Business Town Hall

Lake County COVID-19 Town Hall for Business Owners

A 2nd Virtual Town Hall for Business Owners will be held Monday, April 20, from 3-4pm.

Our deadline for questions for this meeting was Sunday, April 19, at 5pm, but you can still send Business Town Hall inquiries to vision@lakecountyca.gov.

Supervisor Brown will moderate the meeting, in collaboration with Jeff and Andy Lucas of Community Development Services (CDS) of Kelseyville.  CDS is a partner of Lake County Economic Development Corporation (LCEDC), a collaborative effort of the County, Cities of Lakeport and Clearlake and other community organizations, and is a NorCal Small Business Development Center Affiliate.  They have been providing a variety of supports to local businesses for decades, including facilitating access to State and Federal funding opportunities; CDS can be reached at 707-279-1540.

Melissa Fulton, Chief Executive Officer of the Lake County Chamber of Commerce will additionally present the results of a survey, documenting impacts to local businesses of COVID-19.

Scott Rogalski, Director of Partnerships for Northern California Small Business Development Center (SBDC) Networks, who contributed to the first Town Hall, has again agreed to participate.  The slides from his valuable April 9 presentation are posted at http://www.lakecountyca.gov/.

WHAT: 2nd Virtual Town Hall Meeting for Lake County Business Owners

WHEN: Monday, April 20, 3pm-4pm

WHERE: Broadcast live on Lake County PEG TV (Mediacom Channel 8), and Online:
• http://www.facebook.com/lakecountycagov/ (English and Spanish live streams)
• https://countyoflake.legistar.com/Calendar.aspx (English language, available once the meeting starts – refresh your browser until you see, “In progress”)

Answers to Lake County Residents’ Questions for EDD
As some will be aware, we had hoped to have a representative from the Employment Development Department (EDD) present for this meeting.  In the four-week period prior to April 16, EDD processed an astounding 2.7 million unemployment claims, surpassing their largest total for a comparable period since 2010 by 2.3 million.  With many thanks to Senator Mike McGuire, and his District Representative Taylor Morrison, we were able to obtain answers to constituent questions regarding EDD processes:

1. What is the average turn around for application approval and then payment made?
Timeline and Process After Filing a Claim

• You will receive these documents in the mail within two weeks of filing your claim:
    o Notice of Unemployment Insurance Claim Filed (DE 1101CLMT)
An overview of the information you provided when you filed your claim. Contact UI within 10 days of the Mail Date if any information is incorrect. Reporting incorrect information may result in a disqualification, overpayment, or overpayment penalties.
    o Notice of Unemployment Insurance Award (DE 492Z)
Your weekly benefit amount and maximum claim amount based on wages reported by your employer(s). Contact UI within 30 days of the Mail Date if any information is incorrect.
    o Employment Development Department Customer Account Number Notification (DE 5614)
Your EDD Customer Account Number (EDDCAN) is required to register for UI Online and may be used instead of your Social Security number when speaking with the EDD.
    o Unemployment Insurance Benefits: What You Need to Know (DE 1275B) (PDF) Important information about eligibility requirements for UI benefits and a step- by-step guide to certifying for ongoing UI benefits.
    o Continued Claim (DE 4581) (Sample PDF)
Use this form to certify for continued benefits every two weeks. You can also certify through UI OnlineSM or EDD Tele-CertSM. (Info on online options)

Receiving Benefits

• When your first benefit payment is posted to your account, Bank of America will mail you an EDD Debit CardSM. It may take 7-10 days to receive your debit card. Once you activate the card you can track, use, and transfer your benefit payments. Once you activate the card you can track, use, and transfer your benefit payments.
• You can set up a one-time or recurring direct deposit transfer to the financial institution of your choice at no cost to you. Visit Bank of America EDD Debit Card or call Bank of America Debit Card Customer Service at the phone number on the back of your card.
• Benefits are deposited on a bi-weekly basis
• Payment information is updated daily and is available through your UI Online account or by calling the UI Self-Service Phone Line at 1-866-333-4606.

2. Is EDD fully staffed now? If not, when and if so, how long will they stay that way?
 
Beginning Monday, April 20, 2020, the Employment Development Department’s (EDD) office hours will be extended to 8 am-8pm every day in order to respond to the record number of unemployment insurance (UI) claims the state is receiving. A total of 1,340 state employees have been redirected to increase staffing at the call center, and assist Californians with their UI claims as hours of operation are increased
(Link: https://edd.ca.gov/about_EDD/pdf/news-20-10.pdf).
The EDD asks people to apply online and look first for answers on its website before calling. Gov. Newsom said EDD leaders have moved 550 staff members to focus on the increased volume of applicants and will move "hundreds more" specifically into the call center.
In the past 5 weeks, EDD has seen more than 2.7 million unemployment claims filed—nearly the same amount as all unemployment claims during the 2008 Great Recession.

3. If applications are not processed prior to employees going back to work, will the payments for lost time be retroactive?
For regular Unemployment Insurance: File your UI claim in the first week that you lose your job or have your hours reduced. Your claim begins on the Sunday of the week you submitted your application. Important: Waiting to file can delay your
benefits. Link: https://www.edd.ca.gov/unemployment/filing_a_claim.htm

For Pandemic Unemployment Assistance: Benefits can be retroactive to weeks starting on or after February 2, 2020, depending on your last day of work due to COVID-19 and regardless of when you submitted your claim application. The effective date of your claim will begin the Sunday of the week when you last worked and became unemployed due to reasons directly related to COVID-19.
Link: https://edd.ca.gov/about_edd/coronavirus-2019/pandemic-unemployment- assistance.htm

4. Does everyone that has been laid off qualify for benefits, regardless of how long they have been employed? (Asked by employee of newly started business)
We would recommend they submit a UI claim if they earn W-2 wages and have had their hours/wages reduced. EDD will then process your application and determine if you qualify.

If you did not earn enough wages before being laid off to qualify for regular unemployment insurance, you should file a claim under the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Program once the application becomes available on April 28th.
 
5. Do self-employed qualify for benefits?
Yes, the NEW Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program (PUA) provision expands coverage to certain workers who traditionally are not eligible for unemployment benefits under state law, such as individuals who are self-employed, independent contractors, who have limited work history, or who have exhausted all rights to regular or extended unemployment benefits, among other issues.

EDD announced on April 14 that they need two weeks to create the new technology to process these claims. The application will be available on April 28th. Once up and running the EDD’s new system will begin to pay individuals within 24-48 hours of applications being filed.

Gig workers who believe they may have been misclassified as independent contractors should apply for benefits through the regular Unemployment Insurance program. True independent contractors should apply for the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Program.

Under the PUA, individuals can receive weekly benefits that may be the same as those provided under the standard UI program (subject to verification of their earnings). The minimum weekly benefit amount is $167, but weekly amount may be higher and equal the amount provided under regular UI (maximum $450/week), depending on proof of prior earnings. Individuals may receive up to 39 weeks of benefits which can be retroactive for COVID-19 related unemployment starting February 2nd through December 31, 2020. In addition, PUA recipients will also receive $600 per week added to their benefits for the weeks they were unemployed during the period of March 29 through July 31, 2020.

The Employment Development Department (EDD) will be accepting on-line applications for this program beginning on Tuesday, April 28.
Resources:

• PUA Eligibility
• PUA FAQs
• For more information on the resources available to Californians please visit edd.ca.gov.

Additional $600 per week from CARES Act funding:

Unemployment Insurance Program
• If you certified for Unemployment Insurance benefits for this past Sunday and have an EDD debit card/direct deposit set up, you should have received an additional $1200 (payments are deposited bi-weekly) on top of your weekly benefits
 
• If you certified on Monday, you should see that on your card today
• If you haven’t received your debit card yet then it may take a few extra days for you to receive the $600
• You will also receive an additional $600 for the week of April 5th if you qualified for benefits for that week
• The additional $600/week will end on July 31st

PUA Program
• You will receive an additional $600/week once you begin receiving PUA benefits. It will be paid on top of your weekly benefit.
• The additional weekly benefit will apply to the weeks between March 29th and July 31st.

 



On April 9, 2020, District 5 Supervisor Rob Brown hosted a Town Hall, to provide information for local businesses:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wb3yRH1zVr0 (English)
https://www.facebook.com/lakecountycagov/videos/2537469823177362/ (Spanish)

The Forum was moderated by Michelle Scully, Deputy County Administrative Officer, and panelists included:
• Scott Rogalski , Director of Partnerships, Northern CA Small Business Development Center (SBDC) Networks https://americassbdc.org/
• Jeff and Andy Lucas, Community Developments Services of Kelseyville, Lake County Economic Development Corporation, 707-279-1540
• Carlos Gutierrez, Deputy Director, San Francisco Region, US Small Business Administration (SBA) https://www.sba.gov/page/disaster-loan-applications#section-header-0
• Sid Harper, Commercial Loan Officer, Saving Bank of Mendocino County https://www.savingsbank.com/
• David Thurber, Middletown Branch Manager, Tri Counties Bank  https://www.tcbk.com/
• Eddie Crandell, District 3 Supervisor and Tribal Chair, Robinson Rancheria https://www.rrrc.com/

PAYCHECK PROTECTION PROGRAM (PPP)
This is a first-come, first-served program intended to support businesses. 

Please visit the US Treasury’s PPP Resource and Application Page, for more information.
https://home.treasury.gov/policy-issues/top-priorities/cares-act/assistance-for-small-businesses

At least the following banks with some local presence and/or serving local customers are participating in the PPP:
• Bank of America https://www.bankofamerica.com/
• Bank of the West https://www.bankofthewest.com/
• Redwood Credit Union https://www.redwoodcu.org/
• Savings Bank of Mendocino County https://www.savingsbank.com/
• Umpqua https://www.umpquabank.com/ 
• Wells Fargo https://www.wellsfargo.com/
• West America https://www.westamerica.com/
• Tri Counties https://www.tcbk.com/
• Chase https://www.chase.com/
Thanks to Community Development Services for providing this list.

MORE RESOURCES
During the meeting, Supervisor Brown and multiple panelists referenced the fact that available supports and programs are dynamic, and frequently change.  The following resources appear to be regularly updated:

GO-Biz COVID-19 Resource Page
https://business.ca.gov/coronavirus-2019/
This webpage developed by the California Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development, to provide resources for businesses.

The State’s primary, and most frequently updated resource page is https://covid19.ca.gov/, and also includes resources for business.

SBA Coronavirus (COVID-19): Small Business Guidance & Loan Resources
https://www.sba.gov/page/coronavirus-covid-19-small-business-guidance-loan-resources

SBA COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loan Application
https://covid19relief.sba.gov/#/

Employment Development Department (EDD)
https://www.edd.ca.gov/about_edd/coronavirus-2019.htm
Information on Unemployment Benefits and more.

Updated Frequently Asked Questions are available here, from EDD

Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Program
Per Lake County Economic Development Corporation:
As part of the federal CARES Act, the new Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program helps unemployed Californians who are business owners, self-employed, independent contractors, have limited work history, and others not usually eligible for regular state UI benefits who are out of business or services are significantly reduced as a direct result of the pandemic.

The EDD will begin accepting online applications for this program on Tuesday, April 28.

Follow these link for more info:
https://www.edd.ca.gov/about_edd/coronavirus-2019/pandemic-unemployment-assistance.htm
https://www.labor.ca.gov/pandemic-unemployment-assistance-pua-program/

California’s Labor and Workforce Development Agency
https://www.labor.ca.gov/coronavirus2019/

Additional resources for workers and employers, such as paid sick leave and guidance from the Labor Commissioner, and a benefits breakdown chart:
https://www.labor.ca.gov/coronavirus2019/#chart

STILL HAVE QUESTIONS?

Local assistance is available!

Community Development Services:
Jeff Lucas, jefflucas@mchsi.com
Andy Lucas, andlucas@att.net

Or call 707-279-1540

Lake County Chamber of Commerce, Melissa Fulton, CEO
https://www.lakecochamber.com/covid-19/
ceo@lakecochamber.com

Lake County Economic Development Corporation
https://www.lakecountycaedc.org/resources/
lakecountycaedc@gmail.com

Slide decks from the April 9 Town Hall
The April 9 Business Town Hall meeting featured a slide presentation from Scott Rogalski, Director of Partnerships, Northern CA Small Business Development Center (SBDC) Networks.

Those slides can be found here.

Additionally, Jeff and Andy Lucas of Community Development Services, of Kelseyville, presented slides with resources, including some local resources. 

Those slides are available here.

Please note, information on the slides was accurate when delivered April 9, 2020.  Program information is subject to change.