How to File for Unemployment Claims in California

During turbulent times, business health may collapse even under the strongest economic condition in places like California. If you are also an American who laid off or lost the job due to the global Covid-19 outbreak, then it is better to file for unemployment in California.  It is the ultimate financial solution till the time you find another source of income.

So, if you are among the unemployeds and actively looking for a job to make living easier in this crisis period of Coronavirus, the article is for you. Here, all the details regarding how to file for unemployment and how much benefit California provides to it, etc., are mentioned below.

Let’s dive deeper to check those points.


What To Be Done After Laying Off From a Job in California?

If your current company got the notice of immediate lockdown as per government orders to fight Covid-19 crisis, and there’s no option left but laying off, here is what you must do:

Firstly, make sure to stay in the job after knowing about your company’s shutdown notice or when you are laid off. Quiting the job at this moment will only cause you money trouble. Also, you lose the facility of applying for unemployment benefits.

Your initial move shall be to consult with your supervisor regarding the complete details of the layoff process and how your company policy will manage it. According to some companies, they offer benefits or severance payouts till a particular time period. However, this policy is not usually considered unless the company where you work is about to close permanently.

But, according to the law of California (WARN) i.e. Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification, employers are bound to offer a 60-days prior notice to the employees before processing layoffs under grave circumstances. The advanced notice is for the good of the employees to make them aware of the layoff and give them some time to prepare for the job transition.

You must gather all the data related to the layoff process beforehand, so that you don’t get deprived of any rights. Then proceed to file for unemployment benefits in CA.

Requirements  to Apply for California Unemployment Benefits

If you quit your job, you’re typically not eligible for unemployment benefits. If you get laid off, it’s a different story. Employers over a certain size are required to pay unemployment taxes to cover the people they fire or lay off. To qualify for unemployment benefits, you have to meet three criteria.

Unemploayment Claim

First of all, you need to produce documents which clearly speak of your innocence in getting unemployed — lay off is counted here.  So, if you get fired from any company due to misconduct, then you will be disqualified from filing for unemployment benefits. Else, if the reason behind firing is your poor work output or inability to fit the job position, you still have chances to apply for the California unemployment benefits. Other reasons like resigning voluntarily due to personal or family issues, health, or change in city, still meets the eligibility to file for unemployment insurance.

Secondly, you must be capable of doing work or be constantly searching for a job. While applying to a number of companies, enlist those company names where you submitted the job applications. Plus, make a list of all the work contacts and job interviews that you attended already. This will be a great source of evidence to produce at the request of the Employment Development Department while seeking for unemployment benefits. However, if you get a suitable job offer in your unemployment tenure, then just go for it.

Thirdly, you must maintain the income  requirements needed before filing for unemployment in California.

Your income requirements will be determined on the basis of “base period”. Base period is the first of the five quarters before proceeding to claim the unemployment benefits. For instance, suppose you claimed unemployment in October 2018, which is the 4th quarter of that year. So, you simply have to count five quarters back from that date, ending up at the 3rd quarter in 2017. It means the base period for you will be starting on 1st July in 2017 and it will continue till 30th June of 2018, which completes the 2nd quarter of 2018.

In order to satisfy the income requirements, you need to comply with two below given standards. First, if you have already earned the minimum sum of $1,300 (within one quarter of your base period), then you are eligible to file unemployment. Or, you need to show at least $900 earning under the highest paid quarter, and must have gained minimum  1.25 times the sum that you have acquired in the base period of your highest paid quarter as a whole.

How Much Allowance to Expect From CA Unemployment Benefit?

As discussed above, your eligibility as well as the amount of allowance, i.e., the unemployment benefits on the basis of your income in the base period. First of all, get the money that you acquired in your highest paid quarter if the base period and divide the amount by 25. The sum that comes out after division will be your WBA (Weekly Benefit Allowance). For example, suppose the amount of your highest paid quarter is $1,200, then your allowance benefit will be $1200/25 = $48, per week.

Unemployment Benefits

Next, you need to find your maximum benefit amount (MBA). That’s the total payout you can get through unemployment. Your MBA is either your WBA times 26 or half of your total wages over the base period, whichever is less. So, take your WBA and multiply it by 26. If your WBA is $48, that comes out to $1,248. Let’s say you earned $4,800 over the course of your base period. Half of that is $2,400. So, your MBA is $1,144, as this is the smaller of the two numbers. Regardless of your income, however, the maximum benefit at the time this article is published is $1,950.

How to File for Unemployment Benefits in California?

You can apply online for California unemployment benefits. You simply have to fill your personal details including the income. After that, the dedicated authority will check if you are eligible for this allowance or not. If you do, then they will organize a phonics interview to decide how much amount should be allowed  to you. This is the moment while they perhaps do some adjustments to your WBA amount.

Note: The unemployment benefits in California lasts for about 26 weeks. So, it gives you enough time to seek another job (work from home, considering current Covid-19 issue) as quickly as you can.

Let’s Conclude

Well, hope the above details help. Other than that, it is fact that the Corona outbreak had and is still taking a toll on the global economy affecting the jobs of millions of people across the affected nations. However, the good thing is that the respective governments are making sure that nobody starves from this recession period. Like unemployment benefits in California, governments across the nations have made temporary policies to ensure the financial security of the Covid-19 driven unemployeds and others.