Mountain Views News, Combined Edition Saturday, April 11, 2020

MVNews this week:  Page 7


Mountain Views-News Saturday, April 11, 2020 



New Program Extends Unemployment Compensation to Freelance, Contract 
and Gig Workers;

Benefits Retroactive to February


Washington D.C. – Today, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) sent a letter to California Labor 
Secre-tary Julie A. Su urging the Employment Development Department (EDD) 
to prioritize mak-ing the application for the new Pandemic Unemployment Assistance 
(PUA) program pub-licly available as soon as possible. This federally funded 
program provides compensation to unemployed workers who are not eligible for 
regular state benefits—including self-employed, freelance, gig, and contract workers—
but EDD has not begun accepting PUA claims.


“I represent thousands of independent, freelance, contract, and gig workers—including 
many in the entertainment industry—who often do not fully qualify for 
standard unem-ployment benefits,” Schiff wrote in the letter. “The CARES Act, 
which was signed into law two weeks ago, dramatically expands unemployment 
coverage, and I led an effort in the House to extend this coverage to nontraditional 
and independent workers. As states are now working to implement these expanded 
federal benefits, I am hearing from many of my newly eligible constituents who are 
concerned because they are not yet able to apply and who are increasingly worried 
as their financial responsibilities continue to mount without anticipated income.”


Governor Newsom recently announced that workers who qualify for regular state 
bene-fits will receive the $600 CARES Act Pandemic Additional Compensation 
(PAC) payments beginning this Sunday. However, because the application for Pandemic 
Unemployment As-sistance is not yet available, thousands of self-employed, 
freelance, gig, and contract workers newly eligible for federally funded PUA payments 
under the CARES Act have not yet been able to apply.


“I recognize the extraordinary volume of claims that the EDD is now facing, and I 
am con-fident that you and your staff are working with all possible speed to process 
claims quick-ly, including those who the CARES Act made newly eligible for benefits,” 
Schiff’s letter continued.


Schiff also requested that the EDD update its coronavirus webpage daily so that 
workers awaiting new benefits know they are accessing up-to-date information. In 
addition, Schiff asked EDD to consider letting these workers create accounts and 
indicate their intent to apply so they can be notified as soon as the application is 
available. In doing so, EDD could ensure workers are fully informed and understand 
that benefits are available retroactive-ly to February 2, 2020 for work impacted by 
the pandemic, and they will not miss out on assistance due to delays in processing.


The State of California has processed 2.3 million unemployment insurance claims 
in the past four weeks. Applications for the most recent week were up 2400% over 

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