Coronavirus (COVID-19) FAQs
We are experiencing a high call volume and longer wait times on our phone lines. We appreciate your patience and understand you have questions. To help, we’re featuring the most frequently asked questions to our call center. For specific questions about your claim, log in to UI OnlineSM and select Contact Us at the top of the homepage.
Top FAQs of the Week
We are working closely with state and federal partners to review the Presidential Memoranda and assess how to implement additional assistance payments.
The extra $600 that was automatically added to your unemployment benefits each week ended July 25, 2020. Unless the federal government extends stimulus payments, we cannot provide extra payments for any weeks after July 25, 2020. For unemployment payments after July 25, you will only receive your weekly benefit amount based on your past wages or self-employment income. Unemployment Insurance weekly benefit amounts range from $40-$450. Pandemic Unemployment Assistance benefits range from $167-$450 each week.
Any unemployment benefits through July 25 will still be eligible for the extra $600, even if you are paid later.
Monitor Email and Postal Service
You should receive an email message with the subject “New Online Account Created.” That means your registration was automatically completed in UI Online, where you can certify for your first benefit payment.
If you do not receive an email and have not filed a UI claim in the past several years, you will receive a letter with an EDD Customer Account Number (EDDCAN) in the mail. Use the EDDCAN to finish registering for full UI Online access.
Note: Regardless of how you file, you will receive important EDD information in the mail about two weeks after applying. This includes a notice telling you what you could receive in weekly payments, if eligible.
Certify for Benefits
After completing UI Online registration, you must “certify” for your first benefit payment. Certifying is answering basic questions every two weeks that tells us you’re still unemployed and eligible to continue receiving payments. It is required to receive unemployment.
You will receive an email and a reminder on your UI Online account homepage when you log in if there are weeks you need to certify for. We have video tutorials in four different languages to help you complete this legally required step so you can keep collecting unemployment benefits.
Note: If you have not looked for work, you will still be paid benefits for that week if you meet all other eligibility requirements.
Visit COVID-19: Unemployment Claims for complete details about steps to take after filing your claim.
Your claim can be delayed if you answer questions incorrectly or do not answer our calls when we try to contact you. The following are some examples:
- Too sick to work: The first question on your certification form asks, “Were you too sick or injured to work?” Answer the question based on your own health and availability to work. You must be well enough to work every day of the week to collect unemployment benefits. We noticed some people answered “yes” for the whole week, which would disqualify them for benefits. When we followed up, they confirmed they weren’t sick themselves, but rather people are sick due to the coronavirus.
- Able and Available: The second question asks, “Was there any reason (other than sickness or injury) that you could not have accepted full-time work each workday?” You must be available for work to collect benefits. Being available means you are ready and willing to accept work even though businesses may still be closed because of COVID-19. If you are otherwise able and available to work, you should answer “no” to this question. If you are not available or willing to accept suitable work, you could be disqualified for benefits, unless you have good cause. Some examples of good cause are having no childcare (and you have tried other alternatives including asking for a different work schedule), being over 65, or having a serious health condition (PDF).
- Not answering EDD calls: If there is an eligibility issue on your certification, we may have to schedule a determination interview with you. You will be notified of the date and time by mail and receive sample questions we may ask. Be ready to accept a call during the time listed on the notice. The call will say “St of CA EDD” or the UI call center number 1-833-978-2511 will display on caller ID.
If you are getting a phone call from the EDD, it will show “St of CA EDD” or the UI call center number 1-833-978-2511 will display on caller ID.
If you received an EDD Debit Card from Bank of America in the last three years, your unemployment or Pandemic Unemployment Assistance payments will automatically be added to it even if the card was issued for other EDD benefits including Disability Insurance or Paid Family Leave.
- If you still have the same card, your payment will automatically be added to it. If your card has expired, you will automatically be sent a new one when your payment is ready.
- If you don’t have this card anymore, visit the Bank of America website to get a new one. Please allow 7-10 days for the card to arrive in the mail.
If you have not received an EDD Debit Card from Bank of America in the last three years, continue to check the mail for it. It can take some time to process and for the card to reach you. If it has been more than 10 days since your claim was approved with a “Paid” status, contact Bank of America.
For information on delivery, lost or stolen cards, tracking payments, and more, visit EDD Debit Card.
Use one of the following to report suspicious activity or fraud:
- Report fraud online.
- Call 1-800-229-6297 to leave a message.
- Fax fraud-related information to 1-866-340-5484.
Examples of suspicious activity include:
- Receiving mail notices or phone calls about unemployment insurance forms when you haven’t applied for benefits.
- Any fees involved in filing or qualifying for unemployment insurance. Important: The EDD does not charge for unemployment services.
- Unsolicited inquiries about unemployment.
- False websites and social media pages pretending to be a government agency.
- People approaching you and claiming to be EDD representatives. We will not go to your home and ask for your personal identifying information.
- Employers receiving false claims filed on behalf of their employees. If you are an employer, review EDD notices carefully.
For more information, visit Fraud and Penalties: What You Need to Know.
You can reopen an unemployment claim online, by phone, or by mail. The best way to reopen a claim is by logging in to your Benefits Program Online account and using UI OnlineSM. View UI Online: Reopen your claim (YouTube) to learn more.
Reopening a claim online is a shorter process than the original application for benefits. In most cases, we can automatically reopen a claim within a few days to a week.
You must be able to and available for work to collect benefits. If you don’t meet this requirement, we will follow up with you to see if you’re eligible. Once your claim is reopened, you must certify every two weeks to receive benefits.
Some of the most common status updates are:
- Paid – You met all eligibility requirements for receiving payment.
- Pending – There may be an issue with your responses to the certification questions. We must review your certification.
- Disqualified – You are not eligible for payment for this week. You will receive a Notice of Determination in the mail that will explain the reason and information to appeal if you disagree with the disqualification.
- Excessive Earnings – No benefits are paid for this week because your reported earnings, after the first $25 or 25 percent, are more than your weekly benefit amount.
- False Statement Penalty Week – No benefits are paid because this week will be applied to a false statement penalty. The penalty was most likely based on past unemployment. For example, if you returned to work but did not notify the EDD and continued to collect benefits at the same time. For more information, visit Overpayments and Penalties.
Find out if you’re eligible for Unemployment Insurance (UI) and get answers to common questions about claims.Visit UI FAQs
If you don’t qualify for regular Unemployment Insurance, you may be eligible for the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program.Visit PUA FAQs
Learn what benefits are available if you are sick or caring for a family member.Visit DI/PFL FAQs
Get information about the temporary suspensions to the WARN Act and what EDD services can help navigate your business operations.Visit Employer FAQs
Still Need Help?
Refer to the Unemployment Guide to learn what benefits are available, how to apply, and what to expect after applying.
Contact Us if you need general or technical support, or to get help with your UI claim.