Local News

Unemployment Benefits About to End for Millions of Californians


San Francisco – Amidst the height of the pandemic, California’s economy is slowly turning back to life as it gained about a million payroll jobs in the past year.

In contrast, about three million of them are still collecting unemployment benefits, and for about two million of them, pandemic benefits are coming to a sudden end on September 4.

The Employment Development Department warns folks to be prepared as millions of people who have lost their jobs during the pandemic are also about to lose their benefits.

According to former EDD director Michael Bernick, “Right now we have about three million Californians on some form of unemployment insurance.”

He added, “if no changes are made between now and September fourth roughly… two million Californians will see their benefits end.”

More Benefits Gone

Another major change that the people will have to prepare for is the federal government’s move that puts a stop to the additional $300 per-week bonus to everyone’s unemployment checks.

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The federal government will also put to an end the first-of-its-kind program.

This program paid unemployment benefits for non-traditional workers and with its end, it will mean no more benefits for gig workers, independent contractors, and the self-employed.

Another expiring program is Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC).

This program extended benefits up to 53 weeks for those with expired claims.

What does this mean?

The Employment Development Department now urges everyone unemployed to find a job.

Bernick says that the economy has changed since the pandemic: many businesses shut down, workers moved. Michael Bernick, who now works as the research director for the California Workforce Association also added that many worry about getting sick on the job – or sending kids off to school.

“It’s not such an easy process to say, well we have 3 million on unemployment and we have all these jobs and people can immediately fill them.

It’s not an easy match in terms of location, in terms of skills, in terms of aptitudes.”

Currently, the Biden administration says states may use any leftover unemployment funds to continue some of these pandemic benefits.

However, there is no word yet if California is taking up that offer.

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