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socrateaser, Lawyer
Category: California Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 39011
Experience:  Retired (mostly)
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Hello: I was involuntarily laid off, received a 6-month severance

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Hello: I was involuntarily laid off, received a 6-month severance package, and also took my meager pension. After 6 months I applied for UI but the state of CA said that my pension would subsititute for the amount of CA UI under Section 1255.3. I am applying for jobs regularly but nothing has materialized. I cannot live on the untaxed $2K/month I am receiving and want to appeal their decision. I am searching on the web to try and find out what is available to me but am not finding the answers I am searching for about federal insurance. I believe everthng is state driven by law, but where does the Fed claim fit in. I was making about $10K/month. There has to be some median support level I can receive to get by until I get a job. What do I put in an appeal and does taken the small pension preclude me from advancing further in this process? What is the timeframe to file for a federal application--after the state benfits (26 weeks) runs out and I still don't have a job? Thank you for your assistance.


I fear that you may not find favor with this answer. Please understand that if I were able to provide a simple solution to your question, I would absolutely do so. Sometimes, however, all I can do is explain what the law is and is not.

UI Code 1255.3 is fairly deterministic. Subsections (c) and (d)(1) provide certain exceptions from the rule denying UI benefits:

  • (c) Subdivision (a) shall apply to any pension, retirement or retired pay, annuity, or other similar periodic payment only if both of the following are met: (1) The pension, retirement or retired pay, annuity, or similar payment is under a plan maintained (or contributed to) by a base period or chargeable employer. (2) In the case of such a payment not made under the federal Social Security Act or the federal Railroad Retirement Act of 1974 (or the corresponding provisions of prior law), services performed for the employer by the individual after the beginning of the base period (or remuneration for such services) affect eligibility for, or increase the amount of, such pension, retirement or retired pay, annuity, or similar periodic payment.
  • (d) (1) Subdivision (a) shall not apply to any pension, retirement or retired pay, annuity or other similar periodic payment if the individual has made any contribution to the pension, retirement or retired pay, annuity, or other similar periodic payment.

In particular, if you made any contributions to your pension during employment, then you are entitled to full unemployment benefits. This is the typical grounds to appeal the EDD decision.

Concerning other options for benefits, while I understand your extreme financial difficulties, absent your eligibity to receive Social Security benefits, I am unaware of any additional options at the federal or state level.

This may stick in your throat, but you may want to consider taking a minimum wage job, or a temporary position, such as working at Starbucks, etc., to supplement your pension -- assuming that you cannot meet the exception condition found in UI Code 1255.3(d)(1) -- because, you won't be receiving UI benefits, so there is no reason not to take practically any employment position.


Note: receiving federal extended benefits, requires that you are eligible for state benefits. So, unless you expect your pension to run out, you would not qualify for federal benefits. But, as long as you are filing continuing claims forms, you will receive notice of your right to receive extended benefits at the time that your state benefits expire.

Please let me know if I can be of further assistance.

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