State begins sending $ 900 more to unemployed Californians

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As the California economy continues to struggle amid the COVID-19 pandemic, state officials will mark Labor Day by sending an additional $ 900 unemployment benefit to unemployed residents – but many don’t. won’t get help right away, and almost 200,000 people shouldn’t. get it at all.The lump sum payment covers three weeks of benefits retroactive to the week ending August 1. at the rate of $ 300 per week and is paid by the federal government.

On Monday, California Labor Secretary Julie A. Su announced that the state had received federal approval for an additional two weeks, or $ 600, bringing the total profit to $ 1,500. A representative said the benefit announced on Monday would be paid later than this week’s initial payment.

An earlier federal program provided an additional weekly benefit of $ 600 on top of the state’s normal unemployment checks, but that program expired in July.

With Congress deadlocked on a proposal to extend this $ 600 benefit, an executive order by President Trump last month allowed $ 300 in weekly supplements, but with no guarantees to continue beyond three weeks.

The latest payment “will bring much needed relief” to the unemployed in California, said Dana Hadl, senior lawyer for Bet Tzedek’s legal services in Los Angeles, but said more was needed.

“While this supplement will begin to allay the fears of many workers that they will not be able to house and feed their families, it does not entirely replace the $ 600. [Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security] Take action, and Congress has yet to act to protect our country’s vulnerable low-wage workers, ”said Hadl.

The state’s Department of Employment Development said it began sending the first $ 900 in federal supplements Monday to 3.1 million people who received at least $ 100 in weekly unemployment benefits from the State and have previously certified that they were unemployed due to a COVID-19 related reason.

The EDD said it would take “a few weeks” to send out all of these benefits, with holders of agency-issued debit cards receiving a lump sum payment and those receiving benefits by check receiving separate checks.

1.2 million more claimants have yet to certify their eligibility that their unemployment is related to COVID-19 and will be informed by EDD from September 15 of the need to do so.

However, some 192,000 unemployed Californians will not receive the additional $ 300 because they received less than $ 100 in state benefits, the threshold set by the federal government for participation, according to researchers at the California Policy Lab of the. ‘UCLA.

The average state benefit collected for those who are not eligible is $ 68 per week, according to a lab analysis.

Being excluded from the new benefit “adds an insult to injury, especially since no strong justification has been provided as to why they are being excluded,” said Till von Wachter, co-author of the report, professor of economics at UCLA and faculty director of the lab.

The analysis found that those who are not eligible for the benefit are disproportionately younger, women and workers with lower education levels, State Senator Maria Elena Durazo (D-Los Angeles) said.

The qualification formula “perpetuates immense economic hardship for those who are on the verge of being deported, of not having food on the table or of not being able to find employment because they are essential workers whose jobs disappeared with the onset of COVID-19, ”says Durazo.

But even a majority of those who receive the additional payment of $ 300 will receive benefits below the poverty line, with total benefits averaging $ 575 per week, according to the report.

Seeing the amount provided by the federal government cut in half is disappointing for some unemployed Californians, including Michelle Safransky, who has struggled to get claims approved because of EDD’s continued problems in processing claims.

“It will definitely be more difficult to make ends meet, and I’m not sure that’s enough for many unemployed people, including myself,” Safransky said of the $ 300. But, she added: “Everything will be better than nothing.”

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