Coronavirus (COVID-19) FAQs
We are experiencing a high call volume and longer wait times on our phone lines. We appreciate your patience and understand you have questions. To help, we’re featuring the most frequently asked questions to our call center. For specific questions about your claim, log in to UI OnlineSM and select Contact Us at the top of the homepage.
Top FAQs of the Week
The extra $600 that was automatically added to your unemployment or Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) benefits each week will end July 25, 2020. Unless the federal government extends the $600 payments, we cannot pay the extra amount for any weeks after July 25, 2020. Any unemployment benefits through July 25 will still be eligible for the extra $600, even if you are paid later.
For unemployment payments after July 25, you will only receive your weekly benefit amount based on your past wages or self-employment income. Unemployment Insurance weekly benefit amounts range from $40 - $450. PUA benefits range from $167 - $450 each week.
If you are a parent or guardian, you may be eligible for unemployment benefits if you must miss work to care for your child. Apply for benefits through UI OnlineSM, and EDD representatives will determine eligibility on a case-by-case basis. You will receive a notice in the mail if we need to schedule a phone interview with you for more information and possibly contact your employer.
If you quit your job because you have no other options for child care, you may qualify for benefits. We are required by law to determine if you have “good cause” for quitting before determining your eligibility because generally you must be able and available to work.
If your employer has temporarily allowed you to work part time because of a child care situation, you may be eligible for reduced unemployment benefits. It will depend on your weekly earnings and if you meet all other eligibility requirements.
The first $25 or 25 percent of your income (whichever is greater) will not be deducted.
For example, if you earned $75 in a week, we will deduct $50 from your weekly payment because the first $25 does not apply. If you earned $400 in a week, we will deduct $300 from your weekly payment because the first $100 (25 percent) does not apply.
You can reopen an unemployment claim online, by phone, or by mail. The best way to reopen a claim is by logging in to your Benefits Program Online account and using UI OnlineSM. View UI Online: Reopen your claim (YouTube) to learn more.
Reopening a claim online is a shorter process than the original application for benefits. In most cases, we can automatically reopen a claim within a few days to a week.
You must be able to and available for work to collect benefits. If you don’t meet this requirement, we will follow up with you to see if you’re eligible. Once your claim is reopened, you must certify every two weeks to receive benefits.
Certifying is answering basic questions every two weeks that tells us you’re still unemployed and eligible to continue receiving payments. It is required to receive unemployment.
We have video tutorials in four different languages to help you complete this legally required step. These videos will also help make sure you keep collecting unemployment benefits.
Note: If you have not looked for work, you will not be penalized. You will be paid benefits for that week if you meet all other eligibility requirements.
For more information, and to learn how to start certifying, refer to Step 2 in Unemployment Claims.
Your claim can be delayed if you answer questions incorrectly or do not answer our calls when we try to contact you. The following are some examples:
- Too sick to work: The first question on your certification form asks, “Were you too sick or injured to work?” Answer the question based on your own health and availability to work. You must be well enough to work every day of the week to collect unemployment benefits. We noticed some people answered “yes” for the whole week, which would disqualify them for benefits. When we followed up, they confirmed they weren’t sick themselves, but rather people are sick due to the coronavirus.
- Able and Available: The second question asks, “Was there any reason (other than sickness or injury) that you could not have accepted full-time work each workday?” You must be available for work to collect benefits. Being available means you are ready and willing to accept work even though businesses may still be closed because of COVID-19. If you are otherwise able and available to work, you should answer “no” to this question.
If you are not available or willing to accept suitable work, you could be disqualified for benefits, unless you have good cause. Some examples of good cause are having no childcare (and you have tried other alternatives including asking for a different work schedule), being over 65, or having a serious health condition (PDF).
- Not answering EDD calls: If there is an eligibility issue on your certification, we may have to schedule a determination interview with you. You will be notified of the date and time by mail and receive sample questions we may ask. Be ready to accept a call during the time listed on the notice. Since the call is coming from a government phone number, it may show as restricted on your phone. We will identify ourselves as an EDD representative, provide our reason for calling, and will know your customer account number.
Some of the most common status updates are:
- Paid – You met all eligibility requirements for receiving payment.
- Pending – There may be an issue with your responses to the certification questions. We must review your certification.
- Disqualified – You are not eligible for payment for this week. You will receive a Notice of Determination in the mail that will explain the reason and information to appeal if you disagree with the disqualification.
- Excessive Earnings – No benefits are paid for this week because your reported earnings, after the first $25 or 25 percent, are more than your weekly benefit amount.
- False Statement Penalty Week – No benefits are paid because this week will be applied to a false statement penalty. The penalty was most likely based on past unemployment. For example, if you returned to work but did not notify the EDD and continued to collect benefits at the same time. For more information, visit Overpayments and Penalties.
Make sure you:
- Enter your Social Security number and date of birth correctly.
- Use the name you would enter for a Social Security card or driver license. We compare the information you give on your application to the DMV and the Social Security Administration. If it doesn’t match, your claim will go through a manual identity verification process which takes extra time to confirm who you are.
- Do not answer “None of these apply” when asked why you are unemployed. You must meet a specific COVID-related reason for your unemployment or reduced hours before we can pay benefits. There are several reasons to choose from, including if your place of business has closed because of COVID-19 or the pandemic has severely limited your ability to perform your usual work.
Find out if you’re eligible for Unemployment Insurance (UI) and get answers to common questions about claims.Visit UI FAQs
If you don’t qualify for regular Unemployment Insurance, you may be eligible for the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program.Visit PUA FAQs
Learn what benefits are available if you are sick or caring for a family member.Visit DI/PFL FAQs
Get information about the temporary suspensions to the WARN Act and what EDD services can help navigate your business operations.Visit Employer FAQs
Still Need Help?
Refer to the Unemployment Guide to learn what benefits are available, how to apply, and what to expect after applying.
Contact Us if you need general or technical support, or to get help with your UI claim.