California (CA) Unemployment Benefits

In California, as in every other state, employees who are temporarily out of work through no fault of their own may qualify to collect unemployment benefits.

If you quit your job voluntarily, without good cause, you won’t be eligible for unemployment benefits.

Eligibility for benefits requires that the claimant be able to work, available for work, be seeking work, and be willing to accept a suitable job.


How to qualify for unemployment benefits in California? #

In order to qualify for unemployment benefits, you must meet the following eligibility requirements:

  1. Have worked in the past 12 to 18 months.
  2. Have earned at least a minimum amount of wages as determined by the State’s guidelines.
  3. Be totally or partially unemployed.
  4. Be unemployed through no fault of your own.
  5. Be ready and willing to immediately accept work.
  6. Be actively looking for work.

As part of your work search, you should also register with CalJOBS where you can search a variety of job listings throughout the state.

To establish a valid claim, you must have earned:

  1. at least $1,300 in one quarter of your base period, or
  2. at least $900 in your highest quarter and total base period earnings of 1.25 times your high quarter earnings.

For example, if you has $900 earnings in the highest quarter, your total earnings in that base period must not be lower than $1,125 ($900 x 1.25 = $1,125).

How much do I get for unemployment in California? #

For claims beginning on or after January 1, 2020, weekly benefits range from $40 to a maximum of $450 and will last for up to 26 weeks only.

In order to qualify for the maximum amount of $450 per week, you must have earned at least $11,674.01 in the highest quarter.

How much unemployment will I get if I make $500 a week in California? #

If you earned a total of $500 per week ($6,000 per quarter), and are not receiving pay from for any other employer, your weekly unemployment benefits will be $231.

To see the amount you will be entitled to receive, you can review this chart to determine your quarterly wage during the base period and the corresponding weekly benefit amount.

Can I get more than 26 weeks of unemployment? #

California pays a maximum of 26 weeks of unemployment benefits, but additional weeks of payments, known as “Federal-State Extended Duration (Fed-ED) Benefit” may be granted during times of high unemployment.

Under Fed-ED, claimants who have exhausted their regular UI claim may be eligible to collect up to 13 additional weeks of compensation if a Fed-ED period is in effect.

Since Fed-ED period is currently not in effect in California, you can’t claim any benefits for more than 26 weeks.

How do I apply for unemployment benefits in California? #

You can apply for UI or reopen a UI claim online using UI Online or UI Online Mobile for smartphone and tablet users. If you are deemed eligible, the EDD will begin sending you your benefits checks.

If you wish to file your claim over the phone, please call UI Self-Service Phone Line at 1-866-333-4606. First time users will be asked to create a 4-digit PIN.

How long does it take to get first unemployment check in CA? #

If your claim is approved, it will take approximately two to three weeks to get your first unemployment check, as long as you submit all of the required information, and no follow-up is necessary.

After you have filed a claim, you must continue to certify for benefits and meet eligibility requirements each week in order to receive benefit payments.

How do I appeal unemployment denial in California? #

If you are denied benefits, you have the right to file an appeal with EDD in writing within 30 days and state the reasons why you disagree with the decision.

To do so, you’ll need to use Appeal Form (DE 1000M) to submit your appeal in writing to the return address shown on the decision notice.

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