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7 Quick Tips For Applying For Unemployment Assistance In California

If you need to apply for unemployment assistance in California, you want to make sure you have all the important information regarding eligibility requirements and application procedures so you can efficiently access your benefits. The application requires very specific information that you will want to have on hand to expedite the process. Additionally, you need to complete certain requirements to maintain your eligibility and to continue to receive your benefits amount.

Applying for unemployment benefits can be stressful. has made applying much less challenging by compiling these seven easy tips to help you navigate the process:

Apply Immediately

Apply within one week of becoming unemployed. To receive maximum benefits in a timeframe that works for you, apply as soon as possible. Your benefits will only be effective from the date you apply, so there is no option for retroactive benefits if you have been unemployed for a while before you apply. Be sure to submit the application right away to maximize the assistance you can receive.

Some job seekers apply for an online degree after applying for unemployment assistance. Attaining an undergraduate or graduate degree will bring your skills up to date and increase your chances of finding a new job. It will also give you the opportunity to obtain jobs that offer higher salaries. A recent study from Georgetown University found that on average, college graduates earn $1 million more in earnings over their lifetime than individuals who did not attend college. This number increases for those with graduate degrees. Additionally, taking online classes is less time-consuming than taking in-person classes, so you can still look for jobs while getting your degree. Furthermore, enrolling in an online college in your state ensures you will get in-state tuition, allowing you to save money when investing in your future.

Other benefits of getting online degrees include: wide access to education for all people (including the disabled), convenience, improvement of technical and time management skills, personal and professional advancement, collaborative learning and experiencing diversity. The best online colleges are ranked based on the quality of their programs, the types of courses and degrees offered, faculty strengths, rankings and reputation for online degree programs. Here is a list of the top eight online colleges in California:

  1.  Azusa Pacific University
  2.  California Baptist University
  3.  Brandman University
  4.  The Tseng College California State University Northridge
  5.  California State University San Marcos
  6.  California State University East Bay
  7.  National University
  8.  Golden State University San Francisco

Each of these colleges offer a variety of degree programs for various skillsets as well as helpful services for students to use for free. Examples of these services include: librarian live chats, e book collections, scholarly article databases, online job boards, online academic advising, technical support, financial services, writing services, math tutoring, military services, disability services, online chapels and more. Be sure to do your research when deciding which online college to enroll in. Once you have committed to a university, visit the school’s website to learn how to enroll. Call the enrollment office for assistance. Once you are enrolled, pick a flexible schedule that still gives you enough time to look for a job. Remember that unemployment assistance is granted to help you find a new job, not re-invent yourself. Be sure to keep in mind that you still need to be looking for a job or working to maintain these benefits while getting your online degree.

Receiving Benefits

You have two options to receive benefits: direct deposit or ATM debit card. If you choose the direct deposit option, you will need to supply a voided check when applying. Having this ready and on hand when you submit your application will save you time during the process. You can avoid waiting to receive you checks or going through the hassle of having to deposit or cash them by opting for direct deposit of funds.

The Employment Development Department (EDD) debit card you receive will be valid for three years and can be used for various benefits programs, so be sure you hold onto the card throughout its validity period even if you stop receiving benefits at some point.

To get financial student aid for an online degree in conjunction with unemployment assistance, you will need to prove to the unemployment department that your class schedule will not interfere with your job hunt. The unemployment department will then determine if your situation qualifies you to receive both kinds of benefits. The only way to know if you qualify is to apply for both. You can also apply for university scholarships or take out student loans if you do not qualify for grant money.

Exclude Certain Jobs

Only include jobs you were let go from, because you cannot receive benefits for time unemployed after voluntarily leaving a position. If you were let go from any job through no fault of your own, you can apply for assistance while you look for new employment. Be sure to include all jobs where you faced this situation so the application process can go through smoothly.

If you quit or were fired from a previous job, you will have to complete a phone interview to discuss the details of that separation before a determination will be made regarding your eligibility. This does not necessarily prevent you from receiving benefits, but you will have to clarify any extenuating circumstances, which might make you ineligible.

Application Time

The application process takes between one and three hours to complete. Plan to complete your application when you can devote the required time, and choose a quiet space to complete your application. Prepare in advance and gather the following details you will need to complete the application:

  • Your full name and your Social Security Number (SSN)
  • Your full mailing address and contact information
  • Your driver’s license or ID card
  • Information about your last employer, including when you stopped working there and why
  • Information about all employers you worked for in the previous 18 months
  • Details on any additional payments you are receiving or expect to receive from a previous employer
  • Your current work search status, including your ability and availability to take on new work
  • Your citizenship or immigration status information to prove your legal ability to work in the United States

Log Your Search

You have to apply to CalJOBS, a job search platform, upon completion of your claim application. You should also keep an up-to-date log of the jobs you are applying to in order to qualify for continued benefits. Log the details of your search, including all of the following information:

  • The job(s) you applied for
  • Who the contact person was or the general inbox you submitted your application to
  • How you found the job listing(s)

If you are a registered union member and meet your union’s requirements, you meet the certification requirements for California UI and can check that box each time you recertify.

Resume Builder

Make sure that you have your resume on hand when applying to CalJOBS. It will be much quicker to upload an existing resume instead of entering in your work experience manually. If you do not have a resume, the CalJOBs website has a resume builder tool for you. You should have an updated resume on hand for your job search anyway, so this is the perfect time to make sure you have one ready to go.

Include all of your previous work experience in your resume to maximize your chances at getting a new job. Include relevant skills and any additional training or education you have undertaken to keep your skills current or to learn new skills. Make sure your dates worked are accurate and would be verified by the employer or by a reference you supply. As you continue to look for new work, be sure you update your resume as necessary to fit different job descriptions and application needs. Additionally, be sure to add any new skills you acquire during this period of unemployment.


Remember that you apply for benefits once every two weeks. Keep track of when you need to apply for your benefits in order to ensure that you always receive them in good time. In order to receive your full weekly benefits amount, you must certify that you were physically able, available and ready to accept any available work during that time period. If you were ill or injured, you cannot receive unemployment assistance for that time.

Each time you recertify, you have to confirm that you still meet the eligibility requirements in order to receive your benefits amount. If you do not manually recertify, you will not receive any benefits. The certification questions will cover your job search information, which is why you should log your details each week. You will also be asked about any training or education you are participating in, as well as any work you completed, whether paid or not. You can complete the certification online or by mail, but make sure you file within your allotted timeframe to avoid any disruption to your benefits receipt.