This site is privately owned and is not affiliated with any government agency.

California Unemployment Application

California Unemployment Application

Apply Online

CALL: 1-866-333-4606

To reach a customer service live person, dial 1-800-300-5616 for English, 1-800-326-8937 for Spanish, 1-866-303-0706 for Mandarin, and 1-800-547-3506 for Cantonese. This line answers your questions about Filing Claims, getting information and any general inquiries. Deaf and hard of hearing callers to contact CA unemployment office by using 1-800-815-9387, the TTY toll-free number.

Visit a California Job Center

How to apply for California unemployment insurance

Unemployment benefits in California help individuals who have lost their jobs or have had their work hours reduced. The Employment Development Department (EDD) is the agency that runs the program. The process for obtaining UI benefits involves filing a claim, certifying eligibility, and maintaining regular contact with the EDD. The state of California provides a range of resources and services to assist those who are seeking unemployment benefits, including UI Online, a web portal that allows you to manage your claim online.

The best way to apply for UI benefits is online, but you can also apply by phone, fax, or mail.

Apply Online

UI Online is the fastest and most convenient way to file your UI claim. Visit to get started.

You can file your California unemployment claim with UI Online during the times listed below:

Monday 4 a.m. – 10 p.m.
Tuesday – Friday 2 a.m. – 10 p.m.
Saturday 2 a.m. – 8 p.m. Sunday 5 a.m. – 8:30 p.m.

Apply by Phone

Phone representatives are available at the following toll-free numbers, Monday through Friday between 8 a.m. to 12 noon (Pacific Time).

  • English: 1-800-300-5616
  • Cantonese: 1-800-547-3506
  • Vietnamese: 1-800-547-2058
  • Spanish: 1-800-326-8937
  • Mandarin: 1-866-303-0706
  • TTY 1-800-815-9387

Apply by Mail

You can download a paper application here: English | Spanish

Once you complete your form, mail it to:

PO Box 989738
West Sacramento, CA 95798-9738

NOTE: Extra postage is required.

Apply by Fax

Download a paper application here: English | Spanish

Fax your application to 1-866-215-9159

Information needed to apply

To get ready for a job application, it’s important to be organized. Here’s what you’ll need to have before you apply for UI benefits:

  • Your previous employer’s name, address, phone number, and your supervisor’s name. If you worked for yourself, just list yourself as the employer.
  • The date you stopped working there and why.
  • How much money you earned in your last week of work. If you’re self-employed, you’ll need to know how much you made after taxes.
  • A list of all the jobs you’ve had in the past 18 months, including the employer’s name and address, how long you worked there, how much money you earned, how many hours you worked per week, your hourly pay rate, and why you left.
  • If you used to work for the federal government, you’ll need a special form called Standard Form 8.
  • If you’re a former military member, you’ll need a copy of your DD 214 Member 4 form.

After you apply

After submitting your application for unemployment benefits, it will take about 10 days to process your claim. You will then receive Unemployment Insurance claim materials by mail. If you don’t receive these materials within 10 days of submitting your application, call one of the California unemployment phone numbers.

You can receive benefit payments for up to 26 weeks for regular UI. Currently, there are no extended benefits such as Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) or Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA benefits).

EDD will confirm your application and the benefit payment amount you will receive each week, known as your weekly benefit amount (WBA). You will be contacted by both email and postal mail. You should receive this confirmation within two weeks by mail, and it will include your WBA based on our wage records. You can also use the California unemployment benefit calculator to estimate your benefit payment.

You may also receive an email confirming that you have been automatically registered in UI Online, which will allow you to access information about your claim and certify for continued benefits online. However, if you are not automatically registered, we will mail you a notice with your EDD Customer Account Number. You can use this number to complete the registration process and gain full UI Online access.

If EDD needs more information to complete your claim, someone may reach out to you by phone or mail.

Certify your claim every two weeks

Certify your claim using the UI Online portal once you’re registered. You can also certify by phone or by mail.

You must update the EDD every two weeks with your unemployment status and basic eligibility information. Be sure to provide honest, accurate information to avoid problems with California unemployment fraud. You will be asked questions such as whether you are physically able to work, available for work, ready and willing to accept suitable work immediately, and whether you have refused suitable work or earned any wages. Learn more about California unemployment work search requirements.

The quickest way to certify is on UI Online, but you can also do this by phone or mail.

What is UI Online?

Manage your unemployment claim online using UI Online. The tool can be accessed from both your desktop and mobile device.

Before you can use UI Online, you must first create a Benefit Programs Online account. This gives you access to a variety of California benefits and services.

To set up your UI Online account, you need to access Benefit Programs Online and enter some basic information. Make sure you are logged in, then select UI Online and provide the following details:

  • Your first and last name
  • Your date of birth
  • Your Social Security number
  • Your EDD Customer Account Number

If you’re a new customer and have filed a claim, your EDD Customer Account Number will be mailed to you within 10 days. If you’ve lost your number, you can call (800) 300-5616 from Monday to Friday between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. (Pacific Time).

There are several advantages to having a UI Online account. You can manage your UI claim in the following ways:

  • File a new claim or reopen a previous one
  • Certify for benefits and report work and wages
  • Monitor your eligibility requirements and resolve any related issues
  • Get the latest information on your claim and payment status
  • Update your contact information, including your address and phone number
  • Verify your identity to ensure the security of your account
  • Receive notifications, including reminders to certify for benefits
  • View your in-person and phone appointments with EDD representatives
  • Reschedule a phone interview if necessary
  • Access and manage your tax information from the past five years
  • Check your UI Online inbox regularly for important messages from EDD
  • Ask EDD any questions you may have about your claim or benefits

Verifying your identity with

To protect your information and prevent unemployment fraud, the state of California uses to verify the identity of all UI claimants.

As you file a new claim, you will be directed to the website where you need to take a personal photo (selfie) and upload an ID photo to confirm your identity.

In case EED requires further details to verify your identity, you will have to participate in a video call with and submit either:

  • Two primary documents
  • One primary and two secondary documents.

Examples of acceptable primary documents include:

  • Passport or passport card (US or foreign)
  • Transportation Security Administration (TSA) ID Card
  • US Permanent Resident Card (I-551)
  • Federal or state ID
  • Certificate of Naturalization (Form N-550 or N-570)
  • Veteran health ID card
  • Driver’s license (US or foreign)

Examples of acceptable secondary documents include:

  • US birth certificate
  • Social security card
  • US citizen ID card (Form I-197)
  • US voter registration card
  • US health insurance card
  • School Photo ID
  • Tribal-issued photo ID card

Common errors when uploading verification documents

To pass video chat verification, individuals must follow the provided instructions and upload the required documents. Carefully follow the instructions as it is easy to make an error that results in a rejection. Avoid common errors such as:

  1. Uploading the same ID card (e.g., driver’s license) as both a federal and state ID, which will result in a failed inspection. A separate document must be uploaded for each category.
  2. Uploading a damaged or illegible secondary document.
  3. Uploading an expired or illegible primary document
  4. Submitting an image that is not an accepted document type
  5. Submitting a photocopy, scan, or screenshot of a document instead of a photo of the original document.
  6. Failing to upload the front and back images of a document when required.

After your video call with, complete your online application for unemployment. Go to UI Online and log in. Once you’re logged in, UI Online will take you to the login page. Log in there so that can share your information with EDD. Then select “Allow” and finish filling out your unemployment application.

If you can’t prove who you are using when you apply online, you will have to apply by calling, faxing, or mailing in your California unemployment claim.

What if my unemployment application is denied?

If you apply for California unemployment insurance benefits and your claim is denied, you have the right to file an appeal. You have 30 days from the notice of your denial to request a hearing with an administrative law judge.

  1. I was laid off from work in 2016, company close. after that I decided to get my comercial lincense and because self employee for part of 2016-2017-2018 and half of 2019, now I don’t have work as self employee anymore and have already apply for jobs but haven’t got call from anyone. Cani file unemployment this in California

    • Antonio,

      If you paid unemployment taxes as a self-employed, you can be eligible to claim. Please call the Unemployment Office for more.

  2. I worked for an insurance company exactly one year as a recruiter. I took the CA property and casualty insurance test through the state of CA 5 times and could not pass the test. In fear of my job, I resigned because there was no future for me in the field. I’m actively looking for a salary job. Do I qualify for unemployment?

    • Beau,

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

  3. I intend to quit my job of 12 years due to the chronic back pain that I’ve been carrying for several years (I had MRI copy from hospital).Do I qualify to receive Unemployment Benefits if I apply?

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

  4. I was fired from my full-time job in July 2016. I did not know I qualified for unemployment benefits due to my age and simply because I didn’t know it existed. After I got fired, I went back to community college to finish pre-reqs to apply for grad school. Am I still able to qualify for unemployment benefits even though it has been over a year?

    • Sammi,

      To be eligible for Unemployment Insurance, the claimant is required to have active employment and required earnings in the last 4-5 calendar quarters.

  5. I was employed by a Texas company in early 2016. I lived in both California and Connecticut during my tenure with the company. I paid California income tax all of 2016 and through May of 2017 since I spent more of my time in there. I then paid Connecticut taxes from June’17 through the date I was laid off in September of 2017. Where do I file for unemployment? I still have a residence in CA and a CA driver license but haven’t paid state income tax there since May’17.

    • Ron,

      Please apply for UI benefits from the state where your employment was based since your employer would have remitted taxes.

  6. I keep going further into debt due to low salary, I am now forced to move to another state to be able to afford bills. Can I collect Unemployment?

    • Unfortunately, personal reasons are not considered. You may not qualify.

      Please call the Unemployment Office to confirm.


  8. I was off work and being paid through worker’s comp. due to a work injury when my company went out of business, and have since been cleared to return to work. I was trying to fill out the application for UI, but I’m not sure how to handle the portion that deals with income, since I was being paid by worker’s comp. for about 2 months after the company closed. Do I include that money as part of my income, or do I strictly list the income I earned directly from the company, and how do I deal with the time discrepancy?


  9. Hello, I just moved to California from dc and I was supposed to be working but I wasn’t told the position isn’t until 3-4 months from now due to over staffed. I was working at least 4 years straight before moving. What do u suggest

    • If you lost the last job due to involuntary reasons, please consider filing from the state where your last employment was based.

  10. Hello,

    I was terminated from my last job early December 2015. Since then I have been applying to jobs but have had no luck. I am wondering if I am still eligible to receive unemployment? If so where do I apply for that? I have no means of any cash so I have been replying to Craigslist Ad’s getting some here and there. My living situation is not permanent due to my lack of funds so I am eager to know how long this will take since I didn’t expect to have the bad luck I’ve recieved finding new work.

    • I filed for unemployment in April 2016 and have 1 more month of payment before the claim runs out. i have been searching for work but have not had any luck. Can I file for an extension? Once my unemployment runs out I will not have any income

      • The E.U.C(Emergency Unemployment Compensation) remains expired. There is no extension available. Please inquire further with the labor authorities in your state by calling them.

  11. Hi my name is Mary I am a military dependent , my husband is getting transfer to San Diego California and now we are now currently stationed in Great Lakes Illinois, I have to let go of my job do to tranfer and also my job was federal also within the military. 8My question is where do I have to file for unemployment california or Illinois and can I do it online or it has to be personally or over the phone? Also is there any document I need from my job to file since I’m a military dependent?

    • Mary,

      You can file from the state where you were employed previously. You can apply over the phone or online (recommended). Details of documentation will be made available when you apply on the portal.

  12. I am a minor working in the state of California, I am a high school student and have worked and a frozen yogurt shop for over a year now, I was scheduled to take the SAT on a Saturday morning(starting at 8 and usually last a few hours) it didn’t get done until 1:20 and I was scheduled to work the morning shift at 12. I immediately called my employers to let them know the situation(me taking the test, it getting done late, and the absence of a worker opening the shop) they immediately fired me- I was understandable about the situation, since I was not there to work my shift. I did not mention to them ahead of time that I was taking the test, but I’ve been told that they shouldn’t have fired me, since my reason of tardiness was for a school function? I heard anything school related is to be excused, especially since I am still a minor…. is this correct? I have been out of a job since October 7, 2015 am I eligible for unemployment?

    • You can go ahead and apply for unemployment benefits for being wrongly terminated from the job.

      Be ready to provide the required proof in case of a dispute.

  13. Hello i just have a question will I be legible to qualify for unemployment I recently had to quit my job to focus on school. I used to work for care housing an low income after school program it was a part time job

  14. I’m a recent college graduate who can’t find employment and hasn’t worked for a couple years. Am I eligible for Unemployment Benefits?

    • You will not be eligible since the claimant is provided weekly benefits on the basis employment in preceding 4 quarters and you don’t seem to have worked during this period.

    • Please note they only consider 4 of the last 5 calendar quarters to determine eligibility.

      Kindly check further with the labor authorities in your state.

  15. I am in the Military, I am a Pennsylvania resident at this time but plan on staying in California were I am currently stationed once I am out of the Military. I did have a job lined up upon my end of tour but it did not work out. which state can I file?

    • Military men have special provisions and can apply for UI benefits under the UCX scheme in most of the states.

      You should be able to apply and receive benefits from CA(where you intend to stay).

  16. I worked in California and got laid off due to no work I am a AZ resident can I apply for unemployment in California??

  17. I had two jobs. I lost one due to them hiring a permanent person (I was through a temp agency). On the “last job” part of application, do I list the job I lost or the part-time (8 hours a week) job I still have?

    • I guess you must list the one you lost. Also make it clear(if any “Notes” section is available) that you also have a part time job in hand.

  18. My last day of work was dec 18 2012 due to family medical leave, where i went on disability. My disability has now ended. Am i eligible to get unemployment as my job considered me as having resigned?

    • You should be eligible as you are now able and available to work.

      Please consider applying for UI benefits in your state as you start looking for a job.

  19. February 6th 2014,management fired me.On 10th Feb 2014 I had applied for unemployment benefit. I want to know when I will get or start my benefit?

    • Initial claim may take upto a standard of 10 working days to be processed. Please contact the claims helpline in your state for update on status of your claim.

  20. I am an LVN and have been employed full time for the last 10 years. I received a DUI and now my nursing license is being revoked / suspended. Am I eligible for Unemployement benefits?

  21. I applied for unemployment on September 25,2013 on-line, you guys gave me a confirmation number and I still haven’t heard back from you. And I can’t get through on the phone lines. How do I know if I qualified? And do I get paid for the last two in a half weeks?

    • This is not the unemployment office – we are a public website. You will get a letter in the mail. It is possible in many states to find information about your claim online – look around the website, see if it helps.

  22. I have been calling for weeks now. I just cant get through to anybody. It’s the same message that I keep hearing after being on the phone for 6 minutes at a time. I start early 8am to 12 pm cant get through. So I sent an email that I heard will be faster. They gave me a number but that is not helping me.Is there anybody out there in calif. that can help?Idon’t know what’s harder to find a job or make this my job trying to get through? Help

  23. I am 5 months pregnant and I have a very stressful job. I have only been at the company for 6 months so I don’t qualify for the Family Medical Leave Act. I’m worried about my health and the healthy of my baby. If I quit, would I be eligible for unemployment benefits?

  24. I have been trying to file an unemployment claim for the past week. To no avail, I can’t file online because I worked in another stated within the past 18 months and the online system indicates I have to call in. Since Monday, September 23. 2013 I have not been able to talk to anyone due to high call volume and then you hang up on me. I need to reopen my claim in California, so does the mean I lose a week’s unemployment because you can’t answer your phones? Not fair! How do I get through to your office?

  25. I quit my jib due to moving out of state. I am currently searching for a job here. Can I still receive benefits?

    • You can apply – give them the details – you may have to file in the state you moved from, but either state can tell you which one.

  26. I am trying to file for a new unemployment benefits claim. I tried filing online but it told me to call the 1800-300-5616 number because I also worked in Colorado within the last 18 months. Tried calling the number to speak to someone…called even before 8am and was told the volume of calls was too great try again later. So I try back in 10 minute increments all day, and I get an automated service asking why I called. I push the appropriate prompts for why I called, and again I get told that the number of callers is too great and to try back later. Then I get disconnected every time. Phone just hangs up! What am I suppose to do to file a claim when I can’t file it online or talk to a human being? Its ridiculous, I have called that phone number for the past week, several times, as soon as they open and I have gotten nowhere!!! Please Help this is extremely frustrating!! Is there someone else or a office I can go to in Ukiah, California?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *