COVID-19 and Your Unemployment – Answers to FAQs

Last updated: 3/5/2021 | En español | COVID-19 Main Page

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On December 27, 2020, Congress passed legislation to add 11 weeks of benefits to Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) claims.

The new legislation also extends Pandemic Additional Compensation, which adds an extra $300 a week to regular Unemployment Insurance, FED-ED, PUA, and PEUC claims.

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.

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If you were on a Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) claim because you used all of your regular Unemployment Insurance (UI), Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC), and FED-ED benefits, you will be placed back on your PEUC extension effective February 7, 2021 to collect up to 11 more weeks of benefits.

Your weekly benefit amount could change if the amount on your last PEUC extension is different than the amount on your PUA claim. Because these claims have different requirements, if the amount on your last PEUC extension is lower than your PUA claim, we must pay the lower amount on your PEUC extension.

If you are eligible for regular UI, PEUC, or FED-ED, you do not qualify for PUA benefits.

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.

Due to the extremely high volume of unemployment claims filed, the IRS is allowing the EDD to process 1099G tax forms through February. You can access your Form 1099G information in your UI Online account. If you see a $0 amount on your 2020 form, call 1-866-401-2849, Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. (Pacific time), except on state holidays.

For more information and to request a copy of your Form 1099G, visit Tax Information (Form 1099G).

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 your claim status is pending and we scheduled a phone interview with you, we need to confirm your eligibility for unemployment. For more information, visit Claim Status: Pending Payment.

No. We will notify you through UI Online, mail, or text message when you can certify for your next benefit payment.

If you did not have a balance remaining on your PUA or PEUC claim on December 26, only weeks of unemployment starting December 27 will be payable.

Note: If you reopened your claim online before receiving an EDD message, you will first be asked to certify for the later weeks of January. You will certify for earlier weeks when we make them available to you.

If you do not have an existing claim and wish to apply for unemployment benefits, visit File for Unemployment.

You may receive an email from our trusted partner, DocuSign, to verify your address. You will get an email with a link to a DocuSign form to upload documents.

You will need to provide proof of your current mailing or home address by uploading a clear and unaltered copy of at least one of the following documents:

  • Utility bill (electricity, gas, garbage, water, or sewer), cable TV bill, phone bill, or property tax bill.
  • Bank or mortgage statement.
  • Current and complete rental or lease agreement.
  • Registration verification as a renter or authorized user of a PO Box or a private mailbox.

If you received this email, you have 10 days from the message date to verify your address.

If you are filing a new claim for unemployment, you can use ID.me to verify your identity in UI Online. View the updated UI Online: File a New Claim (You Tube) or visit Filing an Unemployment Claim for more information.

If you have already filed a claim for unemployment and need to verify your identity, you will get a message to do one of the following:

  1. Visit your UI Online homepage and select Upload Identity Documents. You will only see this option if there has been an issue verifying your identity. You can also send us documents by mail. Visit Verify Your Identity to learn more.
  2. Use ID.me to verify your identity. The message in your UI Online inbox will have an ID.me link. For faster completion online, review the ID.me user guide (PDF). If you have issues verifying your identity using ID.me, you can speak with a trusted referee using a phone, laptop, or tablet.

If you received a message that your claim was suspended, you have 10 days from the message date to verify your identity before we will send you a notice of disqualification.

If your account is frozen and you can’t use your EDD 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 EDD 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 EDD 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 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.
  • EDD Debit CardSM – 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.