How-To :: How to File for Unemployment in California

by shannon

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It’s no surprise that times are tough nowadays. With more applicants than there are jobs, it’s guaranteed that some who wants work won’t be able to find it. It’s also common for workers to be laid off as companies are downsizing to stay afloat. If you lose your job, follow these steps to file for unemployment benefits:

1. Choose whether you want to file online, over the phone, or in person. Filing online is the fastest and easiest option, and should be your overwhelming preference if you have access to a computer.

2. Before filing, have the following information at your fingertips:

  • Name and social security account number
  • Mailing and residence addresses (if different)
  • Telephone number
  • Last employer information (regardless of the length of time you worked for the employer) including name, address (mailing and physical location) and telephone number (including area code)
  • Information on all employers during the 18 months prior to submitting your applications and filling your claim, including name, period of employment, wages earned and how you were paid
  • Last date worked and the reason you are no longer working
  • Gross earnings in the last week you worked
  • Driver's license or ID card number
    a. Citizenship status or alien registration number

3. To file online, visit the California Department of Employment Development Web site. You will answer approximately eight questions about your previous employment to determine if you are eligible for unemployment benefits. If so, you will be redirected to a page with more questions where you will submit additional information.

4. Once you complete your form, be sure to record your PIN and print/archive any confirmations. Be sure to continue looking for jobs (per the state’s requirement) so you don’t lose your unemployment benefits.

5. To file by phone, call 1-800-300-5616.