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
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.
- You and your family are impacted by school closures.
- Your unemployment claim expired.
Note: If you believe that you are misclassified as an independent contractor, we encourage you to apply for benefits, and we will determine your eligibility.
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?
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
After your video call with ID.me, you need to finish your unemployment application. Log in to UI Online and return to your application. UI Online will take you to the ID.me login page. Log in to allow ID.me to share your identity information with the EDD. Select Allow and finish completing your unemployment application.
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 must serve a one-week unpaid waiting period on your claim before you are paid UI benefits. The waiting period can only be served if you certify for benefits and meet all eligibility requirements for that week. Your first certification will usually include the one-week unpaid waiting period and one week of payment if you meet eligibility requirements for both weeks. Certify for benefits every two weeks to continue receiving benefit payments.
Benefit Year End Date
A regular unemployment insurance benefit year ends 12 months after the claim started.
You must reapply for a new claim if you earned enough wages in the last 18 months and are still unemployed or working part time. We will notify you when your new claim is processed. This usually takes two to three weeks.
- If you’re unsure if you have enough wages as reported by an employer, log in to UI OnlineSM and select File New Claim. We will do one of the following:
- Immediately tell you that you do not have enough wages to establish a new claim.
- Provide instructions on how to submit a new application.
For more information, refer to the unemployment benefit calculator.
If you served in the military, worked for a federal government agency, or worked in a state outside of California within the last 18 months, you must reapply for a new claim by phone, mail, or fax.
You do not need to reapply if you did not earn enough wages in the last 18 months to establish a new claim.
To find your benefit year end date, log in to UI OnlineSM and view your Claim Summary. Your benefit year end date is 12 months after the start of your Benefit Year.
For more information, refer to your Notice of Unemployment Insurance Award (DE 429Z) for your claim ending date or review Benefit Year End.
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: 11/23/2021
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.