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Need Unemployment Benefits?

The California Employment Development Department (EDD) provides a variety of support services to individuals affected by COVID-19 in California.

Unemployment Benefits (UI)

If you are subject to quarantine, are not ill, and are not found eligible for a Disability Insurance claim apply for UI benefits if you are unemployed for reasons such as:

· Your hours are reduced due to the quarantine.

· You were separated from your employer during the quarantine.

· You are subject to a quarantine required by a medical professional or state or local health officer.

You can be eligible for benefits if you have enough earnings over the past 12-18 months and meet other eligibility criteria.

EDD representatives may need to set up a phone interview with you to collect more details.

If you are temporarily out of work and plan to return to the same employer, you do not need to meet the usual requirement of looking for work while you are collecting unemployment benefits. The EDD will inform you if you are not required to look for work each week.

If you are not connected to a certain employer with a job to return to, you are required to look for work while collecting benefits. Looking for work can be done from home including using online channels, mailing job applications, calling about job openings, registering in CalJOBSSM (the state’s online labor exchange system), etc. The EDD will inform you if you are required to look for work each week.

If you are eligible, the EDD processes and issues payments within a few weeks of receiving a claim.

Disability Insurance Benefits (DI)

DI provides short-term benefit payments to eligible workers who have a full or partial loss of wages due to a non-work-related illness, injury, or pregnancy. Most California workers are covered by DI through deductions from their paychecks (noted as “CASDI” on most paystubs). If you’re unable to work due to having or being exposed to COVID-19, you are encouraged to file a Disability Insurance (DI) claim.

If you are eligible, the EDD processes and issues payments within a few weeks of receiving a claim.


One bright spot is the Governor’s Executive Order which waives the one-week unpaid waiting period, so you can collect UI and DI benefits for the first week you are out of work.


The available benefits are insurance programs. To be eligible, either you or an employer had to make contributions in the past 5 to 18 months. It is possible these contributions were made at a prior job, or if you were misclassified as an independent contractor instead of an employee. We encourage you to apply for the benefit program that is most appropriate for your situation. Visit Self-Employed/Independent Contractor to learn more.


Potential Closure or Layoffs

If COVID-19 has impacted your business or services, you can avoid potential layoffs by participating in the Unemployment Insurance (UI) Work Sharing Program. This program allows you to retain your workers by reducing their hours and wages no more than 60 percent and partially offsetting the wage loss with UI benefits. This helps you avoid the cost of recruiting, hiring, and training new workers and helps your workers keep their jobs and receive some financial support with UI benefits. You and your workers can also be prepared to quickly adjust when business improves.

Employers planning a closure or major layoffs as a result of the coronavirus can get help through the Rapid Response program. Rapid Response teams will meet with you to discuss your needs, help avert potential layoffs, and provide immediate on-site services to assist workers facing job losses. For more information, refer to the Rapid Response Services for Businesses Fact Sheet (DE 87144RRB) (PDF) or contact your local America’s Job Center of California.

Visit the EDD’s Coronavirus 2019 FAQs for additional details, information and answers to specific questions you may have about COVID-19 and what programs and benefits may be available to you.

For faster and more convenient access to those services, we encourage the use of their online options.


The Department of Labor’s CareerOneStop site has a helpful tool where you can look up each state’s direct unemployment website and contact information.

If you need assistance managing through this unparalled time, Contact Rothmeyer | Rothmeyer. We stand ready to help.

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