Saturday, January 2, 2021

bureaucratic mysteryscape

The Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program (PUA) made me eligible for California state unemployment insurance, even though I had been working only irregularly. Back in March I filled out an application. Every two weeks I fill out a form to certify that I'm available for work: they add another $300 or so to my account and send an e-mail telling me how much more I'm still entitled to on my claim, which is still about $1000.

But the PUA originally expired at the end of the year, and this week's email says, "YOUR CLAIM HAS ENDED. IF YOU HAVE ALREADY FILED YOUR NEXT CLAIM, YOU DO NOT NEED TO CONTACT THE DEPARTMENT. IF YOU NEED TO FILE YOUR NEXT CLAIM, VISIT OUR WEBSITE AT WWW.EDD.CA.GOV," which is where I already am.

But when I go to file a new claim, it says, "If you filed an Unemployment Insurance claim less than 12 months ago and stopped certifying for benefits, you must reopen your existing claim. To reopen your claim, select Previous to return to UI Online and select Register or Manage."

So I go back to "Register or Manage," which is where I usually go to certify myself, and on the Benefits online page it says, "Federal legislation was signed to extend the PUA program. We are working to complete the necessary programming to make these new benefits available. If you already have a PUA claim on file: You do not need to submit a new application."

So it would be accurate to say that I do not know what to do. I do know that it will be basically impossible to contact the state's unemployment department and ask. Anybody have any ideas?

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