Meeting Eligibility Requirements

An individual who files for unemployment insurance 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 which means to be ready and willing to immediately accept work
  • Be actively looking for work
  • Meet eligibility requirements each week benefits are claimed
  • Be approved for training before training benefits can be paid
  • Wages to establish a claim

Employers report wages to the Department for each employee. The Department 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.

Reason an individual is unemployed

The reason an individual is out of work can affect his/her eligibility for benefits. A person who is laid off is out of work through no fault of his/her own. A person who quits work or is fired from work will be scheduled to a telephone interview because there is a separation issue that must be resolved. The Department 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 Department mails a notice to the claimant who is not eligible for benefits. The Department mails a notice to the employer who responded timely to the notice of claim filed. The notice advises the employer 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.

Individuals must meet eligibility requirements each week that they claim benefits

A person must be physically able to work, available for work and actively looking for work each week benefits are claimed. An individual must complete a claim form every two weeks, sign and date the form and return it to the Department for payment. If the information on the form shows that the individual did not meet eligibility requirements, the Department will schedule a telephone interview. Based on the information obtained, benefits may be reduced or denied. An individual who disagrees with our decision to reduce or deny benefits may file an appeal.

The information provided is reproduced from the California EDD website