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California Unemployment Eligibility

An individual who files for unemployment insurance (UI) benefits must meet specific eligibility requirements before benefits can be paid.

Monetary Eligibility

  • The minimum weekly benefit amount is $40 and the maximum weekly benefit amount is $450 depending on the claimant’s quarterly earnings
  • To qualify for the maximum amount each week ($450) an individual must earn at least $11,674.01 in a calendar quarter during the base period

Non Monetary Eligibility

  • Be totally or partially unemployed.
  • Be unemployed through no fault of own
  • Be physically able to work.
  • Be available for work which means to be ready and willing to immediately accept work.
  • Be actively looking for work each week benefits are claimed.
  • Quit work voluntarily
  • Fired for misconduct
  • Be approved for training before training benefits can be paid.

Eligibility Questions

I was fired from my last positing, can I avail unemployment benefits?

In case you were fired for cause, you generally can’t receive jobless benefits in California. The unemployment compensation laws reserve benefits for those who are jobless through no fault of their own. In an effort to implement this regulation, the California Employment Department (EDD) confirms the reason for your job separation with your ex-employer.

If the previous employer can’t provide proof you were fired for cause or you can provide proof you weren’t fired for cause, you may be able to obtain benefits.

How will getting laid off affect my eligibility status?

If you have been laid off from your job in California, you must directly file for unemployment. When you get laid-off, it is not your fault.

Getting laid-off doesn’t mean that you were fired. Getting laid-off doesn’t mean that you did something incorrect. Getting laid-off means that the company that you worked for did not have adequate work for you to do, and could no longer afford to pay you to do your job.

If I quit my job,  will I be eligible?

In California, the Employment Development Department is liable for managing unemployment benefits. California’s jobless workers can obtain unemployment benefits of they were released involuntarily through no fault of their own or jobs for good cause (unsafe working conditions, not being paid, change in job duties, health risks on job, family emergencies).

Employees who willingly end their employment must show they had justified reasons to terminate employment. The California Employment Development Department performs individual investigations to decide whether an individual’s reasons for termination were justified for unemployment benefits.

Want to know more about eligibility requirements? Click here.
Use our calculator to determine your benefit amount.
Got questions? Check our Eligibility Q&A section.

Questions & Answers

  1. louie says:

    the company I worked for over 30 years is merging with another company 34 miles away from my house if I quit due to the distance will I be eligiable to collect unemployment

    • Sam says:

      I am guessing you should be able to. To confirm, please call the Unemployment Office and decide on your employment accordingly.

  2. Rob says:

    The company I manage was bought out. The new owner wants me to take a demotion and pay cut. After being laid off for the transition, if I don’t take the demotion am I eligible for EDF

    • Sam says:

      You can be. I suggest that you speak the Unemployment Office in your state before making a decision on your employment.

  3. Frank says:

    I work in California jam a full time employee been there about 4 years
    My boss says there is no work for me and he would let me know if something comes up
    Can I file for unemployment?

  4. Donna says:

    I have worked 3 days a week as FLSA exempt for 10 years. My boss is reclassify me as non-exempt and cutting my pay over 50% per hour. I am 73 years old and hold 2 work related diplomas. I am most senior employee and most elderly. Reason for pay cut is wage compression. Will I be eligible?

  5. Patrick says:

    My boss cut my hours as of the next work day by half (full time to 4 hours a day). She also demoted me from human resources recruiter to lunch period phone coverage. She gave my job duties to a woman half my age. And all this has come after she failed to pay me on time last pay check. And she has begun selecting what days I’ll be paid for on which pay check (some checks are for 10 work days, some are for 7 days, some some for 11 days…). In comparing the checks to actual hours worked, the pay is correct, but I’m never sure how much my 2 week pay check will have. Also, earlier this week (3 days prior to my demotion) she harassed me for responding and attending to a Superior Court Jury Service Summons. She actually told me I should do what she does and just ignore it. Can I quit for good cause and recieve unemployment compensation while I find a more stable source of income?

    • Martin says:

      Though quitting voluntarily does not generally qualify, there can be exceptions like yours.

      I suggest that you call the Unemployment Office in your state to confirm eligibility before making a decision to quit.

  6. Jennifer says:

    If I quit my job because I am moving to a different state due to a recent divorce, will I qualify for unemployment benefits until I find a new job in the new state?

    • Martin says:

      You will not be eligible since unemployment insurance is only extended to those who become unemployed due to involuntary reasons.

  7. Don Clark says:

    If I get released from my present job after 38 years with no fault of my own and recieve severance package how would this effect my UI?

    • Martin says:

      Please wait until the severance payout ends. You can apply towards the end of it.

      If it’s a lump sum payment, you can apply immediately.

  8. Tom says:

    If I take IRA funds out to pay off credit cards will that affect income requirements and reduce benefit payments?

  9. Don says:

    I was layed off from my job in Nov 2014. I received UI benefits for 26 weeks (beginning Nov 2014). Filed an extension request after the 26 weeks ran out, which was denied, and was told to file a new claim in November 2015. I have had no employment since I was layed off. Will I receive new UI benefits beginning in Nov 2015? Assuming I do not find employment before then?

    • Martin says:

      Not sure if you can file a new claim every year since UI benefits are not revolving in nature. Please check further with the labor authorities in your state.

  10. ug1989 says:

    i started my first job in the usa working at a farm on dec 27 2013. on friday dec 12 2014 i was laid off by my employer because of lack of work. my question is, am i still elegible for unemployment benefits even if it hasnt been a full year of me working.

    • Adrian says:

      I am not sure if you will be eligible.

      They generally consider 4 of the last 5 calender quarters to determine eligibility.You don’t seem to have enough employment to meet this qualifier.
      Please check with the customer service of the labor dept in your state.

  11. Valerie says:

    I’m in California and I may be laid off this month. I’ve worked for the company since November 2013. I feel like I understand the calculations. What I haven’t seen an answer for and am not sure if it applies is:

    Would I have had to be employed for ALL FOUR of the quarters to receive benefits? I was only employed full time for two of the quarters (Oct-Dec 2013 & Jan-Mar 2014)

    I was employed April – June part time but quit because we were moving to a new city and I’m not sure if I can even include that.

    Thanks.

  12. annieddoll says:

    I was laid off a week ago. I don’t know where to turn. In need of health insurance as well as I am diabetic and depend on insulin.
    La Habra CA

    • Adrian says:

      Please consider applying for UI benefits in your state if you became unemployed due to no fault of your own.

      Remember,you must be willing to accept any suitable job offer that comes your way.

  13. Andrew Lounsbury says:

    I work for an exclusive hotel in san diego as an elevator operator. The elevator broke down five days ago. They agreed to pay me for the first day as I was at my workplace. I was scheduled to work the last five days but they haven’t fixed the elevator and aren’t paying me. Can I receive Unemployment Insurance for days I’m scheduled to work?

  14. louis says:

    Can I claim UI if I earned $1250.00 from a private party for moving their residence?

    • Adrian says:

      Ideally,you must be on rolls of your employer and meet other criteria prescribed.

      Please check with the labor dept in your state.

  15. cheryle says:

    i officially started working for a car company om 12/10/13. the company closed, i lost my job due to them closing > last day was 3/4/14. do i qualify for benefits?

    • can n. ury says:

      I have been working as a hair styelest fulltime at the same shop in Dana Point CA. for many years. The shop may close in the near future, and I may be laid off. I am 69 years old and also draw Social Security Ins. If I am laid off, will I be eligible to draw CA unemployment insurance? If so, How much for how long? Thank You

      • Adrian says:

        Please check with your employer if they pay relevant taxes in your state that contribute towards UI funds.

        “How much” and “How Long” purely depends on various aspects of your paperwork.You’re also drawing Social security benefits.In case you’re laid off, you may consider applying for UI benefits.

  16. Erika says:

    I was hired for a temp job; only three months. As a temp i don’t get any benefits and no paid time off. I was offered to extend my postion for the rest of the year. But I have no assurance of being hired on as a permanent employee. If I don’t accept this offer do I loose my chance at unemployment benefits?

  17. Elinor says:

    A car heading in opposite direction turned left in heavy fog in front of my son and they collided. My son was driving a company vehicle. The company has zero tolerance policy on automobile accidents and he was fired. Is he eligible for unemployment insurance?

    • Adrian says:

      UI is extended to those citizens who become unemployed due to no fault of their own.Please ask your son to consider applying for UI. His last employer may contest the claim.

  18. Bob says:

    I have worked last 9 months of past 18 months. Got unemployed due to ending the contract. Can I collect unemployment insurance in California?

  19. Mary says:

    i have worked in Kosovo for nearly four years. I was hired and have apt in California. I got laid off and I am returning to California. Can I file for unemployment in California. I was paid by company in Virginia and international organization.

    • kathy says:

      You could start with the California unemployment office to find out what wages have been reported for you. Do they seem accurate? If not, you may have to submit pay stubs. They are interested in the first 4 quarters of the last 5 COMPLETED quarters.

  20. Peter D says:

    I live in New Hampshire and was employed by a company in San Diego, California as the sales manager for the United States. On September 6th my employment was terminated. Do I file for unemployment with the state of New Hampshire or California?

  21. Stephanie says:

    My husband is active duty military and got orders to move to Texas. I’ve been working in California for 8 months. Am I eligible for unemployment due to a military move? Which state would I file with? And do I need to work a certain amount of time in California?

  22. David Pigeon says:

    If I get a military retirement 50% rated disabled but am unemployed do I qualify. I get a month.

    Thanks

    • kathy says:

      This is not the unemployment office – this is a public office – please do not post personal information. If you are able to work at something you may qualify.

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