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California Unemployment Benefit Questions

California Unemployment Benefit Questions

What to do when unemployment benefits are exhausted in California?

California does not currently offer any extended benefits. All federal extensions enacted during the COVID-19 pandemic are now expired.

You may want to look into BenefitsCal, a program that helps individuals connect with various services in their county. Services include Medi-Cal, CalFresh (formerly known as Food Stamps), and California Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids (CalWORKs), which provides cash assistance to families with children and pregnant women in the last 120 days of pregnancy, who have little or no assets or income.

The California Association of Food Banks coordinates with federal, state, and local community organizations to ensure that groceries are available at local food banks throughout California. Additionally, free summer lunch programs are available to all children under 18, regardless of income.

How to apply for unemployment in California?

The most efficient way to apply for UI benefits is through the online platform, although it is also possible to apply through other channels such as by phone, fax, or mail. Learn more about how to apply for California unemployment.

You can file a claim online during these times:

  • 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.

How long can you collect unemployment in California?

The maximum duration of unemployment benefits in California is 26 weeks. Benefits can be extended during economic recessions and natural disasters, however, there are no active extensions at this time.

How much is unemployment in California

The maximum weekly benefit in California is $450, while the minimum is $50. Your weekly benefit amount depends on your work history and previous wages. To qualify for California unemployment, you must have earned either $1,300 in the highest quarter of your Base Period or $900 in your highest quarter, along with a total base period earnings of 1.25 times your high quarter earnings. However, if you did not work or earn any wages in the past 18 months, you would not meet the criteria for receiving unemployment compensation. Use the California unemployment calculator to estimate your unemployment payment.

Why haven’t I received my unemployment benefits this week California

If you have not received payment, it may be due to an eligibility issue. Wait for two weeks and recheck the certification status for any updates. If your claim has a remaining balance and the benefit year end date has not passed, you must continue to certify for benefits. If there is no change in status after two weeks, please call the EDD.

Who qualifies for California unemployment

To qualify for California unemployment, the following conditions must be met:

  • You must be unemployed through no fault of your own
  • You must have earned enough wages during the base period
  • You must be physically able to work
  • You must be available for work
  • You must be ready and willing to accept work immediately
  • You must search for work
  • You must certify your eligibility biweekly

Learn more about California unemployment eligibility requirements.

Can California unemployment be extended

In California, the maximum duration for unemployment benefits is 26 weeks. Although benefits can be prolonged during economic recessions, pandemics like COVID-19, and natural disasters, there are currently no unemployment extensions available. When necessary, the DOL manages the Extended Benefits program, while FEMA offers Disaster Unemployment assistance.

Does California unemployment do direct deposit?

California pays benefits using the EDD Debit Card from Bank of America. While the EDD cannot help you set up direct deposit, Bank of America can. You can have funds from your debit card automatically deposited into your preferred bank account.

To set up a direct deposit transfer, you’ll first need to receive and activate your card. Once you’ve done that, you can contact Bank of America either online or by phone to get started.

You must activate your card before you can initiate a transfer. Please note that you do not need to have a Bank of America account to transfer funds to another bank. When setting up your transfer, it’s important to contact Bank of America directly online or by phone, rather than going through the EDD. If you need immediate access to your funds, you can choose to transfer only a portion of your benefits to your bank account and keep the rest on your card.

Does California unemployment get taxed?

Yes, California unemployment benefits are taxable. If you collect unemployment compensation, you will receive a 1099-G form at the end of the year. You must report your unemployment benefits as income when you file your federal tax return, and you may need to pay federal income tax on the benefits you receive. You do not have to pay California state taxes on your UI benefits. You can choose to have federal income tax withheld from your unemployment benefits. This setting is available in the UI Online web portal.

How do I reopen my claim?

If you stop filing your weekly claims (even possibly for one week), your UI claim becomes inactive. If you want to start claiming again, you must first reopen your claim by re-applying for UI benefits. You can reopen your claim any time during your 52-week benefit year for regular UI claims. If your benefit year has ended, you must apply for a new claim.

You may reopen your claim or file a new claim using the EDD’s online application, UI Online, or you may call our toll-free phone number and speak to a claims specialist who will reopen your claim or file a new claim. The process for reopening your claim is the same process used to file a new claim. Once you submit your UI application, the EDD will determine whether you will be reopening an existing claim or filing a new claim.

You may reopen your claim or file a new claim using the EDD’s online website and follow the below mentioned steps:

  1. Access your UI Online account
  2. Select “Reopen Your Claim”
  3. Answer all questions
  4. Review and submit your answers
  5. Check your status

You may log in to the website or call the toll-free phone number and speak to a claims specialist to reopen your claim or file a new claim. The process for reopening your claim is the same process used to file a new claim. Once you submit your UI application, the EDD will determine whether you will be reopening an existing claim or filing a new claim.

A new or reopened claim takes effect the Sunday of the week you contact the EDD. This means you must contact the EDD during the first week you want to claim benefits. Once you reopen your claim or file a new claim, a Continued Claim form for the following two weeks will be issued to you.

What are holding fees?

Holding fees are payments made to an individual with respect to the filming of a commercial. It is separate from the compensation paid for the hours or days of actual work performance. Holding fees are usually paid at the beginning of each cycle during which the commercial will be used.

The Department considers holding fees to wage since they are compensation for personal services.

Do federal civilian employees and ex-military personnel qualify for UI benefits?

Yes, federal civilian employees and ex-military personnel qualify for UI benefits. Federal civilian and ex-military personnel are required, however, to provide additional documentation.

Federal civilian employees will be required to mail copies of the Standard Form 8 and Standard Form 50 to EDD. These documents are mailed to the employee at the time of separation.
Ex-military personnel will be required to mail a copy of Member 4 of their DD214 to EDD. The DD214 is mailed to the servicemember at the time of separation.

If you do not have your DD214, The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) can provide you with information on your military service and copies of your DD214.

  1. Question:
    Say for example I got a job offer and I accepted, but I don’t start work until nearly a week later. The day I accepted the offer happens to be a few days before the next Benefit Certification. How would that affect the certification, and would I still receive benefits for that time?

    Also say for example later on I decided to refuse the work offer because I wanted to go for a different job offer, but then job offer didn’t go through for one reason or another. How would that affect certification? Also if I had certified for benefits after accepting the job offer, but before I decided to refuse the job offer later on, what would I need to do? Would I be in trouble for fraud or anything because of this?

    • You should still be able to claim until the employment officially starts. Please call the Unemployment Office for details.

  2. My daughter and I were extremely sick in the last month and I did not apply for benefits because I did not receive the reminder email and was not checking online due to my illness. I reopened my claim but am wondering if I will be paid for the month I missed applying for. Is there any way I can be reimbursed that money?

    • My initial claim is with employer A. My benefits were pending. I appealed it with employer A. I received an offer from employer B. It didn’t work out with employer B. I reopened my claim. Edd said as long as I make $2500 from employer B, I will be able to collect from Edd. Employer A said that I was forced to resign it termination due to misconduct. When I talked to edd they said I should still be pending. They were able to catch it. Why are my benefits still affected from employer A? My last payment is now in pending and I was able to collect prior payments. Will I have to pay this back? This isn’t my error and I still want my last payment from employer B

      • Lea,

        That is perhaps the Unemployment Office is considering income from both your past employers during the base period.

  3. I was off work (medically signed out) and being treated for severe carpal tunnel that required surgery. I worked for a small private business and was terminated while being treated. I was on SDI and filed unemployment after I was released by my doctor with no restrictions. EDD informed me my employer is contesting. The termination paperwork states that I was terminated due to undue hardship on the business and inability to accommodate. What would be a reason they are contesting?

    • Christine,

      UI benefits are offered to claimants who lose employment due to involuntary reasons. The claimant should be able and available for work. If you think you meet these criteria, please ask for an adjudicator in case they deny.

    • Will,

      I tried looking up for that information on the department’s website and could not find anything relevant. Please call the Claims Center for details.

  4. I’m confused. I retired from the military and I don’t qualify for UI because I receive a pension for which I “didn’t pay into the retirement fund” and therefore it is “deductible” income, even though my branch pays for UI for me (according to the Department of Labor…and I pay taxes…which fund the government. This doesn’t seem right to me. I have friends who also retired in California and somehow collected UI. Is there a law or rule I’m missing?

  5. I had benefits in 2014
    now I need to apply in 2018
    Do I get a new account number or is the number from 2014 a lifetime number ?

  6. I am currently approved for training and was accepted with a target date of 6/2019. I received a notice in the mail today saying I need to reopen a claim. I have got to have this completed ASAP I have rent due

  7. I received unemployment benefits for the first week period (mandatory first week waived, first received payment for second week) but immediately stopped because of shame in doing so. I tried surviving without while searching for a job but have nearly exhausted my savings so it looks like I will have to collect despite my misgivings. I am still within my collection period and still have significant balance remaining. How do I go about reapplying for unemployment?

    • David,

      I can understand your situation. Unfortunately, Unemployment Insurance is only a one-time affair. Please call the Unemployment Office to inquire about the availability of benefits in any other form.

  8. My companies HQs are in California and I live in another state. Will I receive unemplpyment from California?

  9. If i worked in a Temp Agency do i need to put the name of agency as my last employer or from Job assignment ?

  10. If i am on unemployment and receive $300 income from my side business I understand that I need to report that and my benefits for that week will be reduced. Is this “reduction” a permanent loss? My total benefit if I am without work should be $450 X 26 weeks which equals $11,700. But in this case would it be $11,700 minus the $300?

    • Lidian,

      I do not know the exact calculation of how its done in your state. Please call the Claims Center for clarification.

  11. My niece’s spouse died at the end of last year n wanted to file his unemployment benefits n she took the form to the local EDD office n told she needed to mail to P.O. box in riverside but didn’t give the dept: what is the full address%?

    • Mercy,

      There might be a separate wing/address which I am not aware of. Please call the Claims Center for exact details.

  12. I just started UI and one of the questions online is whether I’ve made money by… and then there’s a long list of items. Pension is at the top. I do collect my late husband’s pension. Do I need to disclose that?

  13. I have been working as an independent contractor for the past 15 years. Recently started a salaried position
    n and will be laid off soon. Can I collect unemployment

    • Jennifer,

      Contract positions do not generally qualify since employers do not pay taxes into the system. Please inquire further with your employer.

  14. Is the unemployment benefit retroactive? I stopped working mid June 2017 but did not file until Sept. My last date of work was listed on the unemployment application but I only received benefits based on the date I filed. If it is possible to receive retroactive pay, how do I go about filing for that?

  15. I quit my job today because the work conditions have been so horrible that I could not stand to do my job properly and effectively. I have picture documents. Most is against food and health regulations. Among other things. I also traveled 35 miles one way on my application I stated I could work any hours after 7 am. But that changed I was expected to work in regular unscheduled hours. Anywhere from 2am on. When I was scheduled to be there at 7 am.. do I qualify for unemployment? Plus mentioning I live in Nevada but worked in California.
    Thank you for your time.

    • Yes, you can be eligible if you quit due to hostile work conditions.

      Please consider applying and provide documentary evidence in the case of a dispute.

  16. I’ve seen comments regarding UI eligibility following expiry of a severance package. What exactly does that mean in terms of how the time frame is determined?

    • You should read about what surrounds Severance Pay and you can get information about it on our website.

  17. I was laid off and applied for benefits on Jan 1, 2017. Then I got a full-time job which lasted during the tax season, until April 18 and now I am jobless again. I applied for a New Claim with a more recent time period as base period but I got a letter saying they simply re-opened my old claim. I didn’t know if I MUST use the old claim or if I can open a new one. There was no explanation provided why they didn’t open a new claim for me. Is this the way things always work or was the EDD person being lazy…? Thank you, Erin

    • Erin,

      I can understand your frustration. Please call the Claims Center to understand further and to check if any action is required from your end.

  18. I was laid off from my last job at the end of June 2016. I filed for UI benefits on 07/06/2016. I have been on a California Training Benefits extension which will end at end of claim year on 07/2017. Can I file for a new claim in July 2017, after current benefit year expires, for earnings from Q2 (April, May June) of 2016? Looking at the chart for the Standard Base Period shows that Q2 time period is within the 5 quarter time table shown for filing new claim.

    • Please call the Claims Center for further information in this regard since its very specific to your claim.

  19. Unfortunatelymy job laid off again my last paycheck was today so i need to go back on unemployment hopefully for a short time. I have a claim that I can re-open from last year and don’t know if i re-open or file a new claim? I had approximately. 2 thousand remaining from the last claim if I re-open the claim would it re-calculate with my new numbers or would this claim end after the 2 thousand runs out? I simply don’t know if I re-open or file a new claim. Can you please help me? Thank you very much!

  20. I worked from OCT 2015 until April 30 2016 and my job ran out and I was let go. I collected unemployment until I was hired in the same job on Oct 1, 2016 and was let go at the same time on April 30 2017 (which is this week). My claim is still inside the year by one week I think because its asking my on the website to re-open my claim. Can I RE-Open my claim from last year? (there is a small amount remaining) And if i do re-open my claim will they re-caluculate my claim total? Thank you VERY much!

    • If there are benefit weeks/amount left in your account, you can be eligible to claim.

      Please call the Claims Center to inquire further and apply accordingly.

  21. I quit my job back in January of 2017 and I was denied unemployment, I’m no longer working but am attending school part time and wanted to find out if I’ll be eligible to file a new claim.

    • It depends on the reason for being denied. Please share the details or contact the Unemployment Office for clarification.

  22. I was laid off from my job at the end of December 2016, after 37 years, due to the company being sold. I am receiving a severance package and a small pension. Am I eligible for unemployment benefits, and does the pension effect how much I will receive?

    • The quantum of payment will be based on multiple factors. You can be eligible to apply after the expiry of the severance payout.

  23. I was laid off in Jan from employer. For one week in march I accepted a job and worked one week. I do not feel safe doing some the tasks of the business that was not disclosed before hand. If i leave this position after one week, can I reopen my claim? I only only been off unemployment for 1 week.

  24. I was laid off 5/2016. Filed EDD a month or so later. Found a new job with a different employer 9/2016. Do I file a new claim or reopen the old claim? Also, my former HR speculated if I need to reopen my claim, I would have more money accessible via EDD now than when I stopped making claims because they pay into it. Is that true?

  25. I worked as manager for a power plant for approximately 8 years in California. The plant was sold to a new owner and after 9 months, I was terminated by the new owner. I took a separation package that provided a few weeks of pay. Am I eligible for UI benefits?

    • It looks like your job was a “Layoff”.

      If it was involuntary separation, you can claim UI benefits after the expiry of the severance package payout.

  26. Last month.Feb 2017, I was terminated from my position, been collecting unemployment. For the last few years I was working full time while going to school (evening and online classes). I stopped going to school in dec 2016 needing a break. My plan was to take evening classes again starting in the fall 2017, but I am a workaholic and going stir-crazy at home doing nothing but job searching. I am used to working 10 hours a day while attending classes in my free time. Being jobless is torture for me. I would like to enroll in at least one evening class a week starting in April, but don’t want to lose my EDD benefits in California. My first question is, will I lose my UI if I take a night class ? Can I send them my class schedule to confirm with them it won’t interfere and that if I got a job I would choose the job over the class? and two, lets say they term my UI for taking a class, when the quarter ends in June and if I still do not have a job, can I easily reopen that UI claim ? Thank you for your help.

    • I suggest that you speak to the Unemployment Office to get precise answers to all your questions.

      Each state has its own rules in this regard.

  27. I did not certify my benefits for about a month and my claim became inactive. I have activated it again. Will I get payments for the month I was inactive?

  28. Hi! I got laid off last August and currently on EDD benefit. My claim will be expired in august 2017. I am thinking of taking a temp position ( 2 months period). Will I be able to re open my claim and get the same amount benefit( currently I get $450 per week)
    I am curious as how they will calculate my benefit… any idea?

    • Well, UI benefits are not revolving in nature. You will not be able to apply again if there are no benefit weeks left in your account.

      Please inquire further with the Unemployment Office by calling them.

  29. If I retire from my company I work at ami eligible for benefits if I am looking for a new job?

    How much of ui benefits are taxed?

    • Please call the Unemployment Office to ascertain your eligibility. The entire compensation provided by the state is exposed to taxation.

  30. If I was let go for not excepting a promotion, also not given a warning of consequence for possible decision. Will I be eligible for benefits?

  31. I have been working part time for a company that is over 50 miles away. I have been working there for three months part time. They have said they are about to offer me a 13 dollar per hour job. My car is ten years old, and I am having car trouble. It is probable that my car will break down completely, and the 100 mile per day commute is not helping things. If I turn down this permanent job based on distance from home, would I qualify? I can’t afford to buy another car, and I certainly won’t be able to on 13 per hour. I went back to school at 50 so I could make more money, but there are no jobs. Any advice, and can I qualify for benefits? I moved to CA from Detroit to look for work, and this is all I could find.

    • You can be eligible to claim Unemployment Benefits on the basis of the “Distance” factor.

      Please call the Unemployment Office in your state for further information and apply accordingly.

  32. I have been unable to find full time employment and started a contractor position with the understanding of it leading to full time employment, which the position is ending shortly. Will I be eligible for UI?

    • Contracted employees are generally not eligible since the employer does not pay the relevant taxes into the system.

      Please inquire further with the Unemployment Office in your state by calling them.

  33. I am working at a small grocery store that is failing. It has gotten to the point that paychecks are bouncing. they do eventually get paid but sometimes that take a week for that to happen. Came in today expecting to get paid as yesterday was payday, but it appears that we are not going to be getting any paychecks today and the owner isn’t responding to our txt messages. I want to know , if I leave now could I qualify for unemployment benefits because the owner has breached our employment contract?

    • You can be eligible for such conditions.

      Please speak to the Unemployment Office in your state to explore more.

  34. I’m a school crossing guard and I’ve been working from November 2015. The school year ends in mid June. I’ll be working during the summer while school is out until September. I can I receive unemployment during that time>

    • Seasonal employment such as school does not qualify. Please check further with the labor authorities in your state.

  35. I worked for 5 years at a company and got laid off in December 2015. I applied for unemployment and received one month of unemployment. I quickly found another job and started working in January. However, in March I was laid off from that company. Can I reopen my claim and receive unemployment? Thanks!

  36. I started a new job in October 2015 filling in receptionist full time 40 hours a week 8:00 am to 4:30 pm for a maternity leave employee, as well promised a permanent position upon her return . In December 2015 I broke my right distal radius no surgery, cast for 6 weeks and on leave. Next week I am being medically released back to work, My employer has stated that the only position he has for me is evening receptionist part time 12 hours a week, 3 days a week, from 4:30pm to 8:30pm. Do I have to take this position and time? I cannot work that scheduled time and prefer full time. If I turn it down and quit will I not qualify for unemployment benefits?

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

  37. I had to take an loa from work due to my dads illness.I put in for transfers and no one is hiring right now I call them everyday trying to get back to work.I applied foor unemployment will I qualify?I have no other source of income until my company has openings

  38. I was given a doctor’s note specifying that can still work but must be put on light duty. I normally work stocking.I gave this to my employee, they came to me and said I had to take an loa with no pay. Can I get unemployment benefits?

  39. I had almost exhausted my UI benefits with having $450 left – CA for this year. I was offered a temporary position which had the possibility of turning permanent. I took the job. The company let me go after one month without any warning – verbally or written. I quickly reopened my claim, had my phone interview and have sent in my claim form back to EDD right away because after it happened I am looking for a job again and I need my last benefit payment. The rep I spoke to at EDD per my telephone interview- said that when I contacted EDD to reopen my claim, the rep inputted that I was “fired”. Hence, the interview. Now my concern is after reading about how a benefit may not be paid out due to being “fired” I have concern. But each case is different on how it is approached. I have read that you can still receive benefits even if you are fired or you quit. I’m reaching out and I look forward to your response because I was let go which could be taken in the content of being fired, released, no need for your services anymore etc…especially with no discussion to talk to me if this company was unhappy. Their know for going temp first before hiring permanently.

    Thank you – Yvonne

    • It depends on how you convince them about your exit. If your case is genuine, you will receive benefits.

      Ensure you speak confidently during the interview and present facts that favor your stance.

  40. My company is closing my office and joining another location located 65 miles from its current location. Am I eligible for unemployment insurance if I choose not to go to the new location. I was offered severance pay if choose not to. Will I still be eligible for unemployment insurance?

    • If you do not choose to work in the new office, it can be considered voluntary resignation. This makes you ineligible to receive UI.

      Instead, you can accept the severance package and still qualify for compensation after the pay period is over.

  41. If I quit my job because my spouse gets offered a job somewhere else and I have to move to be with him and our son am I eligible for unemployment?

  42. If I start a temporary holiday job with the USPS, will I be eligible for UI after the term is over?
    I would be resigning from my day job in order to work with the USPS over the holidays.

  43. I live in California and have collected unemployment for 6 months. I certify for benefitscal online and it says my money is exhausted this month. I haven’t found a job. Do I reopen my claim and will I continue to get benefits?

  44. I’m already retired and receiving my monthly pension but I’m still working with my present employer. By but by the end of 1st last Q1 the operation of the company will be closed. Do I am eligible for an EDD claim?

  45. Hi. I quit my previous job due to another job offer for higher pay. I was offered a start date and this date never came to be. Once my physical was submitted to them with lifting restrictions the company decided not to hire me. Can I apply for UI?

  46. I have exhausted my benefits and states have to wait the year before i can file a new one, in one week my year will be up and I have still not found employment, do I get to open a new claim? How does this work?

    • I don’t think Unemployment Benefits are revolving in nature.

      Please inquire further with the labor dept in your state by calling them.

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