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COVID-19: Unemployment Insurance for Workers Impacted by COVID-19


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State Options to Expand Unemployment Benefits

April 9, 2020 - The COVID-19 outbreak has pushed state unemployment to record highs. Alongside recent federal actions, the state may want to explore options to expand assistance to unemployed workers. Expanding assistance to unemployed workers could mitigate financial hardship for unemployed workers and, in some cases, provide statewide economic stimulus. In this post, we describe four options to expand unemployment benefits: (1) change state formulas to increase underlying benefit levels, (2) add state dollars on top of the federal $600 weekly add-on, (3) build a state-funded UI program for workers who currently are not eligible for benefits, and (4) temporarily allow ineligible workers to access State Disability Insurance benefits.

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Federal Paid Leave for Workers Impacted by COVID-19

March 27, 2020 - On Wednesday, March 18, 2020, the President signed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (H.R. 6201), the second federal relief act aimed at mitigating the economic and public health consequences of COVID-19. In this post, we summarize the two forms of paid leave required under H.R. 6201, discuss how these interact with other state benefit programs, and highlight key issues for the Legislature to consider as it responds to the ongoing crisis.

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Federal Assistance for Businesses Affected by COVID-19

April 3, 2020 - This post in our COVID-19 series on federal actions affecting California summarizes federal financial assistance provided to businesses.

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[PDF] Overview of Employment Development Department Response to COVID-19

July 30, 2020 - Presented to: Assembly Budget Subcommittee No. 4 on State Administration Hon. Jim Cooper, Chair

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[PDF] The 2021-22 Budget: Interest Payment on Federal Unemployment Insurance Loan

February 10, 2021 - The 2021-22 Governor’s Budget proposes $555 million General Fund to make the first interest payment on federal loans the state received to pay unemployment insurance (UI) benefits after the UI fund became insolvent during the pandemic. Our office’s estimate of the upcoming interest payment is much lower—about $260 million. This lower estimate reflects (1) more plausible, up-to-date economic projections and (2) recent federal action to waive a portion of accrued interest for 2021. We recommend the Legislature adopt this lower placeholder amount. In addition, we recommend the Legislature take advantage of a provision of federal law that allows states to defer 75 percent of their UI loan interest payments during economic downturns. If the state chooses to partially defer its interest payment, we estimate the 2021-22 UI loan interest payment would total roughly $65 million.

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The 2022-23 Budget: State Payments on the Federal Unemployment Insurance Loan

February 15, 2022 - In this post, we provide a projection of state and employer costs to repay the federal Unemployment Insurance loan under two economic scenarios, assess the effects of the Governor's proposed $3 billion General Fund payment toward the outstanding loan, and present an alternative to the Governor's proposal that could provide more immediate tax relief.

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Nutrition Programs in COVID-19 Recovery Actions

March 25, 2020 - This post describes key actions taken to increase Californians' access to food in the wake of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). We focus on key actions taken by the state and federal government through April 10, 2020.

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COVID-19 Disaster Declarations and Funding Implications

March 24, 2020 - In this post, we discuss federal assistance available to California and other states as a result of the President’s emergency and major disaster declarations.

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Repaying the State’s Federal Unemployment Insurance Loan

May 26, 2021 - The Governor’s 2021‑22 May Revision budget proposes $36 million General Fund to pay the first, partial payment on the state’s outstanding federal Unemployment Insurance (UI) loan and proposes to direct $1.1 billion in federal American Rescue Plan (ARP) Act funds to pay down a portion of the outstanding loan. In this post, we (1) provide an overview of the state’s UI system financing, (2) highlight how the pandemic affected the UI system, (3) look ahead to upcoming costs to employers and the state to repay the federal UI loan, and (4) assess the Governor’s proposed $1.1 billion pre-payment.

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Broad-Based Cash Assistance in COVID-19 Recovery Actions

April 3, 2020 - This post summarizes the broad-based cash assistance provided under the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. We briefly describe the historical and policy context for this assistance and discuss its likely impact on Californians.

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State Budget Effects of Recent Federal Actions to Address COVID-19

April 5, 2020 - In recent weeks Congress has passed legislation that has directed funding to respond to the coronavirus emergency. This post discusses how some of the major pieces of funding could affect the state budget’s overall condition. In particular, we focus on how funding could help the state address some of the sources of a budget problem that could emerge as a result of the coronavirus emergency.

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California's Other Budget Deficit: The Unemployment Insurance Fund Insolvency

October 20, 2010 - California's Unemployment Insurance (UI) program became insolvent in 2009, ending that year with a shortfall of $6.2 billion. Absent corrective action, the fund deficit is projected to increase to approximately $20 billion at the end of 2011. This report looks at the history of the UI program, compares California's program to those in other states, examines different scenarios for addressing the insolvency, and makes recommendations to the Legislature for solving this difficult problem.

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The 2020-21 May Revision: CalWORKs Caseload-Driven Costs in the 2020-21 May Revision

June 2, 2020 - The 2020-21 May Revision projects California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids (CalWORKs) caseload to reach historic highs in response to the novel coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic and subsequent public health emergency. In this post, we describe this projection, assess it in light of recent data and historical trends, and recommend an alternative set of assumptions.

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How Has COVID-19 Affected Renters and Homeowners?

January 19, 2021 - In this brief we assess how coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has affected renters and homeowners. We also provide an updated estimate of the total unpaid rental debt in California that has accumulated due to COVID-19.

Correction 1/19/21: Legend on Figure 3 corrected to match data.

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The 2021-22 Spending Plan: Other Provisions

September 23, 2021 - This post discusses features of the state's spending plan that were not covered elsewhere in the 2021-22 Spending Plan series.

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The 2022-23 Budget: Assessing Proposals to Address Unemployment Insurance Fraud

February 15, 2022 - In this post, we outline the challenges the Employment Development Department faced paying legitimate Unemployment Insurance claims and preventing fraud during the pandemic, review steps the department has taken to improve since then, and assess whether the six proposed anti-fraud vendor contracts are warranted at this time.