FAQs - Eligibility

What are the eligibility requirements?

To be entitled to benefits, you must be:

  • Out of work due to no fault of your own.
  • Physically able to work.
  • Actively seeking work.
  • Ready to accept work.

Who can apply for UI benefits?

Individuals who are currently unemployed or working part-time can apply for UI benefits (you cannot apply for benefits in anticipation of your last day of work). Use one of the following methods:

  • File online with eApply4UI: The application can be completed online. After the application is completed, the individual submits it online to the Department. Note: This is the fastest way to file your claim.
  • Contact EDD by telephone: Individuals will speak to a Department representative who will ask a series of questions and record the responses.
  • Complete a paper UI Application DE 1101I: The application can be completed online and printed. The application can then be faxed or mailed to an EDD office for processing.

Note: The above options may also be used to reactivate an existing claim or file for extended benefits. The Department will then determine if the individual is entitled to benefits.

How can an individual qualify for UI benefits?

Most work performed in California, or in other states qualifies an individual for UI benefits. Self-employment does not usually qualify for UI benefits coverage. Contact EDD and we will determine if the individual is entitled to benefits.

How are UI benefits calculated?

Benefits are calculated using an individual’s earnings during a specific 12-month period. The base period is this 12-month period. The Standard Base Period is the first four of the last five completed calendar quarters prior to the beginning date of the UI claim. The amount paid each week is calculated based on the calendar quarter with the highest earnings during the base period.

If individuals do not have sufficient wages in the Standard Base Period to establish a claim, the EDD will consider whether they qualify to file a claim using the Alternate Base Period. The Alternate Base Period can only be used to file a UI claim when there are not enough wages earned in the Standard Base Period to file a monetarily valid claim. The Alternate Base Period is the last four completed calendar quarters prior to the beginning date of the UI claim.

For more information on how UI benefits are determined, refer to the Guide to Benefits and Employment Services, DE 1275A.

How much do claimants receive?

Weekly benefit amounts range from a minimum of $40 to a maximum of $450 depending on the claimant’s quarterly earnings. To qualify for the maximum amount each week ($450) an individual must earn at least $11,674.01 in a calendar quarter during the base period (an individual’s earnings during a specific 12-month period).

How long do UI benefits last?

A claim is effective for one year. During the year, claimants can receive from 12-26 weeks of full benefits. The number of weeks varies, based on total earnings during the base period (an individual's earnings during a 12-month period). During periods of high unemployment, additional benefits may be granted by Congress, or the State Legislature.

When should an individual apply for UI benefits?

Individuals should apply for benefits as soon as they are unemployed, or working less than full-time. All claims are effective on the Sunday prior to applying for benefits, and have a one week unpaid waiting period. The waiting period does not begin until the claim is filed.

What do I need to file a claim?

Individuals must be out of work (for any reason), or working less than full-time. In addition, you must provide the following information:

  • Your name and Social Security number
  • Your mailing and residence address (if different)
  • Your telephone number
  • Last employer information, including:
    - Name, address (mailing and physical location) and telephone number
  • Information on all employers you worked for during the 18 months prior to claim filing your claim, including:
    - Name, period of employment, wages earned and how paid
  • Your driver’s license or ID card number, if you have either
  • Last date worked and the reason you are no longer working
  • Citizenship status (which may include your alien registration number)

If the Department needs to verify any of the information provided while filing a claim, additional forms will be sent by mail and additional information and/or documentation will be requested.

After the claim is filed, the Department will determine if you are eligible to receive benefits.

Why did I receive a Notice of Unemployment Insurance Claim Filed ( DE 1101CLMT) in the mail? What am I supposed to do with it?

All claimants are mailed a copy of the claim information they provided to EDD when filing for UI benefits. This information is contained on the DE 1101CLMT. The notice advises you of your right to correct errors or omissions, and provides instructions on how to contact the Department to make corrections.

The Department considers the information provided during claim filing to be correct unless you advise us otherwise. If any information on the DE 1101CLMT is not correct, you have ten days from the mailing date of the notice to advise the Department so we can correct our records. You can correct the information in writing or by telephone.

Can individuals who are not U.S. citizens collect UI benefits?

To collect UI benefits, non-citizen applicants must establish that they were in satisfactory immigration status and authorized to work in the United States, when earning the wages used to establish their claim. In addition, the non-citizen applicants must provide proof that they remain in satisfactory immigration status and are authorized to work each week that benefits are claimed. Non-citizen applicants will be required to provide specific information from their employment authorization documents issued to them by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). In some cases, non-citizen applicants will be asked to provide legible copies of their employment authorization documents. EDD verifies immigration status and work authorization through an electronic system maintained by the Department of Homeland Security.

I was fired from my job. Will I be eligible?

When an individual files a claim for UI benefits, the Department documents the reason the individual is no longer working, and includes it in the Notice of Claim Filed (DE 1101CZ), which is mailed to the last employer. The employer may also provide information about the reason the individual is no longer working when responding to the notice.

If the individual was discharged or terminated, the EDD will conduct a telephone interview with the individual and the employer approximately two weeks after the claim is filed to determine whether or not the individual is eligible for UI benefits, according to state law and regulations.

State law provides that an individual who is discharged or terminated may be eligible for UI benefits provided that specific criteria are met. The EDD staff will determine on a case-by-case basis, whether the facts presented for the discharge or termination meet the criteria according to state law. The individual must also meet all other eligibility requirements before UI benefits are paid.

The Department’s law and policy guidelines regarding discharges or terminations are available on the EDD website.

I just quit my job. Will I be eligible?

When an individual files a claim for UI benefits, the Department documents the reason the individual is no longer working, and includes it in the Notice of Claim Filed (DE 1101CZ), which is mailed to the last employer. The employer may also provide written information about the reason the individual is no longer working when responding to this notice.

If the individual quit, the EDD will conduct a telephone interview with the individual and the employer approximately two weeks after the claim is filed to determine whether or not the individual is eligible for UI benefits, according to state law and regulations.

State law provides that an individual who quits his/her job may be eligible for UI benefits provided there was “good cause” for leaving employment, and the individual made all reasonable attempts to keep their job (e.g., request of leave of absence or transfer). Once all reasonable alternatives to leaving have been attempted, good cause may include situations such as leaving work due to unsafe working conditions, leaving work based on a medical doctor’s advice, or leaving work to protect oneself or one’s child from domestic violence.

The EDD staff will determine on a case-by-case basis, whether the facts presented for the quit are “good cause” according to state law. The individual must also meet all other eligibility requirements before UI benefits can be paid.

The Department’s law and policy guidelines regarding Voluntary Quits are available on the EDD website.

What if I lost my job and cannot work because of the disaster or emergency?

If you are unemployed due to a disaster or emergency, you may be eligible for Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits.

When you file your UI claim, you must tell us that you were unemployed as a result of a disaster or emergency. UI claims can be filed online, by telephone, by mail, or by fax. Find information about filing a UI claim or call EDD at one of the numbers listed in the Disaster Unemployment Assistance section.

Individuals with current claims for benefits, who are unable to receive their Unemployment Insurance payments at their home due to the disaster or emergency, should contact their local post office.

Disaster Unemployment Assistance

If the President of the United States declares a disaster in your area, payment of Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA) may be authorized. Individuals who become unemployed as a result of the disaster, and who do not qualify for regular Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits, may file for DUA. View DUA Fact Sheet

Can I attend school or training and receive UI benefits?

The California Training Benefits (CTB) program allows qualified individuals to continue to receive benefits while in training approved by the EDD. For more information:

Individuals who attend school or training and are not eligible for the CTB program may still qualify for UI benefits if they continue to be available for work and actively seek work. The Department determines if the individual is entitled to UI benefits.

What if I am sick or injured, and cannot work?

An individual who files for UI benefits must be physically able to work, available for work, ready and willing to immediately accept work, and meet all other eligibility requirements before UI benefits can be paid.

An individual who is not eligible for UI benefits because they are sick or injured, can file a claim for California’s State Disability Insurance (SDI) program. SDI provides short-term benefits to an eligible individual who suffers loss of wages because he/she is unable to work due to a non-work related illness or injury, or due to pregnancy or childbirth. SDI benefits can be paid only after an individual meets all of the basic eligibility requirements.

Individuals cannot receive SDI benefits for the same period of time in which UI benefits are paid.

The Department’s law and policy guidelines for being Able and Available for work and information about SDI eligibility, and the SDI program are available on the EDD website.

What if I am taking care of a family member or bonding with my new minor child, and cannot work?

An individual who files for UI benefits must be physically able to work, available for work, ready and willing to immediately accept work, and meet all other eligibility requirements before UI benefits can be paid.

An individual who is not eligible for UI benefits because they are caring for a family member or bonding with a new minor child in connection with the birth, adoption or foster care placement of that child, can file a claim for California’s Paid Family Leave (PFL) program. The PFL program is part of California’s State Disability Insurance (SDI) program and provides short-term benefits to an eligible individual who takes time off work to care for a seriously ill child, spouse, parent or domestic partner or bond with a new minor child. PFL benefits can be paid only after an individual meets all other PFL eligibility requirements.

An individual cannot receive PFL benefits for the same period of time in which UI or Disability Insurance benefits are paid.

The Department’s law and policy guidelines for being Able and Available for work and information about PFL eligibility, the PFL program, and SDI program are available on the EDD website.

How does vacation pay or holiday pay affect my eligibility to receive unemployment insurance benefits?

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.

What is a determination?

A determination is a written notice mailed to the claimant and/or an employer that provides a decision on a claimant’s eligibility for UI benefits. The determination is issued by EDD and may be based on the reason the claimant’s job ended, or other eligibility issues.

I need to reschedule a determination interview. What should I do?

Contact EDD immediately.

How can I comment on the interview, or about the interviewer who called me?

EDD is committed to outstanding customer service and values its customers’ opinions. Use any one of the following options to provide comments:

  • Use Ask EDD. Select “Unemployment Insurance,” “Other,” and “Suggestions, Complaints, or Comments.”
  • Use the Internet Comments, Complaints, or Suggestions form on this website.
  • Call EDD and request to speak to a supervisor, or manager.
  • Mail a letter to:
    Employment Development Department
    PO Box 826880 - UIPCD MIC 40
    Sacramento, CA 94280-0001

What should I do if I got a Notice of Determination (DE 1080CZ) and I want to discuss it?

Contact EDD.

I received a Notice of Determination (DE 1080CZ) and I am not eligible for benefits. What do I do now?

You have the right to file an appeal if you do not agree with all or part of our decision. Review the Appeals section on this website for more information.

Why am I not eligible for benefits? You took money out of my check while I was working.

UI benefits are financed solely from taxes paid by employers. No deductions are taken from an employee’s wages for UI benefits. You have the right to file an appeal if you believe you are entitled to benefits. Review the Appeals section on this website for more information.

Why did I receive a Request for Identity Verification (DE 1326C)?

This notice was sent because the Department has:

  • been unable to verify your identity using the information you provided when you filed your UI claim, or
  • received information that your identity may have been compromised

As a result, further identifying documents are required. 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.

Why did I receive a Request for Information (DE 1326E)? I have never filed a UI Claim.

You are receiving this notice because a UI claim was filed using the Social Security number documented on the notice and there is a question about the identity of the individual who filed the claim.

Complete the form and provide the documentation that is being requested to verify ownership of the Social Security number. You are not required to provide the requested information, but the Department needs your assistance and cooperation to ensure benefits are paid only to those who are legally entitled to receive them.

What should I do if I don’t respond, or respond late to one of EDD’s forms or notices?

Claimants who are not able to respond timely to one of EDD’s forms or notices, should submit the requested information immediately after the reason for the delay has ended. Along with your response, explain why you were not able to respond within the time limit. If the response is late for an unavoidable reason, EDD may extend the response time. Keep in mind that the longer the delay, the more substantial the reason for the delay must be. Failing to respond to an EDD notice or form can result in a potential disqualification of UI benefits.

How can I get a copy of my UI records?

You may submit your request online through Ask EDD. Select “Unemployment Insurance,” “Other,” and “Print Out of Claim.” We will mail a paper copy of the requested information to you within 10 business days.

You may also call EDD and request a copy of your claim records.

I just received a Notice of Overpayment (DE 1444). Can someone explain it to me?

A Notice of Overpayment is mailed to claimants who have been paid benefits they were not eligible to receive. The notice shows the amount of the overpayment and penalties, if any. In addition, the notice explains why you were overpaid and provides information about your appeal rights.

Contact EDD for a more complete explanation.

How can I pay my benefit overpayment?

You may make your payment by mail, by phone, or online. Review the How to Pay Benefit Overpayments page for specific details.

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