Those $600-a-week bonus unemployment payments have started to arrive for entertainment industry workers in California who lost their jobs in the coronavirus shutdown. “I got mine yesterday,” a location manager told Deadline. “I think it will help everyone in the industry because we’re all out of work and nobody knows when it’s going to start up again.”
The recent $2 trillion CARES Act now adds an additional $600 per week to the amount of unemployment insurance benefits recipients ordinarily would get. In California, anyone entitled to the maximum of $450 a week will receive $1,050 a week for the next four months.
“I’m really happy to report that those payments are now being made,” Ken Gomez, deputy division chief of the California EDD’s Los Angeles Workforce Services Division, said this morning during a 90-minute webinar specifically designed to answer questions from unemployed entertainment industry workers. “That extra money will go a long way to helping people in this difficult time.”
“Our goal is to keep you informed and to get you paid faster,” Gomez said, explaining that the California Employment Development Department, as part of the CARES Act, also has a new Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program that helps those not traditionally eligible for unemployment benefits, including unemployed Californians who are business owners, self-employed, independent contractors, have limited work history, and others who are out of business or have had their services significantly reduced as a direct result of the pandemic.
That program, which is especially helpful to the industry’s many small business owners and freelancers, provides up to 39 weeks of benefits, and an additional $600 to each PUA weekly benefit amount you may be eligible to receive as part of the separate CARES Act Pandemic Additional Compensation program. Only the weeks of a claim between March 29 and July 31 are eligible for the extra $600 payments.
To apply for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, click here.
Today’s webinar was hosted by the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor; AFL-CIO; and by a coalition of Hollywood guilds and unions including SAG-AFTRA, the DGA, IATSE, Teamsters Local 399, Musicians Local 47 and Laborers Local 724.
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