Eligibility for Unemployment Insurance in California


Unemployed individuals in California can claim unemployment insurance benefits if they meet all eligibility requirements. There is a range of qualifications for unemployment in CA that must be met on a weekly basis in order to certify for benefits. The Employment Development Department (EDD) handles each application on a case by case basis. Weekly benefit amounts range for each individual and are calculated by the Department. When an applicant is receiving approved training, he or she must report school attendance to the EDD, as this will affect eligibility for unemployment. An applicant who quits or is fired from his or her employer will be required to partake in a phone interview in order to determine unemployment insurance eligibility. For more information on eligibility requirements read the following sections:

  • What are the requirements to get unemployment in California?
  • Who qualifies for unemployment in California?
  • Eligibility for EDD in California
What are the Requirements to get Unemployment in California?

To qualify for California unemployment insurance benefits, an applicant must be unemployed due to no fault of his or her own. Eligibility for EDD stipulates that the applicant must be able to accept any offer of work they are qualified to perform. The applicant must be either partially or totally unemployed. Partial unemployment is when the employee is working less than his or her usual hours per week. Total unemployment is when the former employee is no longer conducting work for his or her previous employer. The CA unemployment insurance applicant must be looking for work and conducting re-employment activities. This would include applying for jobs, making work contacts, and following up with applications. Employers are required to report employee wages to the EDD, which are used to determine if an applicant received a sufficient amount of wages during a base period to meet qualifications for unemployment. The base period consists of a prior 12-month period. One final factor to consider in eligibility for EDD would be any approved training. While in approved training, determined by the California Training Benefits Program, a claimant is not required to look for or accept work. Approved training entails an individual seeking to increase his or her job opportunities by enrolling in a training program.

Who Qualifies for Unemployment in California?

The EDD determines eligibility for unemployment in California. When a claimant applies for benefits, he or she must meet some qualifications for unemployment. The qualifications would include being physically capable of working and being available to work. He or she must also be ready to accept work when offered. The UI petitioner is required to actively seek and report work to the California EDD. He or she must look for work each week. When a claimant does not meet the eligibility for EDD, a phone interview is scheduled. The interview may determine to reduce or deny benefits based on certification information. When a UI petitioner does not agree with the decision to deny or reduce benefits, he or she can file an appeal. Getting fired or quitting a job would be considered a separation issue. When this happens, an EDD interviewer will first conduct a phone interview with the UI applicant. He or she will then collect documents and information from the former employer and unemployment applicant. After this fact-finding exercise, he or she will come to a decision in accordance with state and federal laws and regulations. The EDD interviewer will notify the claimant. When it is found that the unemployed applicant is eligible, the former employer will also receive notice. The former employer’s account is responsible for supplying unemployment insurance benefits to the previous employee. An appeal can be filed by the previous employer or employee if they do not agree with the Employment Development Department’s eligibility decision.

Eligibility for EDD in California

Some petitioners may be unsure about how to qualify for unemployment in California. After filing an unemployment claim, a candidate must certify for benefits every week in order to receive payments and stay eligible. An unemployment claimant will be informed by the EDD when he or she has weeks available for certification online or by mail. A UI claimant is required to certify benefits by the due date to receive benefit payments. Once the certification is complete, eligibility for EDD is determined. The certification process is normally completed every two weeks. A UI petitioner can file for unemployment insurance benefits online or by filling out a paper Continued Claim Form. Once the form has been submitted and eligibility has been determined, payment will be distributed to the unemployed party.