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Workforce Partnership Discusses Financial Help For Those Who Have Been Impacted By Coronavirus

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The San Diego Workforce Partnership provides people with employment assistance and information on state benefits. Andrew Piccard, chief programs officer for Workforce Partnership, joins Midday Edition on Thursday to discuss what help is available to those facing financial difficulties because of coronavirus.

Speaker 1: 00:00 As businesses close their doors to prevent the spread of covert 19 many employees have been laid off or had their hours reduced. The state, local and federal governments have been working to put tools in place to help people during this difficult financial time. Andrew Paccar. It is chief programs officer for the San Diego workforce partnership or an organization that provides people with information on state benefits. He joins us to talk about what kind of help is out there. Andrew, welcome. Thank you. Happy to be here. So president Trump signed an emergency aid package into law last night. What's your understanding of the type of aid it will provide to people out of work because of Corona virus?

Speaker 2: 00:40 Yeah, we're watching the news carefully to understand what resources are going to become available for uh, San Diego guns. We understand that cash aid is part of that package. Um, but more importantly, what we're watching carefully is an expansion of current unemployment benefits, um, as well as special dislocated worker grants to help those who may have been impacted by the COBIT 19 crisis.

Speaker 1: 01:05 Now those who have been laid off or had their hours reduced or eligible for unemployment and the waiting period to apply has been waived our part time or self-employed workers eligible for unemployment as well.

Speaker 2: 01:17 Hard time and self-employed workers can still qualify. Um, and we encourage all to take advantage of these benefits. They can go online and file a claim online through EDD website or um, call it anytime Monday through Friday.

Speaker 1: 01:31 We've heard of people having trouble getting through to the EDD online or on the phones. What advice do you have for them?

Speaker 2: 01:38 Yes, we have seen a higher increase in traffic on um, web, online clams as well as phone calls. Uh, my advice is to hang in there and to keep trying and if you're still having difficulties, you can find out the phone number of one of our local career centers here on our website, and someone standing by to help assist you

Speaker 1: 01:58 for those who are sick and could possibly have coronavirus or have been told to quarantine themselves due to exposure. What financial resources are available to them.

Speaker 2: 02:07 Yeah. In this case, individuals would also want to go to EDD. Uh, in this case you'd be filing for disability insurance. Disability insurance can help provide a benefit up to 60 to 70% of wages depending on the income and whether you're currently sick or on a medical quarantine. Uh, you could apply and be eligible for this benefit for up to 52 weeks.

Speaker 1: 02:30 And what financial resources are available for those who are over 65 or have preexisting conditions and are being told to self isolate and can't work work

Speaker 2: 02:39 remotely. Yeah. For those individuals who are 65 and plus, they could potentially qualify for both. The first resource I'd have them check out is the disability insurance that I just mentioned where they can supplement wages. They may also qualify for unemployment insurance if they had been working previously. Uh, both benefits can't be claimed at the same time. So I'd encourage all over 65 to go online and find out more about both options and what best fits their situation.

Speaker 1: 03:07 Your organization. San Diego workforce partnership has six career centers to help those looking for unemployment, but they're close to the public right now. How are you now providing services? That's correct.

Speaker 2: 03:20 Well, our six centers may have closed the doors to walk ins. Our staff are still standing by to help everyone impacted by the code of 19 crisis. We're available over the phone by email. We're even setting up zoom meetings to provide all of the great employment and career coaching services that we offer out there. I'll also say that for those EDD and unemployment benefits at this time, we're still open to helping those who may need in-person assistance. At this time. It's only on an appointment basis that could change in the future, but we know that some of our community members may not have access to a computer and internet or phone. Um, and so we want to make sure that all of our resources are available to all who may need them.

Speaker 1: 04:08 And how about small businesses? Is there any help available to them if they've been impacted?

Speaker 2: 04:12 Yeah, absolutely. Uh, with the governor's executive order, we saw that there was extensions in payroll tax filing. There's also through EDD, um, a program called worker sharing program. If you're considering laying off, uh, employees due to the economy in this crisis, there's programs, um, that may help supplement those workers wages to prevent you from laying them off. We also at the local level operate what's called layoff aversion programs where we're going to be connecting with businesses on a great variety of resources in the community. Um, if in businesses wanted to learn more about that, I encourage all to visit our website, to find out more about these programs.

Speaker 1: 04:57 You know, a lot of assistance available to those who have been impacted is in flux. Talk to me about that. Yeah, that's correct. Um,

Speaker 2: 05:06 a lot of social services providers and community providers like us, um, are scrambling to redirect our services to our, uh, remote level. Um, we're fortunate that we had the, um, technology and infrastructure in place, but we're still trying to move more of our content, more of our resources online. So my recommendation for all who are seeking assistance is to continually check both our website, the state's website, um, and resources. Because as information is becoming available, we're pushing that out to the community.

Speaker 1: 05:38 I have been speaking with Andrew Picard, chief programs officer with San Diego workforce partnership. Andrew, thank you so much for joining us. Thank you. Pleasure to be here.

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Maureen Cavanaugh and Jade Hindmon host KPBS Midday Edition, a daily radio news magazine keeping San Diego in the know on everything from politics to the arts.