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Guide to California Unemployment

California’s unemployment insurance benefits program provides financial support to unemployed California workers who have lost jobs.

Losing a job is the last thing you want to happen to you, especially in this economy. However, if you become unemployed through no fault of your own, you may be eligible for unemployment benefits. Unemployment benefits in California are a weekly benefit amount between $40 and $450 that depends on your wage details three months before filing the claim.

To learn about eligibility, requirements, how to apply for unemployment benefits in California, and more, check out our article below.

Who Is Eligible for Unemployment Benefits in California?

Unemployment benefits in California are temporary financial aid given to those who have become jobless through no fault of their own. In particular, you must meet these California unemployment eligibility requirements:

  • You should be completely or partially unemployed, like having significantly reduced work hours.

  • You must have had enough earnings during the base period. This refers to a 12-month term used by the California Employment Development Department to determine if you’ve acquired enough wages to be able to file a claim. You should have earned at least $1,300 within a single quarter of your base period or a minimum of $900 in your highest quarter and 1.25 times your highest-paid quarter during the entire base period.

  • You must be unemployed through no fault of your own, for instance, due to a business shutdown or being urged to perform illegal work. 

  • You should be actively searching for work, be available, and be physically able to work. 

The unemployment insurance program only applies to those allowed to work in the United States. Quitting your job doesn’t also necessarily mean you’re eligible or not eligible for unemployment assistance. You must apply for a California unemployment claim and prove that you quit for a good cause. If you were fired due to misconduct, you won’t qualify for unemployment insurance benefits.

The federal government did introduce Pandemic Unemployment Assistance to help contractors and self-employed workers, as well as the benefit extension program, Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation. However, these have already ended. 

If you’ve lost your job because of a disaster and are not eligible for regular UI benefits, you can take advantage of Disaster Unemployment Assistance. However, these benefits are only possible when the United States president announces a major disaster. 

How To Apply for Unemployment Benefits in California

You can apply for California unemployment benefits online or by phone at 800-300-5616 or 800-326-8937. You can also apply for unemployment insurance by mail or fax. You must complete the Continued Claim form and mail it to the Employment Development Department (EDD).  

UI online makes it easier to file for an unemployment claim. You should upload a selfie and provide copies of your ID. You can present two primary IDs, like a passport and a driver’s license. You can have one primary and two secondary documents, like your birth certificate and Social Security card. 

You should also share information about your previous employer. This includes the company name, phone number, address, and supervisor’s name. In addition, you must indicate the last day you worked, the reason behind the unemployment, and your gross earnings in the last week of work.

Provide the same information on your employment history for the last 18 months, including your gross earnings. In addition, federal employees during the last 18 months must provide information from “Notice to Federal Employees About Unemployment Insurance.” 

The EDD ensures that your personal information is well-protected and that all confidential information is encrypted. Furthermore, the Department of Labor-Office of Inspector General and FBI will help investigate fraud cases. Gov. Gavin Newsom also approved laws that would help reduce fraudulent claims.

Once the EDD receives your application for state unemployment benefits, it will give you a Notice of Unemployment Insurance Award. Hence, you’ll know the amount of unemployment benefit you’ll receive should you be one of those eligible workers.  

How Is the Weekly Benefit Amount Calculated in California?

The amount of unemployment insurance you’ll get per week depends on your wages during the recent 12-month period. It could range from $40 to $450. This is about half of your weekly earnings. EDD provides a UI calculator to help you determine how much you’re qualified to receive.

The benefits will last for 26 weeks, given that you don’t get a new job before that period that lets you earn more than what you’re getting with unemployment insurance. 

If you still haven’t found a new job after maximizing the benefits, you must file a new claim. However, within one quarter, you should have met the eligibility requirements, such as the $1,300 minimum. Thus, you must have had a temporary job during those unemployment weeks to be eligible to file for another set of benefits.

Receiving Payments

You usually must wait four weeks or more to receive unemployment benefits. After that, you will receive an EDD debit card mailed by Bank of America. Valid for three years, this card is used for UI benefits and state disability insurance, including paid family leave and disability insurance. Temporary disability benefits vary according to your length of stay in a company.   

Can You Receive Unemployment Benefits in California While Working Part-Time?

Whether you work in San Francisco or other California cities, you can work part-time and still be eligible to receive unemployment compensation. However, your earnings will be deducted from your weekly unemployment benefits. So, for example, if you earn $60 in your part-time work and get $200 in unemployment insurance, you’ll only receive $140 in UI benefits for the week. 

Moreover, you can pause your UI benefits while you have temporary work. Then, once that job is finished, you can resume it, given that you haven’t exceeded one year since the beginning of your unemployment insurance claim.

If you’re undergoing training or attending school while receiving regular UI, you can take advantage of California training benefits. 

California Employers Who Should Have Unemployment Insurance

Employers should pay UI tax for employees for whom they have paid over $100 within three months. The tax includes the first $7,000 of the workers’ wages. The rate varies according to unemployment insurance claims. It could be between 1.5% and 6.2%. New employers will have 3.4%.

Agricultural employers, non-profit agencies, families with a domestic worker earning at least $1,000 in one quarter, state and local government, and federal agencies are also required to participate in the UI program.

Final Thoughts

Eligible unemployed workers in California can get a maximum payment benefit of $450, depending on their wage information. Want to get expert help and ensure you receive the compensation you deserve? Contact us today.

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