Avoid Unemployment Insurance Payment Delays, Overpayments, and Penalties

After you file for unemployment insurance benefits, you must provide the EDD with eligibility information every two weeks to receive benefits. This is known as certifying for benefits. If you think you made an error after submitting your certification, Contact UI immediately.

Review your answers.
Make sure they are complete and accurate before submitting your certifications. If you are not sure how to answer a question, visit Understanding the Continued Claim Certification Questions.

If you are using UI OnlineSM, access the Help feature for additional instructions.

Complete and sign your form.
If you mail an incomplete or unsigned form to the EDD, we will reissue a Continued Claim Form (DE 4581CTO) (PDF) with a message explaining why the original form could not be processed. To avoid sending an incomplete or unsigned form, certify through UI Online or call EDD Tele-CertSM at 1-866-333-4606.

If your certification is submitted late, you will receive a phone interview and possible denial of unemployment insurance benefit payments. If you mail your certification early, your payment could be delayed. The EDD will reissue a Continued Claim Form (DE 4581CTO) (PDF).

To submit your certification faster, use one of the following:

If you are certifying by mail, submit your certification within 14 days of the Complete and Mail This Form On date displayed above Question 1 on the claim form.

Failure to properly report work, wages, and other income can result in overpayments and penalties. To avoid overpayments or penalties, follow these guidelines:

  • Report gross wages for full-time and part-time work during the week you worked, not the week you were paid. Gross wages are all earnings or income before taxes or any other deductions.
  • Report all other types of gross income you receive. This can include vacation pay, severance pay, residuals, commissions, bonuses, etc.
  • If you report earnings from self-employment or independent contractor work, you can report net earnings.

For more information on reporting your wages and other income using UI Online, view UI Online Videos.

For instructions on how to complete the paper form, visit the How to Report Work and Wages and FAQs - Reporting Work and Wages.

To be eligible for benefits, most people are required to conduct a reasonable effort to search for suitable work. We recommend you keep a record of your work search dates and employer contact information for future use and potential eligibility interviews.

For more information on job opportunities and training, visit America’s Job Center of CaliforniaSM.

To receive unemployment insurance benefits, you must be able, available, and willing to accept suitable work. If you are not able to meet these requirements, you can be denied benefits. The EDD will review your individual circumstances and make an eligibility decision based on current state and federal laws.

Physically able to work
If you are too ill or injured to work, list the number of days for each week you cannot work when certifying for continuing benefits.

If you are not eligible for unemployment insurance benefits because you are sick or injured, you can file a claim with California’s State Disability Insurance (SDI) program.

Available to work
If you are not available, your eligibility can be impacted. Common reasons you may not be available to work include vacation, caring for an ill family member, lack of childcare, transportation, etc. 

Accept suitable work
Suitable work means work that matches your occupational skills and/or education. If you refuse to accept suitable work, your benefit payments could be delayed or denied.

We track new hires, rehires, and benefit payments that match new employment records. Report your return to work immediately to avoid overpayments and penalties.

If you are only working part-time or are on-call, you may be eligible for reduced unemployment insurance benefits. If you no longer need benefits, Contact UI or simply stop submitting your certifications.