How to Get Your Unemployment Benefits in California
How to Get California Unemployment Benefits
If you are a resident of California and have lost your job as the result of a lay-off or company downsizing, then you are likely entitled to receive unemployment benefits. Unemployment benefits provide temporary, partial wage replacement for workers who are unemployed due to no fault of their own and are transitioning between jobs.To qualify for and receive unemployment insurance (UI) benefits, there are certain threshold eligibility requirements you must meet and you must submit a UI application. Continue reading to learn more about how to apply for UI benefits in California.
Understanding California's Unemployment Insurance Eligibility Requirements
Be unemployed through no fault of your own.To qualify for UI benefits in California, you must have lost your last job through no fault of your own.This means that if you quit your last job for unacceptable reasons or were fired with cause, you may not be eligible to receive UI benefits.
- Acceptable reasons for quitting or losing your job include: layoffs, downsizing, or quitting because of harassment or significant medical reasons.
- Unacceptable reasons for quitting or losing your job include: quitting because you didn't like your job, quitting to change careers, or getting fired because of serious and repeated lapses in judgment or performance.With that said, your past employer's definition of bad performance or lapses in judgment may be different from the California Employment Development Department's (EDD's) definition of those things. You should still apply for UI benefits if you feel you are entitled to them. Also, try negotiating with your employer and ask that they not challenge your UI application.
Meet the past earning requirements.When you file a UI claim, your past employers will report your wages to the EDD.The EDD will use this information to decide if you have earned enough wages during a "base period" to establish a UI claim.
- A "base period" is simply a specified 12 month period used to calculate your past earnings.If you need to calculate what your base period would be, visit , which offers in depth instructions about how unemployment benefits are computed.
Have a satisfactory immigration status.UI benefits are only available to individuals who are lawfully in the United States, either as a citizen or a legal immigrant.You may be required to show proof of your lawful status in order to receive UI benefits. Some forms of proof may include a social security card, a birth certificate, a photo I.D., or a green card with work authorization.
Be able, available, and actively seeking suitable employment.To qualify for UI benefits and to continue receiving benefits, you must be physically able to work, you must be immediately available to accept work, and you must be conducting an active job search.
- If you have a temporary disability that prevents you from working, you may be temporarily ineligible for UI benefits.You may, however, be eligible for State Disability Insurance (SDI).
- If you are in a position where you temporarily cannot accept work (e.g., you are sick or plan on traveling), you may be temporarily ineligible for UI benefits.
- To be eligible for UI benefits, you must be actively seeking work.If EDD ultimately determines you are eligible for UI benefits, you may be required to submit evidence of your job search by providing the name, position, and date you apply for positions.As such, be sure to keep track of the jobs you apply for.
Applying for Unemployment Insurance Benefits
Visit the California Employment Development Department website.To start the application process, you will need to go . Once there, you will click on the link that says "." Before going any further, make sure you have the following information readily available:
- Your name and social security number;
- Your address;
- Your state-issued I.D. number;
- The date you last worked for any employer;
- Your last employer's information, including their name, address, and phone number;
- Information about all employers you have worked for in the past 18 months;
- Reasons as to why you are no longer employed;
- Whether you are receiving, or expect to receive, any payments from your past employers;
- Whether you are available and able to work; and
- Whether you have the legal right to work in the United States.
Choose how you want to file your claim and complete the application process.Once you have gathered your required information and you are at the EDD UI filing website, you will choose how you want to file your UI application. You can choose to file online, over the phone, by mail, or by fax.
- If you are applying over the phone, click and call the designated number. After doing so, follow the directions provided to you over the phone.
- If you are applying by mail or fax, click . You will then go , which will allow you to complete the application online then print it, or you can print it and fill it out with a pen. Once you have completed the application, fax it or mail it to the number or address provided.Click for a printable UI application.
- If you are applying online, click and start the application. When you are finished, you will be prompted to submit the application online.
Wait for an EDD response.Once you have submitted your UI application, EDD will evaluate the application and follow-up as necessary. You can expect to hear back from EDD within about ten days of applying.EDD will determine your eligibility based on your application and potentially even information obtained from your past employers.
- Depending on the information you and your employer provide, you may be scheduled for a telephone interview so EDD can acquire additional information to determine you eligibility.
- If EDD determines you are eligible for UI benefits, you will begin receiving UI benefit checks.
- If EDD determines you are not eligible for benefits, you will receive a “Notice of Determination,” which will explain why you were denied benefits and will give you information on how to appeal their determination.The Notice of Determination will look like . Individuals are often denied benefits because they do not meet the threshold eligibility requirements outlined in Part 1.
Maintaining Unemployment Benefits
Fill out the required forms to keep your unemployment benefits.If you have been found by EDD to be eligible for UI benefits, you will be sent aContinued Claim Form, which can also be found .You will fill out this form and mail it, file it online, or complete the process over the phone.This process will need to be repeated every two weeks.
- If you are filing online you can go and follow the directions to complete the form.
- The Continued Claim Form includes questions regarding whether you were able to work; whether you looked for work; whether you did in fact work work; and finally, the form asks you to complete a work search record, which asks you to report the jobs you applied for.
- If you have concerns about how you should answer certain questions on the Continued Claim Form, you can follow . It provides step-by-step instructions on how to answer each question on the form.
Report small amounts of income if necessary.If you find work while you are receiving UI benefits, you are required to disclose that information on your biweekly Continued Claim Form.Whether you receive money for your services or not, you still must disclose the number of hours you worked, who you worked for, how much money you made, and whether you are still working there.
- Failing to report this information can result in UI fraud, which may subject you to severe punishment.Be sure you look for information on how to correctly report any income you receive.
Extend unemployment benefits if necessary.UI benefits normally last for one year.If you have received one year of UI benefits and are still unemployed and otherwise eligible for normal UI benefits, you may be able to receive a federal extension on your UI benefits.If you are eligible, EDD will automatically file your first extension and they will simply continue to send you your Continued Claim Form every other week.
- If you need to file more than one extension, EDD will again automatically do so for you and continue to send you your Continued Claim Forms.
Appealing a Denial
Review your denial letter.Many people who are rightfully eligible for UI benefits are denied them. If you suspect you were wrongfully denied, EDD has an appeals process. Review your Notice of Determination, which will lay out the reasons you were denied UI benefits, and, if you believe they wrongly denied your UI application, you can request an appeal.
- The most common reason for being denied UI benefits is not meeting the minimum eligibility requirements (discussed in Part 1). For example, EDD may determine that you lost your job as a result of performance issues or because you quit voluntarily. These determinations are often made by EDD after interviewing your past employers.
- The most common denials that are appealed involve voluntary quits and misconduct.If you are denied UI benefits because you quit your job, be prepared to prove that you quit with good cause (i.e., you had a real and compelling reason to quit).If you are denied UI benefits because of alleged misconduct, your employer will have the burden of proving that misconduct on appeal.This is good news for you; it is often possible to win an appeal based on alleged misconduct because your employer may not have the necessary evidence to prove it.
Request an appeal.If you disagree with EDD's reasons for denying your UI benefits, you must submit your appeal within 20 calendar days of the date on your EDD Notice of Determination.Keep your appeal simple and only state you wish to appeal the decision (e.g., "I disagree with the decision by EDD and I am entitled to UI benefits under the law").Saying anything else may actually hurt your chances of winning an appeal.
- You can choose to either submit an appeal form or an appeal letter. The appeal form can be found . When the form is completed, simply send it in with a copy of your Notice of Determination. If you are writing an appeal letter, simply state that you are appealing and send it to the address designated in your Notice of Determination.Make sure you include your name, address, phone number, and social security number.
Prepare for your hearing.After submitting your appeal, EDD will send you a notice acknowledging your appeal as well as a notice of a hearing.At the hearing you will be able to present the reasons why your UI claim should be granted and, depending on the reason for the denial, your employer will have an opportunity to attend the hearing and present evidence as well.
- Review the appeal file.The appeal file is available at the Office of Appeals (at an address that will be provided to you in a letter) and you need to retrieve a copy to analyze before the hearing.The file will contain claim notes, employer protests, records of interviews, your Notice of Determination, and the appeal letter.
- Learn the basics of the law that applies to your appeal.You should understand the basic law that will govern your appeal. Look through , which should provide you with the basic information you need.
- Gather supporting documents.In addition to the documentation in your appeal file, you should also be prepared to introduce other evidence at the hearing.Some of the evidence you should try to bring includes performance reviews, personnel manuals, employee commendations and/or reprimands, and any written correspondence between you and your past employer.
- Consider contacting an attorney to help you with your appeal. You are allowed to bring a representative with you to the appeals hearing and you may want to hire an attorney for that reason. An attorney can help you navigate the process and present a persuasive case on your behalf. Consider contacting your local legal services organization since they often deal with these types of issues. If you are in San Francisco, try contacting the .
Attend your hearing.Your UI appeal hearing will either be conducted in person or in some limited circumstances it will be conducted via telephone.An administrative law judge or representative from your state unemployment insurance agency will conduct the hearing.
Wait for a decision.After your hearing, your state agency will send you a decision.The hearing officer will state the facts of your case as well as the basis for their decision.If you disagree with the decision you can appeal again.If you wish to appeal, you have 20 days to file an additional appeal.
QuestionCan I receive unemployment if I received a severance package?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYes, you can "Severance pay [...] does not affect your eligibility to receive benefits. The method of payment, such as a lump sum payment or payments paid to you at regular pay period intervals does not change the nature of the payment." source: CA Employment Development Department FAQ page.Thanks!
QuestionIf I have a part-time job, am I still eligible to get unemployment?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerPossibly. California offers unemployment benefits to employees employed to work a certain number of hours over a certain period of time. If you meet the base requirements, you may qualify for unemployment. Check the California website for minimum hours. Keep in mind that there may be additional considerations, every case is different.Thanks!
QuestionHow long does it take to get my first check?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerIt depends, but you can ask the office for specific information. Most likely it will take at least 2-3 weeks.Thanks!
QuestionWhat are the requirements to apply for unemployment benefits?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerVisit the edd.ca.gov website and follow their instructions. That website will contain all the information you require.Thanks!
QuestionCan I reapply for unemployment after my first benefit year expires?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYes, you can.Thanks!
How long does it take to get a response after filing a claim?
How do I apply for California unemployment benefits after being laid off if I am moving to another state to look for work?
How long do I have to wait to become eligible for unemployment benefits if I quit my job?
I was laid off Oct 20, 2019. Right now I am not interested in looking for a regular job and consider myself retired. If I get bored in a few months and want a job, can I start benefits later?
Is there an extension?
To get California unemployment benefits, you have to be unemployed by no fault of your own, a citizen of the United States, and meet certain past earning requirements. If you meet these requirements, go to the California Employment Development Department’s website and file your claim. Within 10 days, you should be contacted with a decision. If you are deemed eligible, continue documenting all the jobs you’re applying for, and submit a Continued Claim Form every two weeks to show that you still qualify for benefits.
- After EDD approves your benefits, you will be required to fill out a “Continued Claim Form" on a bi-weekly basis.These forms can be submitted via U.S. mail or online using the feature on the EDD website. For an example of a “Continued Claim Form,” click . The form will require you to submit information that demonstrates that you are able, available, and actively seeking suitable work. Submitting your Continued Claim Forms online will eliminate the mailing time, postage costs, and prevent any errors associated with filling out paper forms. As a result, you will receive your UI benefits faster.
- If you were denied unemployment insurance benefits, you should still submit Continued Claim Forms because if you win your appeal you will receive benefits for the prior weeks you were otherwise eligible. You will not receive these benefits if you do not submit these forms.
- Mondays, early mornings, and the days following a holiday are times of heaviest call volumes for filing an unemployment claim by phone.
- Employment history information must include accurate employment dates and earned wages. An application for California unemployment benefits not containing all required information could lead to delayed or denied benefits. In addition, if you intentionally provide EDD with false information for the purposes of obtaining benefits, you may face harsh monetary penalties and may be ineligible for future unemployment benefits.
Video: How to Apply for U.I Benefits - California Unemployment Insurance Benefit Claim
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