File a Claim: Entertainment Industry

Before you file for unemployment, review the following. Even though the filing process is the same for entertainment industry employees, this information may help with reporting your employment and income.

Past Claims

If it’s been more than 30 days since you last certified for benefits, your Unemployment Insurance claim has become inactive. To continue receiving benefits, you must reopen your claim.

You can reopen your claim if it was filed within the last 52 weeks and you have not used all of your benefits. If your benefit year has ended, you may need to reapply for unemployment. Visit Benefit Year End for more information.


Be sure to include details about your last employer. We need information for every employer for the past 18 months. This helps establish the base period of your claim so you can receive the highest weekly benefit amount possible.

Last Day Worked

File your claim based on your last day of work. Your claim starts on the Sunday before the day you file. Your last day of work is the last day you physically worked, not when you were last paid.

Select the reason you are no longer working based on your situation. If you are not working because your contract ended, we consider you laid off. Select Laid Off/Lack of Work as the reason for separation. 

Residuals and Royalties

To list your last employer as residual pay, use the employer on record. This is usually a payroll company. If you're not sure, use the name of the company who issued your paycheck.

To learn how to report residuals and royalties using UI Online, view Report Entertainment Industry Earnings (YouTube). Also refer to Instructions for Reporting Residual Payments and Holding Fees (DE 4005) (PDF).

Loan Outs

If you are incorporated as a loan out, there is no difference in how you file your claim or how you report your income. We will review your claim and decide if you are eligible for benefits.

S Corps

If you are only an officer of an S Corp and were not employed by anyone else, you can list the S Corp as your last employer.

If you are an officer of an S Corp and also employed by your own S Corp — you receive payment for your services, not just for being an officer — you can list your employer one of two ways:

  • If your payroll company handles unemployment payments and responds to unemployment claims, list the payroll company as your employer.
  • If your payroll company does not respond to unemployment claims, list the S Corp as your employer.

As an employee of the S Corp, report any income from out-of-state companies as in-state income, since the company did not pay you directly.

Income and Earnings

You don't need to wait for your last check to file a claim. File as soon as you become unemployed. If you haven't received your last check and don't know how much you made, estimate what you expect to be paid based on the employment agreement or contract.

Flat Fees and Deferred Compensation

If you get a flat fee per service, report your earnings when you perform the service. For example, if you are paid $100 for a day, report the $100 in the week you did the work, even if you are not paid until later.

Report sick days, vacation days, and holiday pay when you are paid for them. These payments are only deductible income if they are paid while you have a definite return-to-work date. If your layoff is for an unknown period of time, this income is not deducted from your weekly benefit amount.

Income From Another State

If you worked out of state, you will need to file your claim by phone or mail. Make sure you mention that you earned wages in another state. We will let you know the best option for filing your claim to maximize your benefits.

Beginning January 1, 2020, Senate Bill 571 allows employers to send entertainment industry wages to California instead of keeping them in the state that they are earned in. This means you can collect unemployment in California from all of your wages if certain criteria are met.


Pensions are not deductible from a regular Unemployment Insurance claim if you contributed toward your pension or if the employer is not a base period employer. We may call you for more details to decide if the pension meets the requirement.