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California Parents Can Get Extra Benefit If Their Child Is Studying Online

California parents who need to stay at home with their children this fall may be eligible for a weekly unemployment benefit of several hundred dollars. Writes about it SacBee.

Photo: Shutterstock

If a school closes, or more likely only offers online tuition - and parents have to skip work to care for their children - they may be eligible for benefits, according to the California Employment Department (EDD).

Determining who can qualify and how much they can get includes questions that will vary from person to person.

The Department will schedule a phone interview with the parent to gather additional information, if necessary, to determine eligibility for benefits. During the last school year, parents who had to stop working or shorten their hours to take care of their children due to school closures were eligible for benefits.

There are several options for schools that have recently opened in Sacramento. They can be opened with county or state approval. Schools can only open with district-approved plans, i.e. physical distance, limited hours, and other requirements.

The state's reopening guidelines say schools can return 25% of students. The regulations urge schools to prioritize opening to small groups of children with disabilities, those with special needs, English learners, or students who need access to the internet or other distance learning devices.

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A survey of public schools in Sacramento found that it would be difficult for many to open them on a limited basis in accordance with the guidelines.

All of this is likely to force parents to stay at home with their children and possibly force them to cut their work hours or quit their jobs.

Here are some of the scenarios that EDD suggests:

If a parent or guardian leaves their job, the agency must determine if the person had “good reason” to do so. While people usually have to be available to work in order to receive benefits, "parents may be eligible for benefits if, for example, they do not have other childcare options available."

If the parent or guardian is not eligible for regular government benefits, but they are the primary guardian of the child who must stay at home. They can get benefits from the federal pandemic unemployment assistance program if they are eligible.

If the employer allows the parent or guardian to reduce hours of work. They are likely to be eligible for a reduction in benefits based on their weekly income and if they meet other requirements.

Here's how EDD explains this lower pay:

The first $ 25 or 25% of salary, whichever is the greater, is not counted as salary and is not deducted from the weekly benefit amount.

Thus, if someone makes $ 100 a week, the agency deducts $ 75 from the weekly payment. And for someone who has a weekly benefit of $ 450, a reduced amount of $ 375 will be paid.

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