California Unemployment Eligibility
California Unemployment Eligibility Calculator
Are you willing and able to work?
How did you lose your previous job?
Have you been affected by coronavirus?
Were you offered telework with pay by your employer?
Were you fired for no fault of your own?
Did you quit your last job due to unsafe working conditions, not being paid, discrimination and / or health and safety risks?
Do you have paid medical leave?
Do you have a family member you are caring for?
You May Be Eligible
You May Not Be Eligible
Do you have paid family leave?
You May Be Eligible
You May Not Be Eligible
To receive California unemployment benefits, you must meet all monetary, non-monetary, and ongoing eligibility requirements in order to receive unemployment insurance compensation.
Eligibility requirements include:
- Have earned enough wages during the base period
- Be totally or partially unemployed
- Be unemployed through no fault of your own
- Be physically able to work
- Be available for work
- Be ready and willing to accept work immediately
Let’s talk about these requirements in greater detail.
Monetary Eligibility Requirements for California UI Benefits
To apply for California unemployment insurance, you must have earned enough wages during the base period to be eligible for UI benefits. Your work history and wages affect both your overall eligibility for benefits, as well as how much your benefit payment will be. You can estimate your weekly benefit amount by using the California UI calculator.
The California Employment Development Department (EDD) assesses whether the individual earned sufficient wages during the four-quarter base period.
To qualify for California unemployment assistance, you must have earned at least:
- $1,300 in the highest quarter of your Base Period.
- $900 in your highest quarter and total base period earnings of 1.25 times your high quarter earnings
If you did not work at any time in the last 18 months and did not earn any wages, you cannot qualify for unemployment compensation.
What is a base period?
The base period is the first four of the last five completed calendar quarters prior to the date of your UI claim.
If you did not earn enough in the Standard Base Period to establish an unemployment claim, the EDD will see if you meet the requirements using the Alternate Base Period.
The Alternate Base Period is the last four completed calendar quarters preceding the claim’s starting date. To be eligible to file a UI claim using the Alternate Base Period, you must meet all other criteria required to receive unemployment insurance benefits and have insufficient wages in the Standard Base Period.
Non-Monetary Eligibility Requirements for California UI Benefits
To qualify for California unemployment insurance, additional eligibility requirements include:
- Physically able to work – If you are sick or disabled, you cannot receive unemployment benefits. You may want to look into Disability Insurance or Workman’s Compensation.
- Ready and willing to accept work immediately – You must be willing to accept any suitable job offer in your customary occupation, and if you turn down an offer, you could lose benefits.
- Unemployed through no fault of your own – If you left your job due to a trade dispute or strike, or if you were terminated, fired, or quit your job, you will be interviewed over the phone.
- Searching for work – This includes reaching out to potential employers in various ways, such as in-person, through mail, phone, or online. You must also search for job openings in publications and on the internet. If you fail to look for work during a week, your UI claim can be disqualified.
- Available for work – If you are not available for full-time work, you will also be scheduled for a phone interview.
- Totally or partially unemployed – If you are working full time, you are not eligible for UI benefits in California. If you are working part time, you may be eligible for partial UI benefits.
- United States citizen or permitted to work in the United States – You must be a U.S. citizen or have legal status to work in California.
Ongoing Eligibility Requirements
To continue receiving weekly benefits, you must meet ongoing eligibility requirements for each week you certify. These requirements include searching for work and performing work search activities each week. You must also be physically capable of working, available for work, and ready and willing to accept work immediately.
If you want to continue receiving unemployment insurance benefits, you must certify every two weeks. Your first certification typically includes a one-week waiting period where you don’t get paid. To request payment, you must certify for benefits every two weeks through online, phone, or mail submission.
Certifying involves answering simple questions that confirm you’re still unemployed and eligible for benefit payments. Incorrectly answering these questions could delay your claim or payment, and may even carry charges of unemployment fraud.
If your certification reveals that you did not meet the eligibility requirements, EDD will schedule a phone interview to assess your eligibility. If you disagree with the decision to deny or reduce benefits, you can file an appeal.
Register at CalJOBS
Another eligibility requirement is to register on CalJOBS and post your resume. You must fulfill this requirement within 21 days of receiving your UI approval notification. Failure to register can result in a delay or loss of unemployment compensation.
If you quit or get fired
One of the primary eligibility requirements of CA unemployment insurance is that you lost your job through no fault of your own. If you get fired or quit your job, your UI benefit might be in jeopardy.
If you quit your job, you will need to provide evidence of a justifiable reason for leaving. If you were fired, your employer must demonstrate that it was due to misconduct. If either party disagrees with the decision, an appeal can be filed.
Eligibility Phone Interview
To verify your eligibility for unemployment, the EDD may arrange a phone interview to discuss your claim and circumstances. You will be notified of the interview date and time, and this information will also be available on your UI Online homepage. If you need to reschedule your interview, you can do so via UI Online or by calling the CA unemployment phone number. You must reschedule at least one day prior to the interview.
If you do not receive a call at your scheduled appointment time, it may mean that your appointment has been canceled because EDD has already confirmed your eligibility or resolved any issues. In this case, the canceled appointment will no longer be visible on your UI Online account. You can check your payment status on UI Online.
If you miss your scheduled appointment, you must call back on the same day to avoid any delay or denial of your benefit payments. If you don’t call back, the EDD will make a decision based on the information they have, which may result in delayed or denied unemployment payments.
Quitting your job for “Good Cause”
Quitting a job for good cause means that you have a legitimate reason for leaving your job, such as a serious problem or circumstance that makes it impossible or unreasonable for you to continue working there.
This reason could be related to personal or professional factors, such as health issues, relocation, domestic violence, unsafe working conditions, or other factors that make the job unmanageable or untenable. When you quit your job for good cause, you can still be eligible for unemployment assistance.
Forced to quit (constructive discharge)
If work conditions are so bad that you can’t continue working, it can be a good reason to quit. In this case, it’s considered a “constructive discharge” because the employer created the conditions that led to the end of the job, not the employee.
Moving with a spouse
If someone quits their job to move to a new place with their spouse or to start a new life with someone else, it can be a good reason to quit.
Getting another job
If someone quits their job to start a new job that’s better than their old one and they have a secure job offer, it can be a good reason to quit. If the new job falls through, they may still be able to get unemployment benefits.
Taking care of a sick family member
If someone quits their job to take care of a family member who is very ill and needs them to be there, it can be a good reason to quit.
If you or your children have experienced or are at risk of domestic abuse and you need to move, you can quit your current job with good cause.
Unsafe working conditions
If an employee’s working conditions pose an undue risk of injury or illness, the employee may have good cause to quit.
I was fired from my last positing, can I avail unemployment benefits?
In case you were fired for cause, you generally can’t receive jobless benefits in California. The unemployment compensation laws reserve benefits for those who are jobless through no fault of their own. In an effort to implement this regulation, the California Employment Department (EDD) confirms the reason for your job separation with your ex-employer.
If the previous employer can’t provide proof you were fired for cause or you can provide proof you weren’t fired for cause, you may be able to obtain benefits.
How will getting laid off affect my eligibility status?
If you have been laid off from your job in California, you must directly file for unemployment. When you get laid-off, it is not your fault.
Getting laid-off doesn’t mean that you were fired. Getting laid-off doesn’t mean that you did something incorrect. Getting laid-off means that the company that you worked for did not have adequate work for you to do, and could no longer afford to pay you to do your job.
If I quit my job, will I be eligible?
In California, the Employment Development Department is liable for managing unemployment benefits. California’s jobless workers can obtain unemployment benefits of they were released involuntarily through no fault of their own or jobs for good cause (unsafe working conditions, not being paid, change in job duties, health risks on job, family emergencies).
Employees who willingly end their employment must show they had justified reasons to terminate employment. The California Employment Development Department performs individual investigations to decide whether an individual’s reasons for termination were justified for unemployment benefits.