Hueso asks for patience, offers resources for aid

State Sen. Ben Hueso

In an April 9 teleconference, California State Sen. Ben Hueso, who represents the 40th District, provided an update to the community on state aid available to residents to offset financial effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

He repeatedly asked listeners to be patient with overburdened systems that are struggling to handle an influx of applications during the current pandemic.

The senator issued an update on unemployment benefits available through the Economic Development Department for regular employees who have been laid off due to circumstances related to COVID-19.

“I’m told it normally takes three weeks to process a claim. Unfortunately, employees who usually handle 180,000 claims statewide are working on 1.6 million claims right now, 100 times the workload. Although staff has been moved from other offices, there is some training that needs to happen. This pandemic came out of nowhere in terms of our ability to retool the government,” Hueso said.

Hueso asked for patience, but also said he encourages everyone to get all the federal funding currently available before providing an update for self-employed workers.

According to the EED website, the new Pandemic Unemployment Assistance is part of the federal CARES Act and is designed to help unemployed Californians who are business owners, self-employed, independent contractors, have limited work history, and others not usually eligible for regular state unemployment benefits who are out of business or whose services are significantly reduced as a direct result of the pandemic.

Acknowledging he has heard feedback from people having trouble accessing benefits, Hueso advised applicants to routinely check the EDD website at and to remain patient.

“We’re hearing people say they’re having trouble getting access to benefits but keep checking the EDD website. Also, tap into my office for Twitter and Instagram and we’ll get this information to you as soon as we get it,” Hueso said.

“Although my physical offices are closed right now, my staff and I are working overtime remotely to assist you. I encourage you to contact my offices directly.”

When questioned on available relief for small business owners, Hueso discussed two programs: the Payment Protection Program through the federal CARES Act and the Economic Inquiry Disaster Program.

The CARES website says the Payment Protection Program authorizes up to $349 billion in federal funding and is intended to provide small businesses with funds to pay up to eight weeks of payroll costs including benefits.

According to the site, those funds can also be used by small business owners to pay interest on mortgages, rent and utilities.

That same CARES website also describes the Economic Inquiry Disaster Loan Advance as up to $10,000 intended to provide economic relief to businesses that are currently experiencing a temporary loss of revenue.

Application information for both programs can be found at: but those who do not qualify for either of the federal programs might still have options through the state of California, Hueso said.

“Microloans from the state of California are available and those who do not qualify for federal relief might qualify for one of the loans at the state level,” he said.
Small businesses owners can visit: for more information on state aid.

“California has also partnered to create a new website that when I last checked, had over 70,000 jobs listed,” he said.

That site with open employment listings can be found at: along with information on job retraining programs.

Recognizing that unemployed residents might have trouble paying rent, Hueso informed listeners that for the next four months, the federal government is providing an extra $600 per week in benefits for unemployment aid recipients.

“First, apply for unemployment at but also, regarding evictions, on March 22 Governor Newsom issued a moratorium on evictions with San Diego County also putting a similar statement out on March 24.

The hope is that everyone can continue to pay their rent and expenses, and provide food.”
Hueso said there are resources that may offer people relief.

“If you are going to be unable to pay rent due to losing your job from COVID, we’re asking landlords to work with tenants. San Diego Workers Assistance Initiative through United Way launched a website for people impacted by layoffs and reduced working hours,” Hueso said.

That site is: