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Employment Development Department
Employment Development Department

Common Mistakes Made by UI Claimants

Unemployment Insurance (UI) provides temporary partial income replacement to qualified individuals who have lost their jobs through no fault of their own and who continue to meet eligibility requirements of state and federal law.

Here are some common mistakes to avoid when certifying for UI benefits:

Not reporting wages during the actual week when the wages were earned. Wages are any earned money or income. You must report wages during the week when you worked and earned the wages. You are legally responsible for reporting work and wages correctly. For more information, visit Fraud Prevention and Detection Activities for Work and Wages.

Not reporting vacation pay or severance pay. You must report wages even if they are not from work performed. Wages include vacation pay, severance pay, and any other earnings or income received.

Not reporting gross wages. You must report your gross wages, which are all earnings or income before taxes or any other deductions.

Not reporting wages from part-time or temporary work while looking for a full-time position. Be sure to accurately report all earnings during your weekly claim certification – even those from part-time or temporary work. If you collect more UI benefits than you are eligible for because you failed to report earnings, you may be committing fraud, will receive an overpayment and penalties, and may be prosecuted.

Submitting incomplete or unsigned claim certifications. Be sure to complete and sign your claim certification. If the certification is incomplete (e.g., did not answer a question), missing information (e.g., did not enter wage information), or completed incorrectly (e.g., answered yes and no to the same question), the EDD will mail a duplicate (reissued) Continued Claim form with a message explaining why the original form could not be processed and advising you to certify again or contact the Department.

Waiting until you receive your first paycheck before notifying the EDD that you have returned to work. As soon as you begin working, be sure to report the work performed on your Continued Claim Form (DE 4581) during the week in which you worked. Do not wait until you receive your first paycheck to report your return to work. The EDD uses state and national resources to track new hires and conducts wage cross-matching against benefits collected, so it is in your best interest to report your return to work immediately to avoid the serious consequences of an improper payment.

Not actively searching for work. Except when someone is exempt by law, you must search for work each week that you file a claim for benefits. If you do not search for work during a week in which you file a claim, benefits may be denied until you show that you have started looking for work. Use the EDD Office Locator to find an America’s Job Center of California (formerly known as One-Stop Career Centers) near you to learn more about reemployment services and training.

Not being available to accept a new job. In order to collect UI benefits, you must continually verify that you are able, available, and willing to accept suitable work. Possible conflicts like attending school during work hours, limitations with child care, or lack of transportation could limit your work availability and be an eligibility issue. Report such issues on your bi-weekly certification.

For information on how to report work or wages, visit:

If you think you may have made a mistake and unintentionally committed UI fraud, contact the EDD immediately by phone, by mail, or online.