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Southland Residents Receiving Unemployment Insurance Must Actively Seek Work As Of July 11 In Order To Keep Benefits

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) - Governor Gavin Newsom's administration announced Thursday that beginning July 11, Californians receiving unemployment insurance will need to actively seek employment in order to keep getting benefits.

The federal law requiring people to apply for jobs while on unemployment was temporarily waived during the pandemic due to the historic number of businesses ordered closed. Since March 2020, the California Employment Development Department has also allowed residents to forgo the work-search rule.

However, on Thursday, department officials announced that the exception will end early July.

California wasn't the only state to make significant changes to its unemployment insurance requirements during the pandemic. Many states were forced to temporarily amend their policies to make up for the massive financial impact that COVID-19 closures had on statewide economies and the high number of unemployment claims that resulted from the downturn.

The EDD has paid out more than $128 million in benefits to California residents since the beginning of the pandemic, a sum that comes with 20 million plus unemployment claims.

For the millions that have gotten or are still receiving unemployment benefits in California, the normal $450 per week cap has been boosted with an additional $300 per week pandemic relief provided by Congress. Despite the end of the work-search exception, the additional $300 in federal assistance will continue until September.

While 25 other states have stopped providing the additional $300 per week in benefits due to a lack of people returning to the workforce, Newsom has stated that decision is more about politics than economics.

Still, some southland business have said that they are struggling to staff available positions, especially in the service industry.

"There's an issue right now of high demand, but low supply. And that's not just in terms of the food, but also in terms of labor," Phillip Wang,  co-owner of Bopomofo Cafe in San Gabriel, told CBSLA. "It was kind of a challenge to say, 'Hey, today the pandemic is over. Just come on in,' but as business owners it's not that simple."

At 8.3%, California is second for the highest unemployment rate in the country. That's despite adding 390,000 jobs since February and accounting for 38% of all new jobs added in the U.S. in April.


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