April 23, 2020
EDD Temporarily Suspends Certifications for the Weeks Ending March 14 – May 9
Suspending Certification Will Remove Strain on UI System Allowing More Users to have access to the system to file claims and to get online support
SACRAMENTO, CA — California Labor Secretary Julie A. Su sent a memorandum to Employment Development Department Director Sharon Hilliard directing the department to temporarily suspend unemployment certifications.
Su’s memo addresses the reasoning behind the directive:
Over the last two days, the benefits system has slowed significantly due to the strain of so many claims, keeping Californians from accessing UI Online to file new claims and to certify for payments. This has threatened the ability of people to apply for benefits and our ability to pay benefits[.]
In order to preserve UI Online and its ability to function to provide UI benefits and additional federal pandemic-related benefits to Californians, we need to take additional temporary emergency action.
Su also provided clarity on how this is allowable in the Unemployment Insurance Code:
In light of the persistent inability of many claimants to access UI Online to submit benefit certifications because of the historically high volume of claims causing unprecedented pressure on the UI Online platform, I am directing EDD not to disqualify a claimant for continued UI benefits on the ground that the claimant has not submitted a continued claim under Unemployment Insurance Code (UIC) section 1326.5 (also known as “certification” or “re-certification”) for the weeks ending March 14, 2020 through May 9, 2020. . . . This temporary emergency action is needed to ensure that claimants continue to be paid timely, even as the total number of new incoming claims continues to rapidly increase.
This temporary emergency flexibility is consistent with state law. UIC section 1326.5 provides that EDD can excuse a claimant’s failure to strictly comply with the statute’s requirements for “good cause.”
In response, the EDD posted a notice temporarily suspending the requirement to certify eligibility usually required for claimants every two weeks before a payment can be made. Claimants, however, remain required to notify the EDD immediately if they return to work during this time period. They can do so through the EDD’s AskEDD system and selecting “Unemployment Insurance”, “Payments”, and then “EDD Paid Me and I Returned to Work, Need to Report Wages”. These changes apply to all those with an active claim that need to submit their certification for weeks ending March 14, 2020 through May 9.
The EDD will continue to issue regular UI payment amounts to eligible claimants. The suspension of the certification requirement will help reduce the unprecedented server load on the UI Online system that created some intermittent access to some users.
It will also allow the State to finish expanding system capacity needed to support UI enhancements moving forward, including the launch of the new Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program next week.
“These are extraordinary times calling for extraordinary measures and it is our job to do everything we can to get these critical benefits into the hands of Californians,” said Su.