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California: People must look for work to get jobless aid

Posted at 5:13 PM, Jun 17, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-17 20:13:04-04

California will stop giving unemployment benefits to people who are not actively applying for jobs.

Federal law requires people who are out of work to be actively looking for jobs to be eligible for unemployment benefits. But the federal government let states waive that requirement during the pandemic because so many businesses were ordered to close.

California has waived its work-search rule since March 2020.

On Thursday, the California Employment Development Department (EDD) said it would resume the requirement starting July 11.

EDD officials say they'll be sending out notices regarding the change to those who are currently receiving unemployment assistance. Californians starting new claims on or after July 11 will also be notified that they must register on the CalJOBS job board.

There are different work search requirements depending on whether a person is on regular unemployment insurance or Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), a federal program created to support the self-employed or small business owners.

For claimants on regular unemployment, the EDD provides the following examples of reasonable work search efforts:

  • Prepare for Job Searches - Set up an account on CalJOBS, participate in reemployment services, post a profile on various job search or networking sites.
  • Expand Networks - Let friends, prior employers, or community members know you are looking for work. Participate in networking, job fair events or clubs.
  • Apply for Suitable Work - Apply for positions with employers reasonably expected to have suitable openings matching skills and experience, including government jobs and exams.
  • Participate in Training - Engage in permissible education and training opportunities that assist in obtaining employment and do not interfere with an ability to accept suitable full-time work.

Activities that meet PUA work search requirements include:

  • Rebuild Businesses - Pursue new or additional clients, market the business, or research, prepare or submit a bid on a new contract.
  • Expand Networks - Attend networking events, participate in relevant workshops, or expand business.
  • Establish Accounts - For independent contractors who participated in an online platform, establish an account on another platform that matches the individual's qualifications.
  • Participate in Training - Enroll in training or education courses that will help the business and does not interfere with an ability to return to full-time self-employment.

Since the pandemic began, California has processed more than 20 million unemployment claims and paid out more than $128 billion in benefits.