california unemployment

How To Apply For Unemployment In California

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According to state law, unemployed workers in California are entitled to unemployment benefits for a maximum of 26 weeks.

However, as a result of the new federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, the state was able to extend the time period for which workers could receive benefits by an additional thirteen weeks.

The Employment Development Department, also known as the EDD, is in charge of administering the state’s unemployment insurance program. People can file for unemployment benefits through this agency either online or by phone, fax, or mail.

This article throws more light on California unemployment and how to apply or file for it. Carefully read through.

Who Is Eligible For Unemployment Insurance Benefits In California?

To be eligible for unemployment benefits, you must be a California resident who meets all of the requirements, which include the following.

Working in California during the previous 12 months (this period may be longer in some cases), earning a minimum amount of wages determined by California guidelines, and actively seeking work each week that you are collecting benefits are all requirements for receiving unemployment benefits.

READ ALSO: How To File For Unemployment Benefits In NC In 2023

How To File for California Unemployment Benefits

Californians who are unable to work as a result of the coronavirus will be able to apply for benefits through the state’s Employment Development Department (EDD) once the agency resumes accepting new claims on October 5.

Specific policies that have been implemented as a result of the coronavirus can be found on this page (also available in Spanish). Workers and caregivers will have a variety of payment options available to them through the department.

Californians who are sick or quarantined and are unable to work as a result of the virus can file a disability insurance claim through the state’s website.

If you are unable to work because you are caring for a sick or quarantined relative who has COVID-19, you may be eligible to file a paid family leave claim with your employer.

Those who have had their working hours reduced or who have lost their jobs as a result of their employer ceasing operations may be eligible to file an unemployment insurance claim.

EDD encourages residents of California to keep an eye on the COVID-19 resources page for updates.

SEE ALSO: What Jobs can you get with a Business Degree? | 2023 Update

Eligibility Requirements For California Unemployment Benefits

In order to establish a claim for unemployment benefits, you must have earned a certain amount of wages and meet the following criteria:

  • Unemployed on a full- or part-time basis
  • Without a job due to no fault of your own Physically capable of working Available for employment
  • Ready and willing to accept work on an urgent basis.
  • Looking for work on a regular basis

Furthermore, according to EDD, you must continuously meet eligibility requirements — which means that on a weekly basis, you must demonstrate that you meet the criteria outlined above.

The federal government is providing states with new options for amending their laws in order to provide unemployment insurance benefits in connection with COVID-19.

For example, federal law now permits states to pay benefits in the following situations:

  • Due to COVID-19, an employer has temporarily halted operations, preventing employees from reporting to their places of employment.
  • Someone is quarantined with the expectation of returning to work after the quarantine period is over.
  • An individual quits their job because they are concerned about being exposed to or infected by something, or because they are caring for a family member.
  • Furthermore, as a result of the impact of COVID-19, federal law does not require an employee to resign in order to be eligible for benefits.

How To Obtain Unemployment Benefits After Being Fired

Employee benefits should be available if you are fired because you lacked the necessary skills to perform the job or simply weren’t a good fit for the company.

If you are fired because of misconduct, on the other hand, you will not be eligible for unemployment benefits for that period. Only if all four of the following statements are true, can you be found ineligible for unemployment benefits in California for misconduct:

In your relationship with your employer, you are owed a “material” duty. This refers to a responsibility that is a legitimate part of the job (this can be, for example, showing up for work and performing your job duties).

You committed a material breach of that duty (in other words, you failed to fulfill the obligation). An insignificant or one-time transgression is not enough to cause you to lose your eligibility for social security benefits.

Your failure to comply with the duty demonstrated a wanton or willful disregard for the obligation. In other words, you weren’t just careless or oblivious; you deliberately violated the duty or demonstrated a reckless disregard for the consequences of your failure to comply with the duty.

Inefficiency, inability to perform the job, or mistakes made in good faith do not meet this standard, and you will not be denied unemployment benefits in California if you meet the requirements of the state.

Your failure to comply with the duty must have the effect of harming the employer’s business interests.

Can I Recieve Unemployment Benefits After Quitting My Job?

You won’t be eligible for unemployment benefits if you quit your job without a good reason, which means that a reasonable person who truly desired a job would have left under the same circumstances.

Your eligibility for unemployment benefits will be determined by whether you had a legitimate reason to leave your job (such as illegal discrimination, harassing behavior, unsafe working conditions, or fraud on the part of your employer).

To be eligible for unemployment benefits in this situation, you must have taken reasonable steps to resolve the situation before quitting, which includes discussing the problem with your employer and giving your employer a reasonable amount of time to correct the situation before quitting your job.

In the event that you quit your job due to compelling family or health reasons—for example, because you are a victim of domestic violence, must relocate to be with your spouse, or must care for a seriously ill family member—you will almost certainly be found to have had good cause to quit, and you will be entitled to unemployment benefits.

SEE ALSO: How To File For Washington State Unemployment In 2023

How Much Will I Recieve As Unemployment Benefits In California?

Unemployment benefits in California are not one-size-fits-all, whether it’s standard Unemployment Insurance or the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program, which was implemented during the coronavirus outbreak.

Applicants must provide information about prior earnings and when certifying for benefits every two weeks, they must include information about current earnings. When determining how much to pay in benefits, the state takes into account both factors.

In California, the normal weekly unemployment compensation ranges from $40 to $450. The total amount of those payments can be estimated using an online EDD calculator.

Regular benefits have a tendency to replace approximately 45 percent of previously earned weekly wages.

Families can be stretched to their limits as a result of unemployment, particularly in high-cost cities like Los Angeles.

During the 16-week period of the coronavirus pandemic, the federal government increased benefits by $600, which was a significant increase.

How To Apply for Disaster Unemployment Compensation

From August 14, 2020, federal Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA) benefits will be available to those who have lost their jobs or businesses as a result of the wildfires in the state of California.

A disaster declaration issued on August 22 provides disaster unemployment benefits to those who do not qualify for the state’s current unemployment insurance program.

According to a press release from the EDD, individuals are encouraged to file claims through the EDD, with the deadline for filing a claim related to the fires being September 28, 2020, according to the release.

Those who live in the following counties are eligible for benefits:

  • Lake Monterey, Napa Valley, and Santa Cruz
  • San Mateo, Solano, and Yolo counties

If you meet any of the following criteria, you may be eligible for disaster unemployment compensation:

  • Workers, business owners, and self-employed individuals who worked or who were scheduled to begin work or self-employment in the disaster area were eligible to apply.
  • As a direct result of the disaster, you may be unable to reach your place of employment, or you may no longer be able to work as a result of physical damage or destruction to your place of employment.
  • Can demonstrate that the work or self-employment that they were unable to perform was their primary source of income.
  • Inability to work or engage in self-employment as a result of an injury sustained as a direct result of the disaster
  • Because of a death caused by the disaster, they were elevated to the position of head of household.
  • Have applied for and used all of the regular unemployment benefits available from any state, or do not qualify for regular unemployment benefits and are still unemployed as a direct result of the disaster, whichever is the case.

If you want to be eligible for benefits, you must submit all required documentation within 21 days of the date your DUA application was filed. The following items are included in the documentation:

The following documents are required: Social Security number; a copy of the most recent federal income tax form or check stubs; or documentation to prove self-employment that can be obtained from banks, government agencies, or affidavits from individuals who are familiar with the individual’s business.

How To File California Unemployment Claim

You have the option of filing your claim for unemployment benefits online, by phone, by fax, or through the mail. On the EDD website, you can find contact information, online filing capabilities, and instructions.

Once the EDD receives your application, it will send you a number of documents, one of which is a Notice of Unemployment Insurance Award, which indicates how much you will receive if you are found to be eligible for unemployment compensation. Despite the title of this notice, it does not mean you have qualified for benefits yet.

If you were fired or quit your job, the EDD may contact you to conduct a telephone interview to determine whether you are eligible for unemployment compensation.

When found to be eligible, the EDD will begin sending you benefits checks and claim forms, which you will receive (and must return) every two weeks if you are found eligible.

If your claim for unemployment benefits is denied, you will be notified by a Notice of Determination, which will inform you of the outcome.

You have the right to file an appeal against this decision. For more information, please see our article on how to appeal to job-denial seekers in California.

Other Types of Benefits In California?

Here is an outline of other benefits obtainable in California.

1. Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program

Benefits under the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program expired on September 4. The deadline to apply for PUA is October 6. If you were unemployed for at least four weeks prior to September 4.

Is it possible for me to participate?

You are eligible for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance if you are a business owner, independent contractor, or self-employed worker who only received a 1099 tax form last year.

If your work situation has changed as a result of COVID-19 and you meet any of the following requirements, you may be eligible for PUA:

  • Because of COVID-19, you were scheduled to begin work on a specific date, but the job is no longer available, or you were unable to get to the job because of COVID-19.
  • As a direct result of COVID-19, you were unable to travel to your place of employment.
  • You resigned from your position as a direct result of COVID-19.
  • As a direct result of COVID-19, your place of employment has been closed.
  • You were out of work, only partially employed, or unable to work as a result of COVID-19’s decision to force you to stop working.

If you experienced health problems as a result of COVID-19, or if any of the following circumstances applied to you:

  • A medical diagnosis was sought because you had been diagnosed with COVID-19 or because you were experiencing symptoms and wanted to know what was going on with you.
  • A member of your family had been diagnosed with COVID-19, which is a virus.
  • The person you were caring for had been diagnosed with COVID-19, and you were a family member or a member of your household.
  • School closures had a negative impact on you and your family.
  • In order to protect yourself from COVID-19, your healthcare provider advised you to self-quarantine.
  • As a result of a COVID-19 death in your household, you had taken on the role of primary income provider.

2. Disability Insurance and Paid Family Leave

This is another type of benefit you can get in California aside from unemployment insurance benefits.

Is it possible for me to participate?

If you are not eligible for unemployment benefits, you may be eligible for Disability Insurance or Paid Family Leave, which are both federally funded programs.

3. Insurance for People With Disabilities

If any of the following apply to you, you may be eligible for disability benefits:

  • Inability to work as a result of an illness, an injury, or pregnancy that is not related to your job.
  • COVID-19 has rendered you unable to perform your normal work duties because you are sick or quarantined as a result of your illness.
  • You made contributions to the State Disability Insurance program (denoted on paystubs as “CASDI”) through your taxes.
  • Paid Family Leave is a benefit that employers provide to their employees.
  • If you meet the following criteria, you may be eligible for Paid Family Leave benefits:

Is it necessary to submit a weekly certification form to be eligible for unemployment benefits in California?

To be eligible for Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits, you must submit your EDD eligibility information every two weeks in order to receive benefits. This process is referred to as “certifying” for benefits. In addition, you must meet all of the eligibility requirements for each week.

Review the following EDD page for assistance in answering the certification questions:

If you stop claiming benefits for even a single week, you will be required to reopen your claim with the government. If your claim has expired, you will need to resubmit a new claim for reimbursement.

You are committing fraud if you withhold or provide false information in order to receive benefits, such as by failing to report your work or earning a wage. Loss of benefits, disqualification for making a false statement, and/or criminal prosecution are all possible consequences.

Please submit your certification using one of the methods listed below:

  • Online: UI Online Mobile: UI Online Mobile Online: UI Online Mobile
  • EDD Tele-Certification can be reached by phone.
  • By postal mail: Fill out the paper form, sign it, and mail it in.
  • Certifying online or by phone will help you avoid common mistakes and reduce payment delays.

UI Online is the quickest and most convenient way to apply for benefits and report work and earnings. In the event that you do not have any earnings or work to report, you can use UI Online Mobile from your smartphone or tablet.

UI Online or UI Online Mobile are the first two options available after logging in to Benefit Programs Online.

Check the Notifications section of your homepage for any new notifications. If you have a few spare weeks, choose Certify for Benefits and complete all of the questions. If there are no weeks available, the system will tell you when to check again and will send you an email reminder to remind you to check again.

Please keep in mind that the Work Search Record screen is completely optional, but it is a useful tool for keeping track of your job search efforts. Select Next if you want to skip this screen. This is a perplexing screen because the EDD has suspended the requirement to look for work while the pandemic is still ongoing.

When your certification has been successfully submitted, you will be given a confirmation number to keep track of it. Keep this number on hand for future reference.

READ ALSO: How To File For An Unemployment Claim

FAQs On How To Apply For Unemployment In California

What is the process for applying for benefits in California?

You can apply for unemployment benefits online, by mail, or fax using the Unemployment Insurance Application, or you can call 1-800-300-5616 to speak with a representative.

What is the amount of money I will receive as an unemployment benefit in California?

In order to calculate your weekly benefit amount, you must calculate the number of wages you earned during the quarter of the base period in which your earnings were the highest. The minimum weekly benefit amount is $40, and the maximum weekly benefit amount is $450. The maximum weekly benefit amount is $450.

How long will I be able to take advantage of these benefits?

Your ability to receive benefits is also determined by how much money you earned during the base period; however, benefits are not available for more than 26 weeks after you begin receiving them.

What qualifies me for an unemployment benefit in California?

You must be completely or partially unemployed as a result of no fault of your own, and you must have earned sufficient wages during your base period to be eligible for unemployment benefits (the first 4 of the last 5 completed calendar quarters before the start date of your claim, or alternatively the last 4 quarters). Additionally, you must be capable of and available for full-time employment.


California’s unemployment insurance program can help you navigate the temporary financial crunch brought on by job loss. Be sure to read all the eligibility criteria carefully before filing your claim for California unemployment benefits.


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Ajah Excel is a team growth and performance expert with over nine years of experience in blogging and personal development.
He leads a team of 36 crazy, restless innovators with an enviable work culture at Silicon Africa Technologies Limited – a fast-rising tech firm from the SouthEast.
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He is also the co-organizer of TEDx Ikenegbu and convener of Social Media Fest.
He is a vibrant learner who yearns to share his knowledge to educate and inspire young Africans.
He has a B.Tech in Information Management Technology with certifications in growth hacking, effective communication, leadership, team, and personal development, to mention a few.
Ajah Anayochukwu Excel is a passionate public speaker, creative writer, and brand storyteller.

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