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Employment Development Department
Employment Development Department

New Upgrades for the Unemployment Insurance (UI) System

En español

August 29, 2014, 2 p.m.

The EDD is continuing to upgrade its 30-year-old Unemployment Insurance (UI) payment processing system. California has the largest UI program in the nation and the EDD is upgrading its system in order to bring greater conveniences to our customers and greater efficiencies in internal operations. The internal upgrades of the payment processing system launched in September of 2013. Additional upgrades that will allow customers to access their UI claim online, called UI Online, will launch in the spring of 2015. This page will provide updates and developments about the new system and what UI customers will need to know for the launch.

UI Program Legal Requirements

The UI program is an eligibility-based system where regular unemployment benefits are paid by employers. In order to receive benefits, unemployed Californians must file an initial application for benefits and then meet continuing eligibility requirements.

(1) The initial application for benefits: Once becoming fully or partially unemployed, individuals must file an Unemployment Insurance (UI) application with the EDD if they want to receive unemployment benefits. Upon receiving the application, the EDD will send the individual their first bi-weekly form to complete and submit. The EDD will review the application and that first certification form to determine if the individual meets all of the eligibility requirements.

Throughout the history of the program:

(2) The continued claim certification for ongoing benefits: If a customer is found eligible to establish a claim, the individual must submit a continued claim certification every two weeks to verify that he/she remains eligible for each week to receive continued benefits. These certifications for benefits are processed at the EDD through a separate system from the initial applications for benefits.

Our new payment processing system helps us by automatically reviewing these ongoing certifications for eligibility and forwarding eligible ones for payment without the need for staff intervention. Those certifications that are straight-forward and absent of errors can be processed and paid within a matter of days. Those that contain errors or more complex eligibility issues such as not being able to work due to an injury or illness will be forwarded to staff for review and potential clarification from the claimant. It is not unusual at all for someone to be eligible for benefits in one bi-weekly period and not the next.

Recommendations for Customers

As part of our constant evaluation to improve service through this transition, we have some helpful information and suggestions for our UI customers.

(1) Certify Online or By Phone: We strongly encourage our customers to certify for their ongoing benefits online through EDD’s Web-CertSM or by phone through Tele-CertSM. Currently, some of our customers send in paper forms every two weeks of their claims. This is a more time-consuming method for processing and paying your benefits. You can help expedite the processing of your certifications by submitting such forms electronically online or through the phone.

(2) Submit a Question through Ask EDD: The EDD is currently understaffed due to significant federal underfunding. To help us better track e-mails from customers and respond more quickly, we have condensed our UI e-mail categories to 16 major topics. If you are currently having issues or have questions about your claim, you can contact the EDD by submitting an inquiry through Ask EDD. The topics within certain sub-categories below are the current topics available under Unemployment Insurance in Ask EDD.

Ask EDD Topics for Unemployment Insurance
Sub-Category Topic(s)
  • Where’s My Payment?
  • Replace a Lost, Damaged, or Stolen Check
  • Cancel a Claim
EDD Web-CertSM
  • EDD Web-CertSM Forgot Password or Username
  • Can I Reschedule My Interview or Appointment?
Update Information
  • Address or Telephone Number Change
  • Missing Wages From Claim
Claim Filing
  • EDD Asked Me to Provide My Employer’s Information
  • Missing Wages from Claim
EDD Tele-CertSM
  • EDD Tele-CertSM Personal Identification Number (PIN) Issues
Claim Form
  • Need Replacement Claim Form
  • Cancel a Claim
  • Social Security and Pensions
  • Print Out of Claim
EDD Debit CardSM
  • Additional Instructions Notice
Alternate Base Period
  • EDD Asked Me to Provide my Employer’s Information

Special Note for UI Claimants

Once we launch the new UI Online with new conveniences for our customers in the coming months, any certifications received will be directly entered into the new payment processing system instead of relying on interconnections with our pre-existing intake channels like Web-CertSM and Tele-CertSM. In addition:

We ask for the help of our customers in using self-service tools whenever possible, so our limited staff can be directed to assist customers with more complex needs.

What Else Can UI Customers Do?

We are working to process all certifications received from our customers. If a customer does have a claim related question, we strongly encourage them to avoid the frustration of trying to get through to a representative by phone and instead contact the department through Ask EDD and choose from the revised menu of topics as explained above.