Claims FAQs

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Answer Yes if you are currently working for this employer or plan to return to work for this employer. For the start date, enter the next day you plan to work.

Your last date worked is the last day you worked for any employer, whether you are still working or not.

Our system might determine that you have $0 in benefits available if we are unable to verify your identity or your wages. If this happens, we may need more information to process your claim.

For details, including how to request an investigation, refer to Step 1 in Unemployment Claims.

The following are some reasons an unemployment claim can take longer to process:

  • Identity Verification: We compare the information you provide on your application to the DMV and the Social Security Administration. If it doesn’t match, you will receive a Notice of Award with $0 available until we can verify your identity. You will receive a Request for Identify Verification (DE 1326C) and need to respond with two types of identity documents.
  • Wages: We compare the information you provide on your application with the wages your employer reports to us. If you have wages from a W2 and 1099, we need to review your claim to determine if you qualify for benefits.
  • Application Errors: Your benefit amount is based on the information you give us. If you don’t include all of your employment history information over the last 18 months, or the date that your employment was impacted, we will need to review your claim. If you believe you made an error, do not file for unemployment again.

To change your claim:

  • Write what needs to be corrected on your Notice of Award and mail it to the EDD address on the notice.
  • Visit Ask EDD to request to backdate your claim if you think it has the wrong start date. Select Unemployment Insurance Benefits, then Claims Questions, then Backdate the Effective Date of my UI Claim Due to COVID-19.
  • In your UI Online account, select Contact Us to request a change.
  • Call the UI Customer Service line at 1-800-300-5616, available from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. (Pacific time), seven days a week, except state holidays.

The best way to reopen a claim is by logging in to your Benefits Program Online account and using UI Online. You don’t need to certify for weeks you worked, select the week you became unemployed or had your hours reduced.

If it has been more than 30 days, you can reopen an unemployment claim online, by phone, or by mail. 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.

When you certify for your unemployment benefits, you will be asked if you refused any work. Select “Yes” for that question, and we will need to schedule an eligibility interview. During that interview, you will be able to give us the facts about why you turned down the offer of employment.

You are required to accept “suitable” work, which is work that offers wages most would earn based on similar skills and type of work in your area. But, you may have good cause to refuse work if the wages, hours, or other working conditions are “substantially less favorable” than those for similar work in your area.

For example, if you are offered a job at $20 per hour but other jobs in your area doing the same type of work at your skill level are typically paid at $30 per hour, you may have good cause to refuse the work. But, you would not have good cause if you refuse the work only because those wages are less than what you are receiving in unemployment benefits.

If you go back to work part time, you must report earnings when you certify for benefits. Earnings include wages, paid sick time, vacation pay, and holiday pay and can be deducted from your unemployment payments.

The first $25 or 25 percent of your income (whichever is greater) will not be deducted. For example, if you earned $75 in a week, we will deduct $50 from your weekly payment because the first $25 does not apply. If you earned $400 in a week, we will deduct $300 from your weekly payment because the first $100 (25 percent) does not apply.

If you return to work full time, you will no longer be eligible for unemployment benefits.

Generally, you are not eligible for unemployment if you refuse to accept “suitable” work when offered. We will review the degree of risk involved to your health and safety when considering if your work is “suitable.” For example, if your employer has followed the state’s requirements and government safety regulations for reopening, you may not have good cause to refuse to return to work and would not be eligible for unemployment.

You may have good cause to refuse to return to work if you are at greater personal risk based on your health. The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) issued public health guidance (PDF) urging individuals who are over 65, immunocompromised, or have certain serious chronic health conditions (such as heart disease, lung disease, or diabetes) to stay at home due to “higher risk” factors.

But, you may not have good cause for refusing work if your employer allows you to telework and you still refused. In this case, you would not be eligible for unemployment benefits because there is an option available without compromising your health and safety. Another option may be a modified schedule.

Employers may have a legal obligation to accommodate certain health conditions. Review the Department of Fair Employment and Housing guidance (PDF) on what employers must do to accommodate employees with recognized disabilities.

Under California law, you would not qualify for unemployment if you voluntarily quit without good cause. You are presumed to have voluntarily quit with good cause unless your employer provides written notice to the EDD with facts that show otherwise. “Good cause” to quit is when the motivating reason was real, substantial, compelling, and would cause a reasonable person to quit under the same circumstances. Before you quit work, you must try to preserve your employment relationship. If you don’t, it could go against what would be good cause for quitting.

You may be eligible for unemployment benefits if you can show good cause for quitting. This could include:

  • Your employer has not followed industry guidance for safely reopening.
  • You have childcare or transportation problems that you cannot resolve.
  • You have a disability or condition that your employer cannot reasonably accommodate.

You can show that you tried to maintain the employment relationship by asking your employer to allow you to continue to telework, but your employer denied your request. We will evaluate your situation to determine if you had good cause to quit and if you qualify for unemployment.

No. You can file a claim for unemployment and disability benefits at the same time, but you can only collect payments under one benefit program at a time. If you are unsure which program to apply for, you can apply for both programs. We will review your eligibility for each program.

Yes. If your employer shuts down operations or reduces hours for workers while you are on your disability claim, you can apply for unemployment benefits at that time. We will help decide the start of your unemployment claim, as long as you meet all other eligibility requirements.

Yes. If you or a family member gets sick while you are on an unemployment claim, you can apply for disability or Paid Family Leave benefits, which may have a higher benefit amount if you are eligible. You must have a medical certification for the illness or need for caregiving. If you are approved for a Disability Insurance or Paid Family Leave claim, your unemployment claim will be put on hold. If you use all your disability benefits but are still unemployed, you can then collect the rest of your unemployment benefits as long as you are eligible. You will need to reopen your unemployment claim.

Visit Disability and Paid Family Leave FAQs for more information.