By Pedro Hernandez
Due to the “shelter-at-home” orders from local and state jurisdictions, the State of California has experienced many economic impacts. As a result, there is speculation that the state may be heading towards an economic recession. Yet, even if we are not at that point yet, we at the Ivanhoe Sol have seen many impacts on individual households that to increased risk of eviction or shut-off of important utilities like water, electricity, or the internet.
Furthermore, the County of Tulare has not issued a moratorium on evictions or utility shut offs so we are providing information for potential financial resources to support the households of Ivanhoe, Tulare County, and the San Joaquin Valley.
The Employment Development Department (EDD) of California expanded several programs for benefits for workers who are now affected by the Coronavirus. California is experiencing a record number of applications with nearly 80,000 separate claims for unemployment benefits just on March 17th due to the Coronavirus developments. If you or anyone you know is experiencing loss of employment or reduced work hours you may be eligible for benefits.
Medical Documentation Needed
Medical documentation is essential to receiving some of these special benefits. According to the EDD, “This requirement can be met by a medical certification signed by a treating physician or a practitioner that includes a diagnosis and ICD-10 code, or if no diagnosis has been obtained, a statement of symptoms; the start date of the condition; its probable duration; and the treating physician’s or practitioner’s license number or facility information. This requirement can also be met by a written order from a state or local health officer that is specific to you.”
It must also be noted that many of these programs are limited to impacts of Coronavirus that must also be certified by a medical professional. As a result, it is extremely important that if you or anyone you know is experiencing symptoms you are recommended to
- Call your regular doctor for instructions
- Call the Tulare County Public Health line at (559) 685-5720 during weekdays of (559) 471-7092 during weekends or after regular work hours on weekdays.
- If you are experiencing severe fever or respiratory stress, please travel to the closest emergency room but call ahead in order to prevent possible spread of the disease.
We also recommend continuing to advocate for a test or alternative testing location if in any case you experience any of the indicator symptoms but are denied.
Below is a brief description of the programs that have been expanded to support Californians during the Coronavirus pandemic:
Disability Insurance Claim
If you are sick or quarantined, due to being exposed to Coronavirus (certified by a medical professional) you can file for a Disability Insurance Claim. Governor Newsom’s recent executive order waives the one-week unpaid waiting period so if you are eligible you will receive benefits for the first week you are out of work. For more information call 1-800-480-3287 for from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.
Unemployment Insurance Claim
Since many schools in the area are closed to prevent exposure to Coronavirus, the EDD has expanded eligibility for Unemployment Insurance Claims. According to the EDD, “Eligibility considerations include if you have no other care options and if you are unable to continue working your normal hours remotely.” If you decide to file a claim, EDD representatives will determine if you are eligible.
Additionally, if your employer has reduced your working hours or temporarily has shut down due to the State’s orders, you can also apply for an Unemployment Insurance Claim. This program provides partial wage payment to workers who lose their job or have reduced hours through no fault of their own. “ Workers who are temporarily unemployed due to COVID-19 and expected to return to work with their employer within a few weeks are not required to actively seek work each week. However, they must remain able and available and ready to work during their unemployment for each week of benefits claimed and meet all other eligibility criteria. Eligible individuals can receive benefits that range from $40-$450 per week.”
Paid Family Leave Claim
According to the EDD website, “If you’re unable to work because you are caring for an ill or quarantined family member with COVID-19 (certified by a medical professional), you can file a Paid Family Leave (PFL) claim.” This program provides up to six weeks o f benefit payments to workers who have a “full or partial loss of wages because they need time off work to care for a seriously ill family member or to bond with a new child.” For more information call 1-877-238-4373 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.
If you or anyone you know believe that you may be eligible for these benefits we encourage you to contact the EDD or visit their official website at https://www.edd.ca.gov