As part of the federal CARES Act, the new Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program helps unemployed Californians who are business owners, self-employed, independent contractors, have limited work history, and others not usually eligible for regular state UI benefits who are out of business or services are significantly reduced as a direct result of the pandemic. The provisions of the program include:
- Up to 39 weeks of benefits starting with weeks of unemployment beginning February 2, 2020, through the week ending December 26, 2020, depending on when you became directly impacted by the pandemic.
- A new 13-week federal extension for those who run out of their regular state-provided UI benefits (maximum 26 weeks). File a PUA claim and you may be converted to the federal extension once it is available.
The fastest way to apply for benefits is through UI OnlineSM. You can also apply for PUA by phone, mail, or fax.
For additional general guidance on the PUA program.information, visit the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance FAQs.