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Unemployment, formally known as “unemployment insurance,” is a combined federal-state program that provides unemployed individuals with income as they search for a new job. Unemployment benefits can be used for food, housing and clothing.

To receive unemployment in California, individuals must file a claim with the California Employment Development Department (EDD) via the internet, telephone, fax or mail.

The Employment Development Department (EDD) decides if the claimant is eligible to collect unemployment benefits by reviewing written statements and/or conducting telephone interviews. Information provided to the EDD may be independently verified. The base period is a 12-month period of earnings, divided into three-month quarters.

Eligibility requirements include:

Meeting minimum earning requirements.
Earned at least $1,300 in the highest quarter of your base period.
Earned at least $900 in the highest quarter of your base period and a total of at least 1.25 times the high quarter earnings.EDD: Eligibility
Being unemployed, as a result of circumstances beyond your control. Being fired for cause will generally disqualify you for unemployment.
Currently searching for work.
Keep records of dates and contacts you’ve made during your job search, in order to substantiate that you are actively looking for work.

The amount of benefits an individual can receive depends on his or her previous earnings. The maximum payout is 26 times the weekly benefit amount, or one-half of the individual’s base period wages, whichever is less.

To file a claim, you will need:

• Your legal name and Social Security number.
• Your driver’s license or ID card number.
• Gross earnings information.
• Previous employer’s name, address and phone number.
• Reason for unemployment.
• Last day of work.

There are several ways to contact the EDD and file an unemployment insurance claim.

Inside California