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Extended Benefits

What benefits are available as part of the most recently approved federal extensions?

The legislation approved by the U.S. Congress and implemented on April 15, 2010, extended the filing deadlines for federal extensions of Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits. The legislation did not add more weeks of unemployment benefits to the federal extensions. It only extended the deadlines for filing the federal extensions. Up to 99 weeks of total benefits is still the maximum available to unemployed workers in California. The total number of benefit weeks for which someone is eligible depends on their individual situation, when the prior claims were filed, and California’s unemployment rate.

Who is eligible for federal extension benefits?

Federal extension benefits are designed to provide further income support to eligible unemployed workers who have been out of work for a long period of time. The current legislation makes Sunday, May 23, 2010, the deadline for filing a first federal extension of benefits, once a regular UI claim runs out. The deadline for filing a second, third, or fourth federal extension of benefits, is May 30, 2010, once the prior level of extension runs out.

It is possible that Congress will act again in pushing back filing deadlines for claimants to move into the next level of these extensions. But for now, those individuals filing a typical 26-week original UI claim after November 15, 2009, will most likely not be eligible for any of the four federal extensions. There is simply not enough time left before the current May deadlines to use all of their regular UI benefits and start a federal extension claim. However, claimants may be eligible for some extended benefits under a separate FED-ED program later in 2010 if the state meets certain levels of unemployment required by law.

What do I need to do if I believe I’m eligible for federal extension benefits?

The EDD should be able to automatically file federal extension claims for unemployed workers who have exhausted all available benefits. This will help you transition seamlessly into your first federal extension or into the next available federal extension as long as you remain otherwise eligible.

Once the federal extension is filed, a notice and/or claim forms will be sent to eligible claimants. If you do not receive a claim form in the mail from EDD after 10 days from the date you received your last check, you will need to contact EDD regarding your UI claim. A very small percentage of claims may not have been filed automatically and therefore, if you have not received any type of correspondence from EDD regarding the new extension, you may need to file a claim. You may apply online at EDD’s Web site, www.edd.ca.gov, or contact EDD by telephone. The EDD anticipates high call volumes so you are encouraged to apply online. Filing online is the fastest way to file your claim.

If I run out of my regular UI benefits, how do I file for the first federal extension that’s been available?

Once you have exhausted your entitlement to your regular UI claim, you may be eligible to file the first extension. If you are eligible to file the first extension, EDD will automatically file the first extension and send you an additional Continued Claim Form, DE 4581. No action is required on your part.

Once the federal extension is filed, a notice and claim forms will be sent to eligible claimants. If you do not receive a claim form in the mail from EDD after 10 days from the date you received your last check, you will need to contact EDD regarding your UI claim. A very small percentage of claims may not have been filed automatically and therefore, if you have not received any type of correspondence from EDD regarding the new extension, you may need to file a claim. You may apply online at EDD’s Web site, www.edd.ca.gov, or contact EDD by telephone. The EDD anticipates high call volumes so you are encouraged to apply online. Filing online is the fastest way to file your claim.

Do I need to reapply for the second federal extension?

Once you have collected all benefits payable on your first federal extension, you may be eligible to file the second federal extension. If you are eligible to file the second federal extension, EDD will automatically file the second federal extension and send you an additional Continued Claim Form, DE 4581. No action is required on your part.

If you do not receive a claim form in the mail from EDD after 10 days from the date you received your last check, you will need to contact EDD regarding your UI claim. A very small percentage of claims may not have been filed automatically and therefore, if you have not received any type of correspondence from EDD regarding the new extension, you may need to file a claim. You may apply online at EDD’s Web site, www.edd.ca.gov, or contact EDD by telephone. The EDD anticipates high call volumes so you are encouraged to apply online. Filing online is the fastest way to file your claim.

What are the deadlines for filing for the first federal extension?

Under current federal extension filing deadlines, the last date the first federal extension can begin is May 23, 2010. If you exhaust your entitlement to regular UI benefits before May 23, 2010, and meet all of the following eligibility criteria, you may be eligible for the first federal extension if you:

Are fully or partially unemployed on or after July 6, 2008,
Have exhausted your entitlement to your regular UI claim,
Are not qualified to file a new regular claim,
Have had a valid claim that began on or after May 7, 2006,
Meet all eligibility criteria, AND
Have a regular UI claim where the total amount earned in the base period is either:
More than 40 times your weekly benefit amount

OR
More than 1.5 times the highest quarter in your base period.

What are the deadlines for filing for the second federal extension?

Under current federal extension filing deadlines, the last date the second federal extension can begin is May 30, 2010. If you collect all of the benefits on your first federal extension before May 30, 2010, and meet all of the following eligibility criteria you may be eligible for the second federal extension if you:

Were eligible for the first extension,
Collected all benefits on the first extension,
Are not qualified to file a new regular claim in California or in any other state(s), AND
Meet all eligibility criteria.
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What is the FED-ED extension?

The Federal-State Extended Duration Benefits (FED-ED extension) is an extended benefit program that is separate from the federal extended benefit program. FED-ED extended benefits are available once California’s unemployment rate reaches a certain percentage. The FED-ED program currently provides up to 20 weeks of extended UI benefits to individuals who are unemployed and have collected all of their available UI benefits.

If Congress does not take action to extend the current version of the FED-ED extension law, and California continues to meet the threshold for FED-ED benefits, a FED-ED extension may be reduced to a maximum of up to 13 weeks of benefits beginning June 12, 2010. If this happens and a claimant is affected by this change, he or she will be notified by mail.

What are the deadlines for filing for the FED-ED extension?

There is no deadline for filing the FED-ED extension at this time. When the FED-ED program ends depends on California’s unemployment rate. Once California’s unemployment rate drops below a certain level the FED-ED program will end and no further FED-ED extensions can be filed.

For eligible claimants who have collected all benefits on their second federal extension with a week-ending date after November 21, 2009, they must collect the one week added to the second federal extension, and the third and fourth federal extension before they can potentially collect the FED-ED extension.

For eligible claimants who have collected all of the benefits on their second federal extension with a week-ending date prior to November 21, 2009, a FED-ED extension will be filed for the claimants if eligible. The claimants must collect all available benefits on the FED-ED extension before they can file and collect the one week added to the second federal extension, and the third and fourth federal extensions.

If California’s unemployment rate continues to meet the State requirements to file FED-ED extensions, California can continue to file FED-ED extensions.

How are FED-ED requirements different from previous extensions?

The requirements to receive FED-ED extended benefits are stricter than the requirements from previous extensions. In order to receive FED-ED extended benefits, you must continue to meet all UI eligibility criteria. You may be required to:

Document at least three (3) work search contacts on the back of your Continued Claim Form, DE 4581.
Accept offers of suitable work that may not be in your normal occupation.
For more information regarding FED-ED requirements refer to the Notice of Determination for Federal-State Extended Duration (FED-ED Extension) that was mailed to you when your FED-ED extension was filed.

Do I still need to fill out a Continued Claim Form for extensions?

Yes. As one of the requirements to receive UI benefits, including extended benefits you must continue to complete the Continued Claim Form, DE 4581, and mail it to EDD in a timely manner.

My check didn’t include a Continued Claim Form. Where can I get one?

Individuals who did not receive a Continued Claim Form, DE 4581, should contact EDD online, or call the toll-free number. You are encouraged to contact EDD online as the EDD is currently experiencing high call volumes. Contacting EDD online is the fastest way to get your Continued Claim Form, DE 4581, mailed to you.

If I’m granted an extension, will I get benefits for any missed weeks?

In general, if you qualify for an extension you will be mailed a bi-weekly Continued Claim Form, DE 4581, for the first two weeks of your extension. You cannot be paid extended benefits unless you submit a completed and signed Continued Claim Form, DE 4581. Once EDD receives your Continued Claim Form, DE 4581, and it is determined you meet all the eligibility criteria, your extended benefit check will be issued with the next bi-weekly Continued Claim Form, DE 4581 attached to the check.

The information provided is reproduced from the California EDD website