Navigating Unemployment Benefits: Maximizing Your Eligibility

Posted by: kevensteinberg
Category: Blog, Employment Law

Thousands of Californians have lost their jobs or had their hours cut due to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. The number of unemployment claims in California skyrocketed, with the state processing an average of 106,000 applications per day in the first week of the stay-at-home order.

If you lost your job or had your hours cut due to the economic crisis, you may be eligible for unemployment benefits. The amount of benefits a person receives will depend on their earnings and the number of weeks they worked in the past year.

To apply for unemployment benefits, you can visit the Employment Development Department (EDD) website or call 1-800-300-5616. You will need to provide your name, Social Security number, and information about your employment.

The EDD is experiencing high call volumes, so it may be helpful to apply for benefits online. You can also check the EDD website for updates on the status of your claim.

Unemployment benefits people may be eligible for in California are generally $450 when a person had base period earnings of $18,240 or more, $325 when a person had base period earnings of $13,070 to $18,239, and $195 when a person had base period earnings of less than $13,070. The amount of weekly benefits a person receives will be reduced by 50 cents for every $1 they earn above their weekly benefit amount.

A person may be eligible for unemployment benefits for up to 26 weeks. However, the length of your benefits may be extended if the economic crisis continues.

If you need help with an unemployment issue, do not hesitate to speak to an experienced unemployment lawyer.

Qualifying for California Unemployment Benefits

The California unemployment insurance program is run by the EDD. To apply for unemployment benefits, you can visit the EDD website or call 1-800-300-5616.

To qualify for unemployment benefits in California, a person must meet the following requirements:

  • You must be totally or partially unemployed through no fault of your own.
  • You must be able to work, willing to work immediately, and actively seeking work.
  • You must have earned at least $1,300 in wages in two of the four most recent calendar quarters.
  • You must have paid at least $1,700 in state and federal taxes in the past year.

The amount of unemployment benefits you receive will depend on your previous earnings and the number of weeks you have worked. You can calculate your weekly benefit amount by dividing your total wages in your base period (meaning the first four of the last five completed calendar quarters) by 26.

The maximum weekly benefit amount in California is $450. However, if your weekly earnings in your base period were less than $18,240, your weekly benefit amount will be lower.

You may be eligible for unemployment benefits for up to 26 weeks. However, the length of your benefits may be extended if the economic crisis continues.

To file an unemployment claim, you will need to provide the following information:

  • Your name, Social Security number, and date of birth
  • Your address, phone number, and email address
  • Your previous employer’s information
  • Your job title and dates of employment
  • The reason you are unemployed
  • Your work search activities

You can file an unemployment claim online, by phone, by fax, or by mail. If you file an unemployment claim online, you will need to create an account on the EDD website. 

You can then log in to your account and file your claim. If you file an unemployment claim by phone, you will need to call the EDD at 1-800-300-5616.

If you file an unemployment claim by fax, you will need to fax the following information to the EDD:

  • Your EDD claim form (DE 405)
  • Your proof of identity
  • Your proof of wages

If you file an unemployment claim by mail, you will need to mail the following information to the EDD:

  • Your EDD claim form (DE 405)
  • Your proof of identity
  • Your proof of wages

You can find more information about unemployment benefits in California on the EDD website.

How Much People Can Obtain

In California, the weekly unemployment benefit amount ranges from $40 to $450, depending on your past earnings during a specific period called the base period. The base period is determined by the first four of the last five completed calendar quarters before you filed your claim. 

To be eligible for unemployment benefits, you must have earned at least $1,300 during the highest earning quarter of a base period, or $900 in your highest quarter with total base period earnings of at least 125 percent of that quarter. If a person does not meet these qualifications, they will not be eligible for unemployment insurance benefits.

If you did not earn enough during the base period, the state will consider the four most recent completed quarters to determine an alternative base period. While the exact formula used by California to calculate the weekly benefit amount is not published, you can estimate it by dividing the total wages of your highest earning quarter by 26. 

For instance, if your annual salary is $36,000, your high-quarter wages would be $9,000, and your estimated weekly benefit amount would be $347. California issues unemployment benefits using a Visa prepaid debit card, which will be mailed to you by Bank of America within five days after your first payment is issued. 

Benefit payments will be automatically loaded onto the card. Once activated, you can set up a direct deposit transfer of your benefit payments to a bank account at no cost.

Keep in mind that there is a one-week waiting period before you can receive benefits, and there are certain fees associated with using the prepaid debit card, such as out-of-network ATM withdrawal fee, domestic emergency cash transfer fee, and replacement card fee for express delivery.

Contact Our Los Angeles Unemployment Attorney

The laws that govern unemployment in California are incredibly complex. As a result, many employees will have a strenuous time obtaining unemployment benefits. 

With California’s unemployment rate being on the rise, this may mean that many former employees could experience problems handling their unemployment benefit claims. If you are an employee who has been laid off or who has had their hours reduced, you could be eligible for unemployment benefits. 

To determine your eligibility, you should contact an experienced labor lawyer at Steinberg Law for free legal advice. Our unemployment lawyers offer free initial consultations for all employment law issues.

Our lawyers have extensive experience in handling unemployment claims and appeals. We can help you understand the unemployment laws in California and we can represent you in your unemployment claim or appeal.

If you are eligible for unemployment benefits, you may be able to receive a weekly benefit payment for up to 26 weeks. The amount of your weekly benefit payment will depend on your earnings in the base period, which is the first four of the last five completed calendar quarters.

To file an unemployment claim, you must first file an unemployment application with the California Employment Development Department (EDD). You can file an application online, by phone, or by mail.

Once you have filed an application, the EDD will review your application and determine your eligibility for benefits. If you are approved for benefits, you will start receiving weekly benefit payments within a few weeks.

If you are denied benefits, you may appeal the denial. You have 30 days from the date of the denial to file an appeal.

If you are appealing a denial of benefits, you should contact an experienced labor lawyer at Steinberg Law for assistance. Our lawyers can help you file an appeal and they can represent you at the appeal hearing.

We understand that filing an unemployment claim can be a difficult process. Our lawyers are here to help you through the process and to ensure that you receive the unemployment benefits you deserve.

To schedule a free consultation with one of our unemployment lawyers, please contact us online or call us toll-free at (818) 855-1103.

Author: kevensteinberg