Filing an Unemployment Claim
If you lost your job or had your hours reduced, you may be eligible for unemployment.
The following information will help guide you through the claim filing process.
Types of Benefits
If you’re not sure where to start, review the Unemployment Benefit Programs Flowchart (PDF).
Am I Eligible?
You may be eligible for regular unemployment if you received a W-2 and you meet any of these requirements:
- You are fully or partially unemployed because of a layoff, furlough, reduced wages, or reduced hours.
- Your employment status has been affected by COVID-19.
- You and your family are impacted by school closures.
- Your unemployment claim expired.
Get an Estimate
Use the UI Benefit Calculator to estimate how much you may receive in unemployment.
Once you file for unemployment, we will verify your eligibility and wage information to determine your unemployment compensation and benefits.
Am I Eligible?
If you are a business owner, independent contractor, or self-employed worker and only received a 1099 tax form last year, you are most likely eligible for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance.
Apply for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance if your work situation changed because of COVID-19 and you meet any of these requirements:
- You had an official date to begin work, but the job is no longer available, or you could not reach the job as a direct result of COVID-19.
- You are unable to travel to your job as a direct result of COVID-19.
- You quit your job as a direct result of COVID-19.
- Your workplace is closed as a direct result of COVID-19.
- You are unemployed, partially employed, or unable to work because COVID-19 has forced you to stop working.
Apply for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance if you have health issues because of COVID-19 or any of these circumstances apply:
- You have been diagnosed with COVID-19 or are experiencing symptoms and are seeking a medical diagnosis.
- A member of your household has been diagnosed with COVID-19.
- You are caring for a family member or a member of your household who has been diagnosed with COVID-19.
- You and your family are impacted by school closures.
- Your healthcare provider has told you to self-quarantine because of COVID-19.
- You have become the main income provider due to a COVID-19 death in your household.
Am I Eligible?
You may be eligible for Disability benefits if:
- You are unable to work due to a non-work-related illness, injury, or pregnancy.
- You are unable to perform your normal work duties because you are sick or quarantined due to COVID-19.
- You paid into the State Disability Insurance program (noted as “CASDI” on paystubs), via taxes.
Paid Family Leave
You may be eligible for Paid Family Leave benefits if:
- You need to take time off work to care for a seriously ill child, parent, parent-in-law, grandparent, grandchild, sibling, spouse, or registered domestic partner.
- You’re a parent who needs time to bond with your new child by birth, adoption, or foster care placement.
Get Your Information in Order
A little preparation goes a long way! At a glance, prepare to collect the following:
- Last employer information including company name, supervisor’s name, address (mailing and physical location) and phone number. If you are self-employed, a business owner, or an independent contractor, list yourself as your last employer.
- Last date worked and the reason you are no longer working.
- Total gross earnings in the last week you worked, beginning with Sunday and ending with your last day of work. If you are self-employed or an independent contractor, you will need your net income (total after taxes).
- Information on all employers you worked for during the past 18 months, including name, address (mailing and physical location), the dates of employment, gross wages earned, hours worked per week, hourly rate of pay, and the reason you are no longer working.
- If you are self-employed or an independent contractor, you will need your net income (total after taxes).
- Notice to Federal Employees About Unemployment Insurance, Standard Form 8 (former federal employees only).
- DD 214 Member 4 copy (ex-military only).
We launched ID.me, a safe and easy way to verify your identity in UI Online. When you file a new claim, you will be redirected to the ID.me site where you will take a selfie (personal photo) and upload a photo of your ID to verify your identity.
For more information, review Top Nine Reasons Your Document May Get Rejected (PDF).
If we need additional information to verify your identity, you will need to join a video call with ID.me and provide either:
- Two primary documents
- One primary and two secondary documents
ID.me primary documents include:
- Driver license (US or foreign)
- Passport or passport card (US or foreign)
- US Permanent Resident Card (I-551)
- Employment Authorization Card (I-766) issued by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services
- Certificate of Naturalization (Form N-550 or N-570)
- Federal or state ID
- Veteran health ID card
- Transportation Security Administration (TSA) ID Card
- Department of Homeland Security trusted traveler cards (Global Entry, NEXUS, SENTRI)
- National ID card (only if you live outside of the US)
- Homeland Security Presidential Directive 12 (HSPD-12) Personal Identity Verification card
ID.me secondary documents include:
- US health insurance card
- Social security card
- US birth certificate
- School documents (ID with photograph, school record, report card)
- US voter registration card
- US citizen ID card (Form I-197)
- Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty (DD214)
- National Guard Report of Separation and Record of Service (NGB Form 22)
- Foreign birth document
- Certificate of Birth Abroad (FS-545)
- Certification of Report of Birth (DS-1350)
- Consular Report of Birth Abroad (FS-240)
- Border crossing card
- Native American tribal document
- Tribal-issued photo ID card
- Canadian Indian and Northern Affairs card
- US Coast Guard merchant mariner card
If you are unable to verify your identity through ID.me when applying online, you will need to file a claim by phone, fax, or mail.
For help with the ID.me verification process, you can:
- Speak to an ID.me video agent 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, through your ID.me account.
- Visit ID.me Support and submit a request for help.
- Review How to Set Up and Protect Your ID.me Account (PDF).
Prepare to Apply
File for unemployment in the first week that you lose your job or have your hours reduced. Your claim begins the Sunday of the week you applied for unemployment. You can request to backdate your claim date to the week you became unemployed due to COVID-19.
If you filed for unemployment within the last 52 weeks (12 months) and have not exhausted your benefits, you must reopen your claim to restart your benefits.
Benefit Year Ending Date
Your benefit year end date is 12 months after you filed your claim.
You can find your benefit year end date by logging in to UI OnlineSM and viewing your Claim Summary. Your benefit year end date is 12 months after the start of your Benefit Year.
You can also refer to your Notice of Unemployment Insurance Award (DE 429Z) for your claim ending date.
Important: If your benefit year has expired, you must apply for a new claim, even if you are on an extension. We will send you a notice telling you to apply for a new claim if you are still certifying for benefits. If you have an existing Pandemic Unemployment Assistance claim, you do not need to submit a new application.
COVID-19 Temporary Exceptions
Due to the impact of COVID-19, we made the following temporary exceptions for all unemployment claims until further notice:
- Waiting Period – The 7-day waiting period is waived for claims beginning on or after January 19, 2020. After you submit your first two-week continued certification, you will be paid for the first week of your claim.
- Work Search – You are not required to look for work each week to be eligible for benefits.
UI Online is the best way to file your claim. File online during the times listed below:
|Days of the Week||Available Time|
|Sunday||5 a.m. – 8:30 p.m.|
|Monday||4 a.m. – 10 p.m.|
|Tuesday – Friday||2 a.m. – 10 p.m.|
|Saturday||2 a.m. – 8 p.m.|
Note: To file a claim online, you must be at least 18 years old. If you are underage, you can file your claim by phone, fax, or mail.
Call us to file a claim at the following toll-free numbers, seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. (Pacific time) except on state holidays.
- English and Spanish 1-800-300-5616
- Cantonese 1-800-547-3506
- Mandarin 1-866-303-0706
- Vietnamese 1-800-547-2058
- TTY 1-800-815-9387
General Unemployment Questions or Technical Help with UI Online
If you have general questions or need help with account registration, password resets, your EDD Account Number, or how to use UI Online, contact us at 1-800-300-5616 from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. (Pacific time), seven days a week, except state holidays.
Unemployment Insurance Application
Use the paper Unemployment Insurance Application. Select one of the following that best describes your employment. If you have been affected by a disaster, complete the disaster section of the UI application.
- Worked in California English | Spanish
- Worked in California and Another State English | Spanish
- Served in the Military English | Spanish
- Worked for the Federal Government English | Spanish
Fax your application to the number listed on the form. You can contact your local America’s Job Center of California for help with faxing your paper application.
Tip: The fastest way to apply is through UI Online.
Mail your application to the address on the form and allow extra time for processing. You can contact your local America’s Job Center of CaliforniaSM for help with mailing your paper application.
You will receive important documents from us generally within two weeks after you file for unemployment. Take the necessary steps to make sure your unemployment benefits are not delayed or denied. Be sure to read and respond to all requests to avoid payment delays.
Review these Important Next Steps – After You File a Claim for more information.
Last Revised: 3/19/2021
Meet Your Eligibility Requirements
You must meet all eligibility requirements when filing for unemployment and certifying for benefits. View our list of requirements to file a claim.
Save Time. Apply Online.
You can report school or training when you file or reopen a claim, or when you certify for benefits. Learn how to report each type of school or training available.