Unemployment Benefits Coverage and Duration in California


After initially claiming benefits for unemployment in California, a petitioner will receive a determination letter from the Employment Development Department (EDD) explaining benefits coverage and duration. This letter will contain the beginning and ending date for CA unemployment benefits. It will also include total wages, weekly benefit amount and the maximum benefit amount. Weekly benefit amounts are determined by EDD after reviewing former employer information on wages earned. The unemployment benefits claim end date is 52 weeks from the beginning date. When claiming benefits for unemployment, petitioners can be awarded the weekly benefit amount maximum of 26 times. Unemployment benefits are meant to financially assist a claimant during the time he or she is unemployed and looking for new employment. An unemployment benefits extension is granted during times of high unemployment in California.The following sections further explain the unemployment benefits claim coverage and duration:

  • How to claim unemployment benefits in California
  • Unemployment benefits claim distribution in California
  • Partial unemployment benefits claim in California
  • Federal unemployment benefits extension in California
How to Claim Unemployment Benefits in California

Unemployed individuals often wonder how to claim unemployment benefits in CA, especially if they’ve never had to before. To claim unemployment benefits, a petitioner is required to file an application for EDD online, in person or over the phone. Claimants are required to certify for weekly benefits and meet eligibility requirements. Unemployment benefits claim amounts are determined based upon the total wages earned by an individual during an established base period. A California unemployment benefits claim is valid for up to one year. Claimants will receive up to the maximum benefit amount during this time period or until he or she becomes employed. California law stipulates that petitioners claiming benefits for unemployment serve a one week waiting period. The waiting period is unpaid and is the first week in his or her benefit year. California EDD offers several programs to help petitioners find new employment and reduce the time he or she is claiming benefits for unemployment. Re-employment services include resume and cover letter building, workshops and job boards.

Unemployment Benefits Claim Distribution in California

Benefits payments are distributed on a debit card issued by the Employment Development Department (EDD). Unemployment benefits claim payments can be transferred from the EDD issued debit card into the beneficiaries’ personal bank account. Debit cards can be used anywhere and beneficiaries can withdraw cash at ATMs. Checks for federal unemployment benefits are no longer distributed to beneficiaries. When claiming benefits for unemployment, beneficiaries are required to pay taxes on the benefits they receive. During tax season, the EDD will mail a summary of benefits paid, which is required when filing for federal income taxes. Beneficiaries of an unemployment benefits claim have the option to have federal taxes withheld from his or her benefits payments weekly. The EDD will report benefit payments to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

Partial Unemployment Benefits Claim in California

A California partial unemployment benefits claim is for applicants still employed earning less than his or her weekly benefit amount. Employees that have been laid off for two consecutive weeks or less are also eligible to claim unemployment benefits. Under these circumstances, a claimant is not required to search for work, as he or she is already employed. Petitioners may wonder how to claim unemployment benefits while still working. The current employer will distribute a form to the full-time employees the company wishes to retain on staff during the period of slow production. These workers are eligible for partial unemployment. The petitioner will complete the form and submit it to the EDD in order to receive partial unemployment benefits.

Federal Unemployment Benefits Extension in California

During periods of high unemployment, federal unemployment benefits will be extended to qualifying individuals. The CA federal unemployment benefits will be distributed to claimants who have collected all of their regular unemployment claim. The claimant will be notified by mail by the EDD when he or she is eligible for an unemployment benefits extension. California unemployment benefits extension works on a four tier system. Former employers are not mandated to pay for extended benefits, as the extension program is federally funded. ;Tier one and two have unemployment benefits extension up to 14 weeks. Tier three is up to nine weeks, and tier four is up to 10 weeks. Federal unemployment benefits amounts are equivalent to the regular benefit payment amount. California unemployment benefits extension payments will be distributed on the debit card distributed by the department.