New Unemployment Relief in the Consolidated Appropriations Act

The Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 (“Act”) was signed into law on December 27, 2020. The Act included a second round of stimulus payments of up to $600 for individual income tax filers, up to $1,200 for joint tax filers, and up to $600 per qualifying child in the taxpayers’ household. The amount of an employee/taxpayer’s stimulus payment may be reduced (phased out) based on the employee’s adjusted gross income, but the employee will not have any money taken away from the stimulus payment for past due child support.

In addition to stimulus payments, the Act expanded or extended various unemployment benefits available to workers impacted by the coronavirus pandemic under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.  For instance, employees otherwise eligible for unemployment compensation will receive an additional $300 per week in Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) for weeks of unemployment beginning after December 26, 2020, and ending on or before March 14, 2021.  Also, workers—including employees, self-employed workers, independent contractors, and gig economy workers—may receive up to fifty (50) weeks of unemployment compensation through March 14, 2021 under Act.  Finally, the Act provides for Mixed Earner Unemployment Compensation of an additional $100 per week from December 27, 2020 through March 14, 2021 for traditional wage earners who can validate self-employment income of $5,000 or more in the most recent tax year.

Employers that have employees affected by the pandemic are encouraged to direct their employees to the Employment Development Department for a comprehensive list of available benefits, eligibility requirements, and application procedures.  Importantly, unemployment benefits provided for by the Act are subject to withholding for past due child support.

For additional information, visit California Child Support Services, COVID-19 updates at https://childsupport.ca.gov/covid-19-updates/ or the Employment Development Department at https://www.edd.ca.gov/about_edd/coronavirus-2019/cares-act.htm