FileUnemployment
Max. Weekly Benefit Amount
$450
Max. Weeks of Benefits
26
Current Jobless Rate
4.3%
Max Weekly Benefit Amount
$450
Max Weeks of benefits
26
Current Jobless rate
4.3%

Updated : June 11th, 2019

Unemployment insurance 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, 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

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

Learn more about factors influencing eligibility

Maintaining Eligibility

Establishing monetary eligibility and meeting the job-separation criteria will get the applicant qualified for unemployment benefits. 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 more on job search fulfillment requirement

How to Apply For UI 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:

  • English – 1-800-300-5616
  • Spanish – 1-800-326-8937
  • Cantonese – 1-800-547-3506
  • Mandarin – 1-866-303-0706
  • Vietnamese – 1-800-547-2058

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.

Find out more on claiming 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.

State Name: California

Number of Dependants:

$0
$25000

$0
$25000

$0
$25000

$0
$25000

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.

Get more information on benefit criteria

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.

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
If you favor paying a personal visit to America’s Job Center of California of California to know more about the services provided by the state.

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. What are the days in the week the office is closed to talk with someone? Today is July 9, 2019 and the office is closed. I called 8 I need to get my customer number which never came in the mail.

  2. I recently started a new job, but will not be paid for 2 weeks. Even though I am working, and not being paid, will that effect my UI benefits?

    1. Matt,

      Ideally, when you get into an employment contract, you should stop claiming weekly benefits. Please call the Claims Center immediately for guidance.

  3. I am a school crossing guard. I ask for summer school, and it looks like there will be no openings. Can I receive unemployment for the time lost in the summer?

    1. Linda,

      Seasonal workers do not generally qualify to receive Unemployment Compensation due to the nature of the job. I suggest you call the Unemployment Office to find out about your eligibility.

    1. Chris,

      To be eligible, a claimant is required to have active employment and earnings during the last 4-5 calendar quarters. Do use the “Eligibility Calculator”.

  4. Can I claim unemployment if I quit my job because I got transferred to a different team without prior notice, and the function of the team is completely different from my previous function? I also don’t have any technical background needed by the new team.

    1. Izzou,

      UI benefits are only extended to claimants who lose their employment due to involuntary reasons. Please call the Unemployment Office for clarification.

  5. what do I do if my 26 weeks are up and I am still unable to find work? Is there an extension for special circumstances?
    appreciate your help.
    Thank you

    1. Karen,

      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.

    1. Dennis,

      Please note this is a private forum and we do not have access to your 1099-G. Please visit the official website and it should be available for download.

  6. Can not login to my edd.ca.gov account. when I attempt to send an email and revise my account I never receive the email to complete the process.

    1. Annette,

      You can check the claim status either by phone or the internet, over the department’s official website.

  7. I am a Washington State resident but have been working in California for about a year now. I am a military spouse. My husband just got orders to Tennessee. I had to leave my work to move with him since I am included in his orders. Am I eligible to collect unemployment while looking for work?

    1. Maria,

      As a military spouse, you can be eligible to claim UI benefits. Please speak to the Unemployment Office in your new state to find out more about the benefits available to you.

  8. I was unemployed throughout all of 2017 and then found employment in February of 2018. I’ve been employed from February 20th. But now I’m facing a potential lay off by June 30th. Does my 2017 unemployment benefits count as wages earned? and Does my claim begin on July 2nd?

    1. Frank,

      All earnings will be considered. I suggest you use the “Benefits Calculator” available on this website to ascertain benefits.

  9. My notification date that I was being laid off due to downsizing was May 30th and my last day of regular work is June 30th. What is the earliest date in CA I can file for unemployment?

  10. I have 2 part time jobs, they both cut my hours can I collect some kind of unemployment till I find another job?

    1. Cori,

      I am not sure if you qualify on the basis of part-time employment. Please call the Unemployment Office for clarification.

  11. I receive a small pension and Social security. I had a P/T job but got laid off. Do I qualify for unemployment benefits?

  12. In California is unemployment compensation paid by a check mailed to your address or is a Debt type card used?

  13. My question is the last place I worked was California in Jan and Feb of 2018 but before that I worked in a different state. I want to know can I file for California now ? even though my base quarter period for sept I worked in a different state ? I work for the federal government.

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