An individual must meet all unemployment insurance (UI) eligibility requirements in order to receive benefit payments. Eligibility requirements must be met when a UI claim is filed and whenever a certification is submitted before benefits can be paid by the Employment Development Department (EDD).

Filing a UI Claim

An individual who files for UI benefits must meet specific eligibility requirements before benefits can be paid. Individuals must:

  • Have received enough wages during the base period to establish a claim.*
  • Be totally or partially unemployed.
  • Be unemployed through no fault of his/her own.
  • Be physically able to work.
  • Be available for work.
  • Be ready and willing to immediately accept work.
  • Be actively looking for work.
  • Be approved for training before training benefits can be paid.

*Employers report wages to the EDD for each employee. The EDD uses this information to decide if an individual earned enough wages in a base period to establish a UI claim. A base period is a specific 12-month period. For example, if a claimant files a claim that begins in April, May, or June, the claim is calculated based on wages paid to the claimant between January 1 and December 31 of the prior year.

The minimum weekly benefit amount is $40 and the maximum weekly benefit amount is $450. For more information about how the Department calculates a UI claim, review, How Unemployment Benefits are Computed (DE 8714AB), A Guide to Benefits and Employment Services (DE 1275A), and the California Employer’s Guide (DE 44).

Certifying for UI Benefits

An individual must meet eligibility requirements each week that they certify for benefits. Individuals must be:

  • Physically able to work.
  • Available for work.
  • Ready and willing to immediately accept work.
  • Actively looking for work each week benefits are claimed.

An individual must certify for benefits by submitting a certification online, over the phone, or by mail. If the information on the certification shows that the individual did not meet eligibility requirements, the EDD will schedule a phone interview. Based on the information obtained, benefits may be reduced or denied. An individual who disagrees with the EDD’s decision to reduce or deny benefits may file an appeal.

Visit the Resources for Job Seekers to learn more about services the EDD provides to job seekers.

Quitting or Getting Fired

An individual who quits their job or is fired from work will be scheduled for a phone interview because there is a separation issue that must be resolved. The EDD interviewer obtains and documents information about the separation from the employer and claimant and decides, according to law and regulations, if the person is eligible to collect benefits. The EDD mails a notice to the claimant if they are not eligible for benefits. If the employer responded timely to the notice of claim filed, the EDD will mail another notice about whether the claimant is eligible or not, and whether the employer’s account will be charged for benefits paid to the former employee. Either party can disagree with an unfavorable decision and file an appeal.

Approved Training

Individuals interested in enrolling in training to increase their job opportunities should review the following:

  • California Training Benefits Program Fact Sheet (DE 8714U)
  • Tips for Qualifying for the California Training Benefits Program (DE 2332)
  • Find Training – Resources for Job Seekers

Claimants who receive UI benefits must report any school attendance to the EDD in the week when school begins. Claimants attending a training course approved under the California Training Benefits Program are not required to look for work, be available for work, or accept work while in training.

More Information About UI:

  • Filing a Claim – Claim Process: A step-by-step explanation of what happens when an individual files a UI claim. Included are the actions the EDD must take to resolve an eligibility issue.
  • Benefit Determination Guide: Presents discussions about unemployment insurance law based on state and federal regulations.
  • Frequently Asked Questions: Provides answers to frequently asked questions about UI eligibility.
  • After you Filed – Telephone Interview: Provides information about what you can expect when the EDD conducts an interview about eligibility issues.