FAQ – Using the Automated Phone System

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Our automated system provides recorded information about your most recent Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefit payment Monday through Saturday (between 6 a.m. and Midnight), and on Sunday (between 6 a.m. and 9 p.m). The information is updated Tuesday through Saturday at 6 a.m. and does not change until the following day, so you only need to call once a day. The best time to call the automated system is between 6 a.m. and 8 a.m. or after 5 p.m., or any time on weekends.

When our phone systems receive too many calls the phone network becomes temporarily overloaded. If that occurs, you will hear a message that states, “We are currently receiving more calls than our system can handle. Please try again later.” This tends to happen between 8 a.m. and 8:30 a.m., and the problem should resolve itself in a few minutes. This is also likely to occur on our busiest days (Mondays, and days after a holiday).

Once you have reached our phone system, and you make the menu selections to speak to a Representative, the system routes your call to the location with the shortest wait time. However, if it appears that your call cannot be answered within 10 minutes because of the number of callers already waiting, you will hear a message advising you to call back later. To avoid this possibility, you may want to call on Wednesday or Thursday, which are our least busy days.

Statewide increased demand for UI services, seasonal fluctuations and holidays contribute to a longer wait time when calling the Department. We understand that your time is valuable and EDD is making every effort to shorten the time you must wait for service.

You can avoid phone wait time by filing your claim online.

No. The fastest way to file a claim is through UI OnlineSM.

If you are opening or reopening an Unemployment Insurance claim, you do not have to call on Monday to have your claim begin that week. Your claim will begin Sunday of the week in which you call, as long as you have applied online by Saturday by midnight, or by phone Friday by 5 p.m. of the week you wish to file.

You must have your Social Security Number (SSN), as that is the only way that we can identify your records. If you have been given an EDD Client Number, provide that as well.

If you are filing a claim you will need to know the last date that you worked. You may need your California Driver’s License or State identification number and the names and mailing addresses for all the employers you have worked for in the past 18 months. If you have worked for the federal government or military, you will be asked for additional information, so have furlough papers or your DD 214. *See military and federal claims for more information. If you are not a US Citizen, you will be asked for your immigration status and document numbers.

If you are calling for information about your claim, you will be asked variable information in order to determine your identity. This is to protect your confidential information.

Our automated system shortens your wait time. If you want to file or reopen an Unemployment Insurance claim, or if you want to provide or obtain information about your current claim, our automated system directs your call to a Customer Service Representative during regular business hours.

If you listen to the phone menu, and make the selections, as prompted you will reduce your overall wait time and receive the assistance you need.

Our automated system uses your menu selections to tell us why you are calling to direct your call to a Customer Service Representative with the shortest wait time. If you make incorrect selections from the menu choices, your call may be disconnected.

Yes. However if you are unable to make menu selections, you may wait longer for your call to be answered, and may have to be transferred to more than one Customer Service Representative.

EDD also provides phone services in Cantonese, Mandarin, and Vietnamese languages.

  • The Cantonese phone number is 1-800-547-3506.
  • The Mandarin phone number is 1-866-303-0706.
  • The Vietnamese phone number is 1-800-547-2058.