Unemployment Insurance Benefits in California


You can claim unemployment benefits in California when you have lost your job through no fault of your own. The process regarding how to claim unemployment benefits is overseen by the Employment Development Department (EDD) in CA. There are different federal unemployment benefit programs offered to those recently out of work. Find out which unemployment benefits claims are available to you, so you can receive financial aid while searching for new job opportunities. Continue reading this page for more information about unemployment insurance benefits in CA, along with additional benefits that may be available during your time in need.

About Unemployment Insurance Benefits in California

If you are eligible to claim unemployment benefits in California, then you will receive a weekly monetary payment for a certain number of months while you are unemployed. While you are claiming benefits for unemployment, the length of your benefits and how much you receive will depend on how many hours you worked in the last base line period, and how much money you made at your last job. In some circumstances, you may request an unemployment benefits extension – for example, if you are a worker who is unemployed in California during a period of high unemployment and all regular unemployment insurance benefits have been exhausted.

The unemployment benefits extension program can provide a number of additional weeks of benefits when the state is experiencing unusually high unemployment. To keep receiving your weekly UI benefits, you must file weekly certifications. This information lets the EDD know that you are actively looking for work, that you did not work or make enough money in the previous week and that you did not yet find another job. You must complete and submit claims on time every week to continue receiving your benefits. To learn more about how to claim unemployment benefits, download our comprehensive guide.

Other Types of Federal Unemployment Benefits in California

After you learn how to apply for unemployment, there are some other unemployment benefits that you may be eligible for in California. Those filing unemployment claims are encouraged to take care of other state benefit programs in order to seek out work and to learn the skills needed to become financially independent, once again.

  • The California Training Benefits (CTB) Program – If you are claiming benefits for unemployment, you may also qualify for CBT if you need to upgrade your skillset, raise your qualifications or learn a new trade. If you are eligible to claim this unemployment benefit, then you will be able to continue receiving your Unemployment Insurance (UI) while you are attending training or re-training programs, instead of actively seeking, and being available for, work.
  • The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) – If you are claiming benefits for unemployment, then you may qualify for COBRA. This unemployment benefit allows workers and their families to continue their group health coverage, for a certain period of time, when they have become involuntarily unemployed. If you wish to claim this benefit for unemployment; your health plan must already be covered by COBRA; you must have lost your job or be experiencing a reduction in the hours you work, and you must also be a COBRA beneficiary for such an event. If you are not sure if you qualify for this benefit, contact your COBRA representative.
  • Disability Insurance in California – In some circumstances, you may be able to claim unemployment benefits while you are also claiming disability insurance. This type of unemployment benefit is designed to protect your family and you from financial difficulties when you are unable to work due to an injury or illness. There are two main types of disability policies; long-term and short-term. Short-term can last up to two years, while long-term can last for your whole life. Both programs are administered by Social Security Administration (SSA).
  • California CalWORKs (TANF) – While you are claiming benefits for unemployment, you may also be eligible for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), which in California, is known as CalWORKs. Depending on the federal unemployment benefits you are receiving, you may also qualify for help with purchasing food, the cost of your rent or mortgage, your home utilities bills, and childcare. If you allowed to claim benefits for unemployment and CalWORKs, then in addition to your UI, you will also receive a monthly cash benefit payment. As long as you continue to meet the requirements, you may receive this benefit for a maximum of 48 months. This is, however, a lifetime limit, which means if you receive CalWORKs for eight months and lose your eligibility, then you will only have 40 months left next time you request cash assistance.
  • California CalFresh – If you qualify for benefits for unemployment, then you may also be eligible to learn how to apply for CalFresh; the state of California’s version of the federal program nationally known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP. If you are claiming unemployment benefits and CalFresh, as well as your unemployment benefits, you will also receive a monthly allowance to spend on food for your household. It will be given to you in the form of an Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) card. The amount you will get each month in your EBT account will depend on your income and the size of your family.

To learn more about claiming benefits for unemployment and the programs for which you might qualify, download our comprehensive guide.

What Kind of Employment Development Services Are Available in California?

If you are currently unemployed and need help finding a job, the state of California offers unemployment benefits to eligible applicants, in order to help them get by while pursuing work. In addition to financial assistance, the Employment Development Division of California also offers training benefits, which allow unemployed individuals to learn new skills and get a higher education so that they can earn a better living. Find out more about these employment services by downloading our guide.

What Education Assistance Is Available in California?

Just as unemployed individuals can benefit from services offered by the state, so too can college students. California students can qualify for financial aid from the government, such as loans and grants, which can help them cover the costs of higher education. Find out how you can get financial assistance for your schooling by downloading our guide.