COVID-19 and Your Unemployment – Answers to FAQs

Last updated: 7/22/2021 | 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.
  • Adds an additional $100 per week for people who qualify for regular unemployment benefits and earned self-employment income.

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.

To receive Mixed Earner Unemployment Compensation (MEUC) benefits, you must:

  • Be eligible for benefits on a:
    • Regular Unemployment Insurance (UI) claim
    • Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC)
    • Federal-State Extended Duration (FED-ED) extension
      • Note: If you are collecting Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) or Training Extension (TE) benefits, you are not eligible for the MEUC program.
  • Be eligible to receive at least $1 in unemployment benefits, or have had your unemployment benefits applied to your overpayment, for each week between December 27, 2020, and September 5, 2021, that you wish to collect the extra MEUC payment.
  • Apply for the MEUC program and provide documents that prove your net income (your pay after all taxes and deductions) from self-employment was at least $5,000. If your claim started in 2020, you need to have made at least $5,000 in 2019. If your claim started in 2021, you need to have made at least $5,000 in 2020.

You must apply to receive MEUC benefits. Learn more about MEUC.

You must reapply for a new claim (even if you are currently on an extension) if you earned enough wages  in the last 18 months and are still unemployed or working part time. We will notify you when your new claim is processed. This usually takes two to three weeks.

  • If you’re unsure if you have enough wages as reported by an employer, log in to UI OnlineSM and select File New Claim. We will do one of the following:
    • Immediately tell you that you do not have enough wages to establish a new claim.
    • Provide instructions on how to submit a new application.

For more information, refer to the unemployment benefit calculator.

If you served in the military, worked for a federal government agency, or worked in a state outside of California within the last 18 months, you must reapply for a new claim by phone, mail, or fax.

You do not need to reapply if you did not earn enough wages in the last 18 months to establish a new claim, regardless of whether you are on a regular claim, a federal extension, or Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA). Continue to certify for benefits, and we will notify you when your benefit weeks are processed.

To learn more, visit Benefit Year End.

According to our records, you did not earn enough wages to establish a new claim, so we will continue to process federal extension weeks on your claim. Continue to certify for benefits if you have weeks available and check your payment status on UI Online.

Note: If you think you earned enough wages, but your employer did not report them to us, you can submit a new application by paper or phone.

According to our records, you did not earn enough wages to establish a new claim, so we will continue to process federal extension weeks on your claim. Continue to certify for benefits if you have weeks available and check your payment status on UI Online.

Note: If you think you earned enough wages, but your employer did not report them to us, you can submit a new application by paper or phone.

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.

If you received a new debit card from Bank of America that you did not request, it could be because:

  • You recently submitted an application with a different name than what we had on file.
  • You verified your information through ID.me using a different name than what you provided on your unemployment application.

This change requires Bank of America to issue a new debit card to match the updated name we have on file. For example, if you provided the name “Mike Doe” when you first applied, but then verified through ID.me as “Michael Doe” later, we will update your records to “Michael Doe” and a new debit card will be issued for that name.

Important: Use your new card only. All funds from the old card will be transferred to the new card, and you will not be able to use the old one. No further action is needed.

Bank of America is sending chip cards to new claimants starting July 25, 2021. If you already have a debit card, it will be replaced with a chip card when it expires.

If your card has been lost or stolen, you must contact Bank of America at 1-866-692-9374 (TTY: 1-866-656-5913).

If your card is damaged, you can order a replacement card online by visiting the Bank of America debit card website.

For more information, visit Debit Card.

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 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.