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Unemployment Insurance Facts

Unemployment insurance (UI) provides up to a maximum of 26 weeks of UI benefits to workers who become unemployed through no fault of their own and other work is not available. It is an insurance program that is paid for entirely by the employer.

Types of claims

  • Regular California claims - for claimants who last worked in California in a job covered by the UI law.
  • Interstate claims - for claimants whose wages were earned in a state other than where the claimant is living. If the claimant worked in California but is now unemployed and living in another state, UI benefits may be claimed from California at employment security offices in other states.
  • California Training Benefits (CTB)/Training Extension (TE) claims - a program which allows eligible UI recipients to train for new occupations while receiving their UI benefits. Individuals approved for CTB/TE training do not have to look for work, be available for work or accept suitable work while attending training. The Training Extension aspect may provide benefits up to an additional 26 weeks (up to 52 times the claimant's weekly benefit amount.)

How are UI benefits determined?

The weekly UI benefit, called the weekly benefit amount, and the total amount of the claim, called the maximum benefit amount, are both based on the wages earned in the base period of the claim.

Each base period has four quarters (of three months each). The quarter in which the highest wages were paid to the claimant determines the weekly benefit amount which the claimant will receive.

The base period of a claim is a 12-month period determined by the month when the claim was filed.

Claims filed in:

Base period is the 12 months ending the previous:

January, February, March September 30
April, May, June December 31
July, August, September March 31
October, November, December June 30

The current minimum weekly benefit amount is $40; the maximum weekly benefit amount is $450. A claimant who qualifies for the maximum amount may be qualified to collect up to $11,700 in a 26-week period.

Fact Finding

The claimant's last employer is notified when a claim is filed and that employer has the right to protest the payment of UI benefits to the claimant. All employers who paid wages to the claimant during the base period of the claim are notified when the claimant receives his/her first UI benefit check. An employer is required by law to furnish the Employment Development Department (EDD) with all information which may affect the claimant's right to receive UI benefits.

Answers to the questions below help EDD determine eligibility

  1. Did the claimant quit his last job?
  2. Was the claimant discharged and, if so, why?
  3. Did the claimant have childcare?
  4. Is the claimant able to work during normal working hours?
  5. Is the claimant attending school during normal working hours?
  6. Is transportation a problem for the claimant?
  7. Is the claimant looking for work and accepting any suitable work offer?
  8. Is the claimant out of work due to a lockout or a strike?
  9. Has there been any refusal of work by the claimant?
  10. Did the claimant provide correct information to EDD as indicated on the claim form or did the claimant withhold information?
  11. Is the claimant a part time or per diem employee who is still on the employer's payroll? If so, has the claimant accepted all work offered and not limited his/her availability for work?

Important Information

Once the employer receives a claim, the CAHHS UI Division, as the employer's representative for unemployment insurance matters, has only 10 days from the mailing date of the claim from EDD to provide information to EDD. Upon receipt of a timely protest, EDD will issue a Determination to the UI Division, as the employer's representative. If the claimant is allowed UI benefits, our office has 20 calendar days to appeal. The appeal must be made in writing, stating the reasons why we disagree with EDD's Determination.

An appeal results in a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). Our office is notified of the date, time and place where the hearing will be held; we then provide that information to the designated employer contact. The assigned CAHHS professional appeals representative investigates the case thoroughly and prepares the appropriate employer witness(es) for the hearing. Witnesses should have direct, first hand knowledge regarding the matters about which they will testify (as opposed to hearsay knowledge). Hearings are informal but all testimony is taken under oath and is subject to cross-examination.

The Administrative Law Judge who heard the case will issue a Decision regarding the claimant's eligibility for UI benefits. The claimant, if denied benefits, may appeal to the California Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board within 20 days of the Decision's mailing date. Conversely, if the claimant is allowed benefits, CAHHS UI may appeal to the Appeals Board on behalf of the employer, with the employer's approval. If appealed, CAHHS UI will ask for a recording of the hearing from the Office of Appeals. Based on that recording, the CAHHS appeals representative will then prepare a written argument with the intent to persuade the Appeals Board that the ALJ has misinterpreted the facts of the case or that the ALJ has reached the wrong conclusion under UI law. The Decision from the Board, when issued, is the last step of the administrative process. (The losing side may take the case to the Superior Court for review, but this is rarely done.)