Tips to Avoid UI Payment Delays, Overpayments, and Penalties

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After you have filed your claim, you must provide eligibility information to the EDD every two weeks to receive UI benefit payments. This web page will help you avoid common errors that could delay payment and/or result in overpayments and penalties.

Contact UI immediately if you think you made an error after you have submitted your certification.

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Always review your answers to ensure they are complete and accurate before submitting your certifications. If you are unsure how to answer a question, visit the Understanding the Continued Claim Certification Questions web page. If using UI OnlineSM, you can access the Help feature for additional instructions.

If an incomplete or unsigned paper form is received, the EDD will mail a duplicate (reissued) Continued Claim Form (DE 4581) with a message explaining why the original form could not be processed. For an explanation of these messages, visit the Understanding Messages Displayed on a Duplicate (Reissued) Continued Claim Form web page.

Avoid this common error by certifying through UI Online or by phone through EDD Tele-CertSM at 1-866-333-4606. These systems will not allow users to submit incomplete or unsigned certifications.

Submitting your certification late will result in a phone interview and possible denial of UI benefit payments.

Mailing your certification early could also delay payment. The EDD will mail a duplicate (reissued) Continued Claim Form (DE 4581) with a message explaining that the original form was submitted early.

Avoid mail delays by submitting your certifications through UI Online or EDD Tele-Cert. Submit your certification through UI Online on the first available date and before the due date indicated in the Notifications section of your UI Online home page.

If certifying through EDD Tele-Cert, call the UI Self-Service Phone Line, 1-866-333-4606. EDD Tele-Cert will advise you if you have weeks available for certification.

If certifying by mail, submit your certification within 14 days after the “complete and mail this form on” date displayed above Question 1 on the claim form.

Failure to properly report work, wages, and other income may result in Overpayments and Penalties.

Always report gross wages for full-time and part-time work during the week you worked, and not the week you were paid. This includes wages earned from performing in-home health care services, temporary, and seasonal work. Gross wages are all earnings or income before taxes or any other deductions.

Also, report all other types of gross income you receive to the EDD. This includes vacation pay, severance pay, residuals, commissions and bonuses to name a few.

If reporting earnings from self-employment or independent contractor work, you may report net earnings as defined and allowed by the Internal Revenue Service tax code.

To help you properly report your wages and other income using UI Online, several instructional UI Online Videos are available. For instructions on how to complete the paper form, visit the How to Report Work and Wages and FAQs - Reporting Work and Wages web pages.

You must make a reasonable effort each week to look for work. Your work search requirement is described in Item #8 on the Notice of Unemployment Insurance Award (DE 429Z) and on your UI Online home page in the Claim Summary section.

If your claim is based on full-time work, but you find part-time work, you must continue to look for full-time work unless advised by the EDD that you have an exemption from this requirement.

Examples of looking for work include:

  • Internet job searches such as CalJOBSSM and other employment-related web sites.
  • Searching want ads in the newspaper.
  • Contacting former employers for work.
  • Sending resumes and applying for jobs online, by mail, or in person.
  • Inquiring about job openings with friends, relatives, and colleagues advising them that you are looking for work.
  • Following your union’s reporting and dispatch requirements.

Customers who receive the Notice of Requirement to Register for Work (DE 8405) must register for work through California’s labor exchange system, known as CalJOBS, within 21 days from the date on the notice. If you have used CalJOBS in the past, you will need to update your registration information and résumé. Failure to comply could result in denial of benefits.

America’s Job Center of CaliforniaSM (AJCC) is your easy one-stop access to the state’s employment-related and training services. Job seekers can get assistance in assessing skills, finding job opportunities and training, preparing a résumé, and more.

To receive UI benefits, you must be able, available, and willing to accept suitable work. If you are not able to meet these requirements, you may be denied benefits. The EDD will review your individual circumstances and make an eligibility decision based on UI Code.

Be physically able to work
You must be physically able to work during the week(s) you are requesting benefit payments. If you are too ill or injured to work, indicate the number of days for each week when certifying for continuing benefits. Benefit payments are reduced by one-seventh for each day that you are unable to work due to illness or injury.

If you are not eligible for UI benefits because you are sick or injured, you may file a claim for California’s State Disability Insurance (SDI) program at

Be available to work
Many reasons may impact your availability for work resulting in eligibility issues. Some of these reasons are vacation, caring for an ill family member, or lack of childcare or transportation.

Accept suitable work
You must be willing to accept suitable work. Suitable work is defined as work that matches your occupational skills and/or education. Refusal to accept suitable work could result in the delay or denial of benefit payments.

The EDD uses state and national resources to track new hires and rehires and to conduct benefit audits that cross-match new employment and wages against benefits collected. Report your return to work immediately to avoid Overpayments and Penalties.

If you are only working part-time or on-call, you may be eligible for reduced UI benefits. In this case, continue to submit your certifications and report your gross wages during the week you worked, and not the week you were paid. If you no longer need benefits, Contact UI or simply stop submitting your certifications.

For more benefit audit information, refer to FAQs - Benefit Audits.