

For help with answering questions correctly to avoid delays in payments, review the following:

If we have a question about your mailing address, we will contact you using the email you provided with your Benefit Programs Online account. The email will be sent from noreply.verification@edd.ca.gov. You will also receive an email instructing you to check your UI OnlineSM inbox or you may also receive a text message.

You must complete this process within 10 days or your claim may be disqualified. Visit Address Verification for more information.

If your account is frozen and you can’t use your debit card or access funds, we may need to verify your identity to continue paying you unemployment benefits. If so, you should receive an email, text message, or mailed notice requesting identity verification documents. We strongly recommend that you log in to UI Online and use the upload documents option from the homepage for the fastest processing possible. Once verified, you’ll continue receiving benefits.

If you can’t upload your documents online, you can mail in copies of the required documents to:

Employment Development Department
Attn: Bank of America
PO Box 2530
Rancho Cordova, CA 95741-2530

Note: Some people will receive a message in their UI Online inbox with a link to use ID.me to verify their identity. If you receive this message, you must use ID.me to verify your identity.

Once verified, you’ll continue receiving benefits. If you don’t provide your identity verification documents, we may end your benefit payments. If this happens, you will receive a notice with information about how to appeal.

If you can’t access funds on your debit card or funds have been reduced and you have not received any messages from the EDD, it’s likely that Bank of America has frozen or suspended the card. This may be due to suspected fraudulent, unauthorized or unlawful activities involved with the debit card or a suspect transaction. In this case, the EDD does not need to verify your identity and suggests that you contact Bank of America. We do not have direct access to withdraw funds on any accounts. While debits may appear as having been debited by the EDD, the funds were debited by Bank of America.

If you received unemployment benefits you were not eligible for (known as an overpayment), we will send you a notice. It is important to repay this benefit overpayment as soon as possible to avoid collection and legal action. After receiving a notice, visit Benefit Overpayment Services to learn how to repay an existing overpayment.

If you want to repay these benefits before receiving a notice, review the following:

  • Benefit check not cashed – Return the original check to the EDD.
  • Benefit check cashed – Send a personal check, cashier's check, or money order made payable to the EDD.
  • Debit card – If the funds are still on your card, transfer them to your bank account and then repay them by sending a personal check, cashier’s check, or money order made payable to the EDD.

Include a letter with the following information:

  • Name.
  • Mailing address.
  • Social Security number or EDD Customer Account Number (EDDCAN).
  • Week or weeks that the returned payment applies to.
  • Reason for returning the benefits.
  • Date you returned to work (if applicable).
  • Gross earnings for each week of benefits being returned (if applicable).

Mail the payment and letter to:

Employment Development Department – Overpayment Center
PO Box 66000
Anaheim, CA 92806

Note: If you return the overpayment, you will still receive a notice from the EDD.

Unemployment Insurance

Find out if you’re eligible for Unemployment Insurance (UI) and get answers to common questions about claims.

Visit UI FAQs
Pandemic Unemployment Assistance

If you don’t qualify for regular Unemployment Insurance, you may be eligible for the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program.

Visit PUA FAQs
Disability or Paid Family Leave Benefits

Learn what benefits are available if you are sick or caring for a family member.

Visit DI/PFL FAQs
Employers

Get information about the temporary suspensions to the WARN Act and what EDD services can help navigate your business operations.

Visit Employer FAQs

Still Need Help?

Find the latest updates and changes in effect due to COVID-19, including what benefits are available, how to apply, and what to expect after applying.