COVID-19 has changed the rules for filing for unemployment in California. New exceptions are being made, which means more residents are eligible for California unemployment than ever before. If your paycheck has been affected for any of the following reasons, you can apply for unemployment insurance: 

    • Reduced hours due to COVID-19
    • Furloughed
    • Laid-off
    • Start date for employment has been postponed indefinitely

You are not alone in this matter. In the past two months, the California Employment Development Department (EDD) has processed 4.7 million claims, with even more waiting to be approved. 

With so many people filing for unemployment, the system is overloaded and it’s hard to get any questions you may have answered. Reaching someone in the EDD office by telephone is a near impossibility, so the pressure is on to file correctly. 

Here is how to correctly file your unemployment claim in California:  

1. Go to the EDD website

2. Click “Claims

3. Scroll down to “Unemployment Insurance” and click the second bullet point: “File a New UI Claim

4. Before continuing, note the COVID-19 Temporary Exceptions for California Unemployment Claims:

Due to the impact of COVID-19, we made the following temporary exceptions for all Unemployment Insurance claims until further notice:

    • Waiting Period – The 7-day waiting period is waived for claims beginning on or after January 19, 2020. After you submit your first two-week continued certification, you will be paid for the first week of your claim.
    • Work Search – You are not required to look for work each week to be eligible for benefits.

5. You need to file your claim in the first week you have lost your job, had your start date pushed back or had your hours reduced. If you have not filed a claim within the last 52 weeks, continue with the below. If you have filed an unemployment claim in the last 52 weeks, you can reopen your claim if you have not yet exhausted your benefits.

6. Gather your personal information before filing your claim.

According to the EDD website, you will need to provide the following:

      • Last employer information including company name, supervisor’s name, address (mailing and physical location) and phone number.
      • Last date worked and the reason you are no longer working.
      • Gross earnings in the last week you worked, beginning with Sunday and ending with your last day of work.
      • Information on all employers you worked for during the past 18 months, including name, address (mailing and physical location), the dates of employment, gross wages earned, hours worked per week, hourly rate of pay, and the reason you are no longer working.
      • Notice to Federal Employees About Unemployment Insurance, Standard Form 8 (former federal employees only).
      • DD 214 Member 4 copy (ex-military only).
      • Citizenship status, and, if you are not a U.S. citizen, information from your employment authorization document.

7. Once you have the above, continue on to UI Online to log in or register for California’s benefit programs online.

8. Click “Benefits Programs Online” in the blue box.

9. Navigate to the Access Benefit Programs Online header and click the blue box that says “Log In or Register” to apply for Unemployment Insurance (UI) or Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) benefits, reopen an existing claim, and manage your claim.

10. Scroll down to the login section and enter the email address associated with your benefits account. Remember to answer the Security check questions then hit the “Log In” button.

11. The next page will show you your personal image and prompt you to input your password. Once you have done so, click “Log In” again.

12. You will be provided three options – UI Online, SDI Online, and Benefits Overpayment – selects the first option “UI Online”

13. This will bring you to your UI account online homepage. From here you can either create a new claim, or certify for benefits for your existing claim. Both processes will ask you a series of questions. Be sure to answer these questions accurately, as once you have submitted your response, it is difficult to go back.

Having Trouble?

If you are still having trouble with filing your unemployment claim, you can troubleshoot your unique roadblocks here.

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