From Navigating COVID-19
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A major part of the CARES Act is designed to help individuals who have lost their jobs or have been subject to reduced wages by supplementing unemployment insurance.
An employee must be a "covered individual" in order to receive the increased funds. That eligibility includes anyone who provides self-certification that he or she is able and available to work, but is unemployed or partially unemployed due to:
- a diagnosis of COVID-19 or experiencing symptoms and seeking a medical diagnosis;
- a member of his or her household's COVID-19 diagnosis;
- providing care for a family member or household member who has been diagnosed with COVID-19;
- being the primary caregiver for a child or other person in the household who is unable to attend school or another facility as a direct result of COVID-19;
- inability to reach the place of employment because of quarantine imposed as a direct result of COVID-19;
- a health-care provider's advice to self-quarantine due to COVID-19 concerns;
- inability to commence scheduled employment or access the workplace as a direct result of COVID-19;
- being the breadwinner or major household support because the head of household has died as a direct result of COVID-19;
- having to quit a job as a direct result of COVID-19; and/or
- place of employment is closed as a direct result of COVID-19.
The act extends unemployment insurance by 13 weeks and provides a four-month enhancement of benefits. The CARES Act also provides UI benefits to people who lack sufficient employment history to receive them, and to those who have exhausted their state's unemployment compensation benefits.
Individuals are not eligible for the federal supplement if:
- They are able to work remotely.
- They are receiving paid sick leave or paid family leave.
In addition to California unemployment benefits, a covered employee is eligible for:
- benefits equal to the amount determined under state law, plus $600 per week to each recipient of unemployment insurance for up to four months (expires July 31, 2020);
- 13 more weeks of benefits to people who remain unemployed after state unemployment benefits are exhausted;
Assistance under the unemployment provisions will not exceed 39 weeks, unless otherwise extended.
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, if an individual is eligible to receive even $1 of unemployment insurance benefits for a claimed week, he or she will receive the full $600 under the program.
To read the DOL’s statement, see https://www.dol.gov/newsroom/releases/eta/eta20200410.
Individuals apply for enhanced unemployment benefits through California’s unemployment insurance website at https://www.edd.ca.gov/unemployment/.
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