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Collecting Unemployment Benefits in California

In California, an employee who is temporarily out of work through no fault of his/her own can qualify to collect unemployment benefits. These affairs fall under the Unemployment Insurance Program which is run by the Employment Development Department.

The employee must meet the following requirements to be eligible for collecting unemployment benefits in California:

  • He/she must have earned more than a set amount in the past.
  • He/she must be totally or partially unemployed.
  • He/she must be unemployed through no fault of his own.
  • He/she must be physically able to work.
  • He/she must be available for work.
  • He/she must be ready and willing to accept work immediately.
  • He/she must actively look for a work.

Differences Between Regular Unemployment and COVID-19 Unemployment

A person is not required to be laid off in order to receive benefits due to the impact of COVID-19. Additionally, federal laws have changed in order to include those out of work due to the virus. Now, states can pay benefits in the following situations:

  • A person is unemployed as his employer temporarily ceasing operations due to virus.
  • A person has reduced hours at work due to the virus.
  • A person is quarantined with the expectation of returning to work after the quarantine is over.
  • A person has voluntarily left his work due to a risk of infection.
  • A person has voluntarily left his care for a family member.

What Is the Income Time Period That Unemployment Benefits Are Based Upon?

When the employee files for unemployment the Employment Development Department will examine his recent work history and wages. EDD will consider his earnings during a 1 year base period.

How Much Money Can a Person Get for a Reduction in Hours?

According to the Employment Development Department, the first $25 or 25 percent of employee’s wages, whichever is the greater amount, is not counted as wages earned and won’t be reduced from his UI weekly benefit amount.

Where Must a Person File for Unemployment Benefits in California?

The required information can be found here: Select “File & Manage a Claim” to apply for unemployment benefits. Through this link, a person can also learn about the appeals process, find current benefit amounts, eligibility requirements and more.

List of Required Documentation

A person will be required to provide his personal information and his:

  • The last employer information including company name, mailing address and physical location, phone number and supervisor’s name.
  • The last date worked in the company and the reasons for no longer working.
  • Gross earnings in the last week he worked, beginning with Sunday and ending with his last day of work.
  • Information on all employers he worked for during the past eighteen months, including name, dates of employment mailing address and physical location, gross wages earned, the hourly rate of pay, hours worked per week and the reason of no longer working.
  • Notice to Federal Employees About Unemployment Insurance (only for former federal employees.
  • DD 214 Member 4 copy (only for former military).
  • Citizenship status, and, if a person is not a U.S. citizen, information from his employment authorization document.

Get in touch with our employment law attorneys at KAASS Law for more information and Coronavirus (COVID-19) legal help.


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