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California’s New Round Of Unemployment Aid Leaves Out Many Younger Workers

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A Redwood High School senior during a drive-in graduation ceremony at the Marin County Fairgrounds in June. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
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This week, California started distributing new unemployment payments of $300 per week under the federal Lost Wages Assistance program. But nearly 200,000 out-of-work Californians won’t get a dime, because their current benefits are too low.

Californians must already be getting at least $100 per week from the state to qualify. That leaves out many part-time and low-wage workers, as well as freelancers with mixed sources of income.

Younger workers are among the most likely to be excluded under these eligibility requirements, according to a recent analysis from University of California researchers with the California Policy Lab.

Nearly 23% of Californians aged 16-19 won’t qualify. And almost 10% of workers aged 20-24 will get nothing.

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Some recent college graduates say the pandemic has seriously diminished their job prospects, and losing federal unemployment assistance will only make it hard to keep up with rent and student loan payments.

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