By Kathy Chouteau
Richmond workers impacted by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic might be able to get some financial relief. The California Employment Development Department (EDD) is providing a variety of support services to workers impacted by the virus and who qualify for benefits. Here’s the lowdown from the EDD:
Workers who have had their hours reduced—or whose employer is currently not operating due to COVID-19, can file an unemployment insurance claim. Per the EDD on its website, unemployment insurance “provides partial wage replacement benefit payments to workers who lose their job or have their hours reduced, through no fault of their own.” Workers waylaid due to the impact of COVID-19 don’t have to seek work during this period, but they do have to “remain able, available and ready to work” and meet eligibility criteria while claiming benefits. Typical benefits received range from $40 to $450 per week, per the EDD. Independent workers can learn more about their options here.
Parents who miss work due to their child’s school being closed might also be eligible for unemployment insurance benefits. “Eligibility considerations include if you have no other care options and if you are unable to continue working your normal hours remotely,” per the EDD. Apply via the previous unemployment insurance claim link.
California workers who can’t work and who are medically certified to either have COVID-19 themselves or to have been exposed to it can file a disability insurance claim. This option provides workers with short-term benefit payments “to eligible workers who have a full or partial loss of wages due to a non-work-related illness, injury, or pregnancy,” per the EDD. Benefit amounts typically are about 60 to 70 percent of a worker’s wages (depending on income) and range from $50 to $1,300 a week.
Those workers unable to work due to caring for an ill or quarantined family member with COVID-19—that can be verified by a medical professional—can file a paid family leave claim. This benefit “provides up to six weeks of benefit payments to eligible workers who have a full or partial loss of wages because they need time off work to care for a seriously ill family member or to bond with a new child,” per the EDD. Benefit amounts are about the same as those filing a disability claim.
Governor Gavin Newsom’s Executive Order has waived the typical one-week waiting period for benefits; this means that workers can receive benefits the first week they are out of work. EDD processing typically kicks in within a few weeks of receiving a claim.
To learn more about your benefit options while impacted by COVID-19, visit the EDD’s website.