What To Know Before Filing for Unemployment in California

Experiencing job loss is a frustrating situation. However, benefits can temporarily help your circumstances. If you’re thinking about filing for unemployment, here’s what you need to know before filing in California.


Before you start gathering information and filling out paperwork, it’s essential to know if you’re eligible to receive unemployment benefits. In California, you may be eligible for benefits if you received a W-2 and became unemployed because of furlough, layoffs, or reduced wages and hours. You must be out of work due to problems out of your control and through no fault of your own. This means that quitting doesn’t make you eligible for benefits.

Employment History

When filing your claim, you must compile information about all the employers you worked for during the past 18 months. Include names, addresses, dates of employment, work hours, gross earnings, and the reasons you no longer work at each of those places. This will help California’s Employment Development Department (EDD) track your previous employers.

Important Documents

Filing for unemployment is a lengthy process, especially if you don’t gather the right documents. The documents you need include but are not limited to:

  • Federal or state ID
  • Driver’s license
  • Social Security card
  • W-2 forms from employers
  • Contact information (address, phone number, email, et cetera)


Another thing to know before filing for unemployment in California is the disqualifications. An individual is not qualified for unemployment benefits if the EDD finds that they left their job voluntarily without good cause or that their most recent employer fired them for misconduct. However, the EDD makes the final decision on who receives benefits and who cannot.

Overpayment of Benefits

If the EDD approves your claim and gives you benefits, you must keep track of your payments and eligibility. Overpayment of benefits refers to a situation in which the EDD wants you to pay back benefits that they don’t think you were eligible to receive. However, if you think its claims are incorrect, you can appeal an EDD overpayment with the help of a lawyer.

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Written by Logan Voss

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