Register and Apply for Unemployment Insurance
Once you're eligible, your next step is to register and apply for unemployment.
Create an Account
It’s an important step to register for an online account with us. You can use our online services to report the information required for your unemployment claim.
Learn more about how to set up your UI OnlineSM account (PDF).
Get Your Information in Order
A little preparation goes a long way!
We launched ID.me, a safe and easy way to verify your identity in UI Online. When you file a new claim, you will be redirected to the ID.me site where you will take a selfie (personal photo) and upload a photo of your ID to verify your identity.
For more information, review Top Nine Reasons Your Document May Get Rejected (PDF).
If we need additional information to verify your identity, you will need to join a video call with ID.me and provide either:
- Two primary documents
- One primary and two secondary documents
ID.me primary documents include:
- Driver license (US or foreign)
- Passport or passport card (US or foreign)
- US Permanent Resident Card (I-551)
- Employment Authorization Card (I-766) issued by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services
- Certificate of Naturalization (Form N-550 or N-570)
- Federal or state ID
- Veteran health ID card
- Transportation Security Administration (TSA) ID Card
- Department of Homeland Security trusted traveler cards (Global Entry, NEXUS, SENTRI)
- National ID card (only if you live outside of the US)
- Homeland Security Presidential Directive 12 (HSPD-12) Personal Identity Verification card
ID.me secondary documents include:
- US health insurance card
- Social security card
- US birth certificate
- School documents (ID with photograph, school record, report card)
- US voter registration card
- US citizen ID card (Form I-197)
- Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty (DD214)
- National Guard Report of Separation and Record of Service (NGB Form 22)
- Foreign birth document
- Certificate of Birth Abroad (FS-545)
- Certification of Report of Birth (DS-1350)
- Consular Report of Birth Abroad (FS-240)
- Border crossing card
- Native American tribal document
- Tribal-issued photo ID card
- Canadian Indian and Northern Affairs card
- US Coast Guard merchant mariner card
If you are unable to verify your identity through ID.me when applying online, you will need to file a claim by phone, fax, or mail.
For help with the ID.me verification process, you can:
- Speak to an ID.me video agent 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, through your ID.me account.
- Visit ID.me Support and submit a request for help.
- Review How to Set Up and Protect Your ID.me Account (PDF).
Prepare to Apply
Timing is important. Waiting to apply can delay your benefits.
File for unemployment in the first week that you lose your job or have your hours reduced. Your claim begins the Sunday of the week you applied for unemployment. You can request to backdate your claim date to the week you became unemployed due to COVID-19.
If you filed for unemployment within the last 52 weeks and have not exhausted your benefits, you must reopen your claim to restart your benefits.
Benefit Year Ending Date
Your benefit year end date is 12 months after you filed your claim.
You can find your benefit year end date by logging in to UI OnlineSM and viewing your Claim Summary. Your benefit year end date is 12 months after the start of your Benefit Year.
You can also refer to your Notice of Unemployment Insurance Award (DE 429Z) for your claim ending date.
Important: If your benefit year has expired, you must apply for a new claim, even if you are on an extension. We will send you a notice telling you to apply for a new claim if you are still certifying for benefits. If you have an existing Pandemic Unemployment Assistance claim, you do not need to submit a new application.
Due to the impact of COVID-19, we made the following temporary exceptions for all unemployment claims until further notice:
- Waiting Period – The 7-day waiting period is waived for claims beginning on or after January 19, 2020. After you submit your first two-week continued certification, you will be paid for the first week of your claim.
- Work Search – You are not required to look for work each week to be eligible for benefits.
UI Online is the best way to file your claim. File online during the times listed below:
|Days of the Week||Available Time|
|Sunday||5 a.m. – 8:30 p.m.|
|Monday||4 a.m. – 10 p.m.|
|Tuesday – Friday||2 a.m. – 10 p.m.|
|Saturday||2 a.m. – 8 p.m.|
Note: To file a claim online, you must be at least 18 years old. If you are underage, you can file your claim by phone, fax, or mail.
Call us to file a claim at the following toll-free numbers, seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. (Pacific time) except on state holidays.
- English and Spanish 1-800-300-5616
- Cantonese 1-800-547-3506
- Mandarin 1-866-303-0706
- Vietnamese 1-800-547-2058
- TTY 1-800-815-9387
General Unemployment Questions or Technical Help with UI Online
If you have general questions or need help with account registration, password resets, your EDD Account Number, or how to use UI Online, contact us at 1-800-300-5616 from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. (Pacific time), seven days a week, except state holidays.
Unemployment Insurance Application
Use the paper Unemployment Insurance Application. Select one of the following that best describes your employment. If you have been affected by a disaster, complete the disaster section of the UI application.
- Worked in California English | Spanish
- Worked in California and Another State English | Spanish
- Served in the Military English | Spanish
- Worked for the Federal Government English | Spanish
Fax your application to the number listed on the form. You can contact your local America’s Job Center of California for help with faxing your paper application.
Tip: The fastest way to apply is through UI Online.
Mail your application to the address on the form and allow extra time for processing. You can contact your local America’s Job Center of CaliforniaSM for help with mailing your paper application.
There are important steps you must take so that your unemployment benefit payments are not delayed or denied. After you file, you will receive important documents from us within two weeks of filing for unemployment.
- Review these Important Next Steps – After You File a Claim for more information.
- Give us your eligibility information every two weeks.
This moves you into the next stage to Certify for Benefits.
Last Revised: 07/01/2020