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Max. Weekly Benefit Amount
$450
Max. Weeks of Benefits
26
Current Jobless Rate
14.9%
Max Weekly Benefit Amount
$450
Max Weeks of benefits
26
Current Jobless rate
14.9%

Updated : May 5th, 2020

California Unemployment Benefits

Unemployment insurance in California is an initiative taken up jointly by the state government and the federal government. The purpose of the initiative is to provide financial support to those who have lost their jobs due to reasons beyond their control. The government, along with providing financial support, also provides an opportunity for the job-seekers find training and counseling programs to improve their skill sets. It also provides outlets where job-seekers can connect with prospective employers to seek employment opportunities.

Find out more about the services provided by the Employment Development Department (EDD) of California, and the eligibility requirements needed to qualify for unemployment insurance.

Eligibility to Apply for UI Benefits in California

To qualify for unemployment benefits in California, applicants must gain eligibility on three parameters set by the EDD. The three parameters are- monetary eligibility, job separation, and maintaining eligibility.

Monetary Eligibility

While applying for unemployment insurance in California, applicants must first meet the monetary eligibility requirements. The applicants are expected to have earned a minimum wage during the four-quarter base period. The weekly benefit amount and the maximum benefit amount of the applicant are dependent on the wages earned during the base period.  

To be eligible for unemployment benefits, you must have earned at least:

  • $1,300 in the highest earning quarter of your base period, or
  • $900 in your highest earning quarter, and a total base period earnings of 1.25 times the highest earning quarter

The base period is a 12-month period, which is divided into four quarters. EDD has designed two types of base periods to calculate wages to establish a claim. They are:

  • Standard Base Period
  • Alternate Base Period

A standard base period is the first four of the last five calendar quarters. In this method of calculation, the quarter prior to which you apply for benefits is not considered, but four quarters prior to this is considered.

For example, if your claim begins in the first quarter of 2019 (i.e. Jan, Feb, and March), the base period will consist of the following quarters – Oct-Nov-Dec 2017, Jan-Feb-Mar 2018, Apr-May-June 2018, and Jul-Aug-Sep 2018. Note that Oct-Nov-Dec 2018 will not be considered as a part of the standard base period.

In the event you do not have sufficient wages in your standard base period, EDD will then consider calculating your wages using the alternative base period. The alternative base period consists of the last four calendar quarters prior to the beginning date of the claim.

For example, if the claim begins in the first quarter of 2019, (i.e. Jan, Feb, and March), the alternative base period will consist of these quarters – Jan-Feb-Mar 2018, Apr-May-June 2018, Jul-Aug-Sep 2018, and Oct-Nov-Dec 2018.

The alternative base period can only be considered when you do not have enough wages in your standard base period, but you have sufficient wages in the alternative base period.

Find out more about eligibility requirements

Job Separation

Once the monetary eligibility is established, the step for qualification will be to prove that the applicant lost his job due to no fault of his/her own. The applicants must meet the below-mentioned criteria to meet the job-separation criteria:

  • You did not lose the job for any fault of yours
  • You were not involved in any illegal, criminal, or unethical activities in your workplace, which resulted in you getting fired
  • You were fired or your work time was decreased due to lack of work.
  • You did not quit the job due to lack of interest

Please note that not all those who are unemployed will be eligible for unemployment insurance. The benefits are given to only those who meet all the eligibility criteria set by EDD.

EDD will verify the reason given by you for separating from your previous organization. It will contact your ex-employer to verify the reason given by you. If any discrepancies are found, your eligibility for benefits will be affected.

The EDD will conduct a telephonic interview with those who were fired or quit the job on their own to hear the issue on job separation. A notice will be mailed to the applicant if he/she is not eligible for benefits. In the event that the applicant is not happy with the response, he/she can file an appeal against the decision of EDD.

Eligibility Calculator

Eligibility requirements – overview


Maintaining Eligibility

Establishing monetary eligibility and meeting the job-separation criteria will get the applicant qualified for unemployment benefits in California. However, the applicants are expected to maintain the eligibility factors throughout the benefits weeks. Failing to maintain the eligibility requirement will lead to interruptions in the payment of weekly benefits.

The applicants must take note of the following points to maintain eligibility during the benefits weeks:

  • Be physically able to work throughout the benefit week period
  • The applicant must be available to work.
  • Applicant must be ready to accept the work offered to him/her
  • The applicant must be actively seeking for job opportunities

Applicants must certify for benefits each week by providing a certificate while applying for benefits. The information on the certificate will show if the applicant has met with all the eligibility criteria during the week.

Find out on job search requirements

How to Apply For UI Benefits in California?

You will need the following documents to apply for unemployment benefits in California:

Online

In the state of California, applying through the online portal is the most convenient mode to apply for benefits. Log in to https://www.edd.ca.gov/Unemployment/UI_Online.htm to register your claim. The timings to register for benefits differ on different days, which is listed below:

  • Sunday – 5:00 AM to 8:30 PM
  • Monday – 4:00 AM to 10:00 PM
  • Tuesday-Friday – 2:00 AM to 10:00 PM
  • Saturday – 2:00 AM to 8:00 PM

You could avail services such as opening new claims, certifying for continued benefits, updating your address & phone number and receive important notifications. You could also view, request and print your copy of form 1099G for up to the past five years.

Telephone

You may also file claims for unemployment benefits through a phone call in California. Call from Monday to Friday from 8:00 AM to 12 noon, on the following numbers as per your language choice:

If you are hearing impaired, reach the TTY line on 1-800-815-9387

Fax or Mail

You may also choose to send your application for unemployment benefits through fax or by mail. Download the Unemployment Insurance Application forms from the Forms and Publications page of the EDD website. Fill up the relevant forms and you can either fax it or mail it to the EDD using the address on the forms.

How to File Weekly Claims

You can file your weekly benefits by contacting the same sources used for filing the initial claims. Once you file your initial claim, you will receive crucial information on your claim. You must read and respond to all the requests to avoid payment delays.

You will also separately receive your first Continued Claim Form, DE 4581. You must fill this up and submit it once in every two weeks to request for your benefits. This process is known as certifying for benefits in the state of California, and this provides the EDD with the required information to verify your weekly eligibility.

Learn how to claim weekly benefits

UI Benefits Amount

Benefits Calculator

Use the calculator to find out how much weekly benefits you may approximately earn in the state of California.

Unemployment Benefits Calculator
State:
California
Select Number of Dependents:
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Unemployment Benefits Calculator
State: California
Number of Dependents: 0

How much did you earn in each of these quarters?

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Calculating your Benefits Amount ...
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Disclaimer: The estimates are good in faith and accuracy is not guaranteed. We are not liable for any loss and damages caused by using the tools on our website. This calculator is here to assist you in evaluating what you might obtain if you are entitled to receive benefits. We make no promises that the sum you receive will be equal to what the calculator illustrates.

Know more about the Benefits Calculator


Things to Know After Filing An Application

Once the application is filed, the claimant will begin to receive the benefit amount every week. There is a need for the claimants to be aware of all the rules and regulations imposed on them throughout the benefit period. The applicants must also know about the services imparted to the unemployed job seekers to make the best of the benefit period.

Overpayments and Fraud

Overpayments arise when you receive benefits amount which was not supposed to be paid to you as you were not eligible to receive the excessive sum that was transferred to you. If in case, you drew overpayments from EDD, you will receive a Notice of Overpayment via mail.

The Notice of Overpayment will contain information on the nature of overpayment that is drawn by you, the amount you will have to pay back to EDD and penalties levied on you if any. It will also contain information on your right to appeal against the imposition of overpayment, and about the procedure to appeal.

The EDD has classified overpayments into two categories – Non-Fraud and Fraud.

Non-Fraud: If you received a payment which you were not entitled to, but not intentionally or not as a result of your fault, it will be considered as a non-fraud overpayment. In this case, you will receive a notice stating that you’ve received an overpayment and that you will have to pay the excessive amount back.

In some exceptional cases, you may not be asked to repay the excessive amount. There will be no penalties or interest levied on the applicants in the case of non-fraud overpayment.

Fraud: A fraud overpayment occurs when you intentionally mislead the EDD into paying more benefits than you are entitled to. If you withhold an important piece of information, lie about your income earned during the base period, give false or fake documents to prove eligibility, not disclosing information of wages earned during the benefits weeks and similar misleading tactics are considered as a fraud in the state of California.

If a fraud overpayment is established in your case, you will be expected not only to pay back the excessive amount but also pay a penalty of 30% of the amount of the overpayment. You may also face disqualification from anywhere between 5 weeks to 23 weeks.

If you fail to repay the excessive amount along with the stipulated fine amount, the EDD may deduct the money from your future weekly unemployment benefits amount, which is referred to as an offset.

As a policy of offset, the EDD may also deduct from or totally withhold your state income tax refunds, lottery winnings, or any other source of income owed to you by the state. The EDD may also file a case against you in a court of law, charge you court costs and interest, and record a lien on your property.

Benefits Extension

There are no federal or state-operated benefit extension programs given presently in California. It is suggested that the applicants should visit or call the concerned authorities to known more about the current available Reemployment Assistance plans.

Job Training Assistance

The state of California provides ample opportunities for applicants to improve their skill set to get better employment opportunities. California Training Benefits (CTB) provides opportunities to the applicants to further their education, improve their skill sets, and/or learn a new trade to improve their competitiveness in the job market.

If you get approved by CTB, you will be exempted from certain conditions such as to be available for work, to be actively seeking job opportunities, and accept job offers, while you are participating in your training.

Know more job training opportunities in CA

California Office Locations and Phone Numbers

Make a note of the following list of phone numbers to avail the respective services in the state of California:

CA Unemployment Office Phone Numbers

Filing Claims - English 1-800-300-5616
Filing Claims - Spanish 1-800-326-8937
Filing Claims - Cantonese 1-800-547-3506
Filing Claims - Mandarin 1-866-303-0706
Filing Claims - Vietnamese 1-800-547-2058
Automated Self-Service - English 1-866-333-4606
Filing Claims - TTY 1-800-815-9387
Fraud Hotline 1-855-327-7055
Debit Card Related Information 1-866-692-9374
Debit Card Related Information - TTY 1-866-656-5913
Overpayment Collection Section 1-800-676-5737
Official Payments Corporation 1-800-272-9829

Locate your nearest unemployment office



Frequently Asked Question

Q. How are UI benefits calculated?
Ans. The Unemployment Insurance Benefits are calculated using the applicant’s earnings during a specific 12 month period, or as referred to here as the base period. The base period begins approximately 15-17 months prior to the date the claim is filed. The amount paid each week is calculated based on the calendar quarter with the highest earnings during the base period.
Q. How does vacation pay or holiday pay affect my eligibility to receive unemployment insurance benefits?

Ans. Vacation pay or holiday may be deducted from your benefits. It will depend on whether or not you have been given a definite date to return to work at the time you were placed on layoff status: If you are not given a definite date to return to work, any vacation pay or holiday pay paid to you when your job ends is not deducted from your weekly benefit amount.

If you are given a definite date to return to work, any vacation or holiday pay for the period of the temporary layoff is deductible from your benefits. The Department will allocate vacation and holiday pay as follows:

- Vacation pay will be allocated to the number of days you requested vacation or to the number of days your employer required you to use as vacation during the temporary layoff.
- Holiday pay that is paid before you return to work will be allocated to the week(s) in which the holiday(s) fall. Holiday pay that is paid after you return to work will be allocated to the week that you return to work.
Q. What is the procedure to file an appeal?
Ans. In the event cancellation of benefits, overpayments or penalties, the EDD will mail you a Notice of Determination, DE 1080CZ. The document will contain the reason for the action taken, the duration of the punishment and your right to appeal for the same.
To file an appeal against such an order, you will have to fill out form-DE1000m or write a letter to the concerned department. Your letter must contain your name, address, contact details, social security number and the reason for filing the appeal.
The concerned department will then review the decision. If the decision is taken as per state law and regulation, the notice will be sent to the Office of Appeals. The Office of Appeals will send a hearing notice that:
  • Schedules the hearing.
  • Sends information about the hearing.
  • Advises the claimant where and when to appear for the hearing.

An Administrative Law Judge will hear the appeal. After the hearing, the Administrative Law Judge mails a decision to all parties. Contact the Office of Appeals at the telephone number listed on the hearing notice if you have any questions.
Q. What do I do if I have problems using a credit card?
Ans. If you come across any issues with your credit card, you may find help from the following sources:
  • For online transactions: Visit the OPC website and select Help for assistance.
  • For phone transactions: Call OPC at 1-800-487-4567 for assistance.
Q. Can I leave my Continued Claim Form, DE 4581 at any EDD site?
Ans .You may leave your Continued Claim Form DE 4581 at any EDD site, but please note that leaving your DE 4581 at an EDD site will delay your payment. This happens as the form will have to be sent to the appropriate EDD site for payment which will add an additional one to three days to the mailing time.
The way would be to mail your DE 4581 using the envelope provided. It is the fastest and easiest way to receive your benefit check.
Q. Why did I receive a Request for Identity Verification, DE 1326C?
Ans. DE 1326C will generally be sent because the Department faces the following issues:
  • The department has been unable to verify your identity using the information you provided when you filed your UI claim. Or
  • The department received information that your identity may have been compromised
As a result, the department will ask for further identifying documents for verification. Whenever there is a question of correct identity, the Department requires identifying documents to ensure benefits are paid only to those who are legally entitled to receive them.
Failure to provide the requested documentation may result in a denial of benefits.
Q. How does severance pay affect my eligibility to receive unemployment insurance benefits?
Severance pay is not deducted from the insurance benefits you receive and, as a result, it does not affect your eligibility to receive benefits. The method of payment, such as a lump sum payment or payments paid to you at regular pay period intervals does not change the nature of the payment.
However, it is very important for you to report the severance pay you receive at the time you file your unemployment insurance claim without fail.
Q. Why did I receive a Form 1099G?
The Form 1099G reports the total taxable unemployment compensation that is issued to you from the State of California Employment Development Department (EDD) for a calendar year.
Your benefits are taxable and reportable on your federal return only, but you do not need to attach a copy of the Form 1099G to your federal income tax return.

Questions & Answers

  1. how do i apply for unemployment insurance when i have worked in calif for the past 3 yrs. I was a caregiver for my uncle estate and when he passed i moved back to georgia. now i cant find a job but the site said i have to apply in the state i last worked. how do i do this from ga

  2. Just became unemployed. I’m trying to find work. I’d rather not file for unemployment insurance immediately. I would like to avoid that initially. Is there a maximum time period for filing. Can I wait 4 weeks or 6 weeks before I file. Or do I have to file immediately?

    Thank you,
    Rick Abell

    1. Hi Rick,

      It is usually advisable to apply for benefits immediately after becoming unemployed. It must be possible to apply for benefits after few weeks. Delay in applying would delay in receiving benefits and sometimes it might take a couple of weeks before you receive your first pay.

  3. I retired 5/1/13 from the US Postal Service. I was employed in the state of Washington and have moved to Orange county, California as of 5/18/13. I am currently looking for employment. Am I eligible for unemployment benefits?

  4. Can you file for unemployment insurance after being on disability after layoff as long as there is still a quarter of salary left?

  5. If I quit my job due to “emotional distress” and lack of growth within my company, would I be eligible to receive unemployment benefits?

  6. If I quit my job to relocate to another state because I can’t afford to live in California any longer and I have family in Oklahoma, can I collect unemployment until I find a job out there?

  7. Are commercial truck drivers able to get unemployment benefits if terminated after 13 years employment, over five with current company?

  8. If I moved from maryland to california with a transfer pending and it didn’t go through, then am I eligible for unemployment?

    1. Hi Brian,

      You are eligible for unemployment if you were laid off. Please check if you qualify by meeting other requirements in the state of Maryland (or the state where you worked before loosing the job).

  9. I’ve been on temp disability. Dr sending me back to work with limits that are unacceptable to where I work. My work wants me to go back or get let go
    Am I eligible for unemployment?

  10. i work for the DOD and will be furloughed starting in july one day a week for 11 weeks am i eligible for unemployment for the days im on furlough

    1. Hi Jeff,

      You can receive unemployment benefits if your earnings are greatly reduced and also your working hours. Usually anything between 32 – 40 hours of weekly work will be considered for reduced benefits.

  11. Please let me know if i’m elgible to collect unemployment benefits if i’m collecting social sec.
    At a present time i’m working 40 hrs for the last 9 years.
    Very truly yours.
    Segundo Flores

  12. I was terminated from a full time job but I also receive social security benefits because I’m 70 years old. Can I claim unemployment?

  13. I have a question. I work as a teacher’s aide. I have the summer off and do not get paid for it. I will be about two months without a paycheck and need the money. It is not as easy to get another summer job. Can I collect unemployment for these two months?

  14. I have filed for an unemployment claim and already had my phone interview just checking on the status of the claim can you let me know>?

  15. if i have an employee that becomes pregnant what are her rites? and what are mine? i want her back after the baby,but does she collect unemployment or disability ? thanks

  16. The company where I work is ending the contract at the facility where i currently work. The company does not have another facility that they can send me to work. There for I will not have a job do I qualify for unemployment.

  17. Godd morning, I am trying to find out if Federal Employees affected by the Sequester, will be eligible to file for unemployment benifits. I may be looking at being furloughed at least one day a week. Any help would be appreciated, thank you

  18. Are California unemployment benefits subject to Federal or State income taxes? If so, is money withheld from each unemployment check?

  19. I am curious if I am eligable or not… I dont think I am, but wanted to inquire. I am getting terminated, but only been working at my present employer for about 10 months and I when I did my taxes for 2012 it was only about 7000.00 or so from my current employer and yes I have a few more months to add to that…maybe 2 or 3. Also I am not a resident of california at all since all my ties and living status is still in Michigan. I am not on a lease at all here in California either…The only proof is my employment. Do I have a claim or no??

  20. If my work hours are cut from 8 hour day to 3.5 hours can I file for unemploment insurance? I will only be getting an 18 hour week?

    1. If you meet the minimum requirements of your state, you will be elligible. These requirements vry from state to state so check the website for your state.

  21. Hello:

    I work with the County of Riverside, California as a senior accountant in a permanent position.

    My husband is currently deployed in Afghanistan as an active duty Marine. He has received orders for his new duty station which will be New Orleans, Lousiana. For this reason, I will need to resign to my permanent position probably by the last week of March 2013.

    My question is: Do I have the right to collect unemeployment until I find a new job in New Orleans due to the fact that my resignation is because of my husband’s military orders?

    Please advise,

    Thank you very much,

    Milagros Gonzalez

  22. I had an phone appointment for January 30th, didn’t know because i moved from Arizona to Long Beach California, when recevied my mail from EDD, too late, how do i get another appointment, not able to get through by telephone.

  23. I call my staffing company every morning looking for work but there’s times they cant find me work.
    Can I collect on those days that there’s no work?

  24. I just moved to CA because of my wife’s job transfer. I was laid off in Missouri prior to her transfer but was waiting for severance package to expire before applying for unemployment. Is it possible for me to file for unemployment here in California now that I live here?

  25. Frustrating .. There should be an automated number you can call to find out if your claim has been approved – the web page says if over 10 days and no contact from EDD – call them . But when you try the line says to many callers are already in Que and it hangs up on you – all day it does this… So now what? I’m already stressed about not having a job and having to apply for UI benefits, now I’m stressed because I’m following directions and I can’t get through! Why not put some of us with CSR experience back to work for EDD from home – a win win for the economy I would think!

  26. If I am fired from an present job in San Diego CA will I be able to filed in another part of California due to my relocation?

  27. I received an overpayment letter from Nevada . They said that California was suppose to pay me and said I had to deal with California to repay the amount. Can you help out?

  28. I have worked full time in/for a hospital for 16 years, the union came in a while ago and I have paid my dues as a good little girl during the entire time.. two months ago the Lab director told my co-worker and I that she was needing to cut our hours to 6 hours per day instead of 8, the union stepped in and said that it should go by seniority.. so my co-worker who refused to pay dues for several years until forced to do so just recently will get full time and i half time.. I was told by several people I could get unemployment to cover the half time until I could find something else .. is this true/possible??

  29. I was suspended on 10/2/2012 from my work to investigate a bogus accusation for sharing a personal item with other employees that management claims may have been a conflict of interest. I was allowed to return to work on 11/5/2012 when the company could not justify the false accusations. However, the company is not willing to pay my lost wages for the duration of suspension. Am I allowed to file for unemployment benefit to help me recover part or all of my lost wages? Please advise.

  30. My wife was hired by a hospital as a casual. But last month she maybe worked 20 hours and this month she hasn’t worked at all.
    What could she do. She was on unemployment till this March.

  31. I had my phone interview on the 18th and it has been over 10 days. How long does it take to get either a denial or a payment. It is now 12 days.

  32. I currently have a full time and a part time job. I am going to be laid off from my part time job. It is being eliminated. Will I be able to collect unemployment from the loss of the second job?

  33. In California if I retired at 55yrs and my retired income is less
    than the maximum amount allowed can I still receive unemployment benefits?

  34. I missed a telephone conference and they stopped my claim and every time I call it just says ther a high call volume..

  35. I GOT DISCHARGED AFTER 14 WEEKS ON DISABILTY
    CAN I RECEIVE UNEMPLOYMENT BENIFITS?
    UNVOLITARY DISCHARGED. NO WORK AVAILABLE WHEN I WAS RELEASED BY DOCTOR TO RETRUN TO WORK AFTER 14 WEEKS ON DISABILITY.

  36. I will be laid off on 8/8/12 from my job. I am a new home sales agent that has sold homes that have not closed yet. Will I be able to receive the commisions and continue to receive benefits?

    1. Ofcourse yes, if your employer has paid for the unemployment tax then you should be able to get the benefits…

  37. What does it mean to file a claim. Is it the date I initially applied for unemploymenbt or the last date I recieved unemployment benefits?

    1. Filing initial claim is generally referred to applying for benefits for the first time. You will. You will need to request payments every week onwards.

  38. Hello – I’ve just moved back to San Francisco from New York. I have been working in NY for the passed 3 years but found NY was just not for me. I was collecting unemployment for a while before I moved to NY from a previous employer (in SF) but did not finish collecting all of the unemployment funds due to me. Can I collect unemployment in SF until I find employment again? Thank you

  39. i have been unemployed since april and i can not get anyone on the phone and cant get the website to work. can someone call me at 402-689-2487 so i can apply for unemployment insurance.

    1. you should be able to contact them either on phone or online.. as a tip consider calling on weekdays so that the line would be free to reach…

  40. I have been on State Disability since 9-11. The disability insurance as it now stands expires 6-1-12. At this time, it is unknown whether or not disability will continue..(Hopefully not)..

    I am currently unemployed. If disability terminates on 6-1-12, I will be able for a period of time while seeking new employment be eligble to collect unemployment?? Do I have this thought correct, and if so what if any particulars are involved?? Please advise Thank You Jack “Jay” Carlson, Jr

    1. If you are currently receiving benefits in one state and you move to another, you still receive benefits from the original state. You receive benefits from the state in which you worked for the past 18 months. All you have to do is provide your new address to your “original” state of residence and they will mark you as an interstate payee. You then continue to file your weekly certification as normal. You will receive the exact same amount of benefits, it does not change. You are required to seek employment in the new state you moved to. It’s that simple.

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