• mollyadbailey

Penalty Weeks

Updated: Jun 14

Can people who have penalty weeks get access to benefits?

  • Even people who have paid back all of their overpayments and paid any penalties owed may have penalty weeks remaining that make them ineligible for UI for a period of time of up to three years. PUA is available for not only the self-employed and independent contractors but also for other individuals who are ineligible for UI. Those serving penalty weeks fall into this category.

  • A few members have been stating their claims have been automatically rolled into PUA with the $167 benefit amount. Despite being on PUA, it has been said you will still have to serve those penalty weeks later.

If I am serving penalty weeks and ineligible for UI, what do I need to do to get PUA?

  • PUA applications opened on 4/28/20, which you may be eligible for

  • Individuals with active UI claims who are not receiving UI benefits because they are serving penalty weeks should not reapply for UI or apply for PUA.

  • If you have an active UI claim between the period February 2, 2020 to April 27, 2020, you will be mailed a notice as early as Saturday, May 2, 2020, with more information about the PUA program, how you can receive these benefits, and how to complete and return the notice to the EDD. On the notice, you will be asked to indicate whether your unemployment is a direct result of COVID-19. Eligible claimants will be paid retroactively for their past weeks of unemployment and will receive the extra $600 payments for each week they were unemployed beginning March 29, 2020 through July 25, 2020.

  • All payments required to be paid by the claimant (you), including overpayments and penalties associated with overpayments, still need to be paid.

  • If you have not applied for UI benefits by April 27, 2020 but know you are required to serve penalty weeks, please follow the normal benefits application process through UI Online and complete the self-certification, which is now part of the claim filing application.

I was almost done serving my penalty weeks, but now they've automatically rolled me over to PUA. I have a smaller benefit amount now than I did before.

  • In order to go back to your regular UI benefits, you need to call to make this adjustment to request to stay on regular UI benefits. It's not a guarantee that they can do it, but it definitely does not hurt to try. Phone tips here.

I have false statement penalty weeks, can I get PEUC?

  • If you still have false statement penalty weeks on your regular UI claim, you are not eligible for PEUC and you will continue on the PUA claim.


Can I move from PUA to PEUC?

  • PEUC is a 13 week extension ONLY for people that have exhausted regular UI benefits and not related to those serving penalty weeks or need to serve.

I'm back to work, should I continue to certify?

  • If you are waiting for pending weeks to clear and you have money you are waiting to be paid out to you -- do not close your claim. Continue to certify - you need your claim to be open for those weeks to be cleared

The penalty weeks I have are correct and I'm not doing an appeal. What about me?

  • Once you are done a second letter should be sent to you to get PUA retropay for the weeks that you had done penalty weeks before

May 2nd letter

  • The letter states they will allow people with penalty weeks. DO NOT CHECK "do not apply" because you need to meet one of the following requirements in order to qualify for PUA retro pay. Check the first box "job shut down due to COVID-19". We are talking about your previous weeks.

Appeals & Penalty weeks

If my PUA is as much as my UI at $450 and we're getting the difference in retro pay for all the weeks as if we were on UI the entire time, why would I continue to appeal?

  • If you win your appeal you will have the opportunity to eliminate your penalty weeks for future claims and possibly get your 30% penalty or even a small chance of getting your overpayment you paid back (rare, but not impossible)


I won my appeal. What happens next?

People who have won, have been waiting up to 5 weeks and have not been paid. According to an appeals rep and a couple EDD supervisors - this is what they expect to happen

  • Appeals office will send the decision back to EDD

  • You'll get your decision in mail within a week

  • You may see some changes on your claim history where it said "appeal"

  • When you get your mailed decision saying you won, you may notice your penalty weeks, overpayments and disqualifications disappear and if you proved that the EDD made the overpayment in error, you could possibly get that money back (though has not been heard of yet)

  • After the waiting period, you are supposed to get full UI retro pay

  • If you were on PUA already, you will get the retro pay on top of the PUA


Here's the complicated part:

If you were on PUA, once you get the UI retro pay -- you obviously cannot keep BOTH benefits sine they are two different programs. You have to pay PUA back and you will be given options how to do so

  • After you get your UI retro pay, if you get an "overpayment" in the mail or any new "overpayments" on your claim history -- DO NOT WORRY

  • If they mail it to you, it'll most likely match the amount of PUA money you collected and you will NOT receive penalty weeks for this

Why are they making it so complicated?

  • It makes more sense for them to just give you the "difference" but these are two different programs. UI is state funded and PUA is federally funded.


When I was on PUA, they taxed the $167, so do I owe $167 or the taxed amount of $150 per week?

  • You should only be paying back the $150/week


NOTE: In these unprecedented times, policies and procedures are always changing, so don't be surprised if today's right is tomorrow's wrong



Additional questions and answers added with help of Erica Chan & Craig White

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