How to Navigate Unemployment Benefits During COVID-19

    I’m trying to figure out what benefits I’m qualified for.

    1. Due to COVID-19, my employer cut my hours, forced me to take unpaid leave, or ended my employment. Do I qualify for unemployment?

    You may file a claim for Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits with the California Employment Development Department (EDD). To get benefits, you only need to meet certain minimum requirements, including having sufficient past earnings and an immigration status that allows you to work.  If EDD approves your claim, you can get between $40 and $450 in base UI benefits each week, depending on your past earnings.

    If you are unemployed as a result of COVID-19, the EDD has waived both the one-week waiting period during which you otherwise would not receive Unemployment Insurance benefits and the requirement to search for work.

    For more information about Unemployment Insurance benefits, including eligibility requirements and how to file a claim, please visit https://www.edd.ca.gov/Unemployment/ or call 800-300-5616 (English), 800-326-8937 (Spanish), 800-547-3506 (Cantonese), or 866-303-0706 (Mandarin). Visit EDD’s FAQ on COVID-19 and Unemployment at COVID-19 FAQs: Unemployment Insurance Benefits | California EDD.

    2. What benefits can I receive if I lost work as an independent contractor because of COVID-19?

    Self-employed individuals and independent contractors who do not qualify for Unemployment Insurance are eligible for a new type of benefit called Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA).  To access PUA, workers should apply for Unemployment Insurance benefits with the EDD, preferably online at https://portal.edd.ca.gov/WebApp/Home.

    Note: Many people who work as “independent contractors,” “freelancers,” and “gig workers” may qualify for benefits through regular Unemployment Insurance (or State Disability Insurance and Paid Family Leave instead) because they have been misclassified as independent contractors or because they worked as employees before becoming self-employed. California law presumes workers are employees, and it is up to the hiring entity to disprove that presumption.

    When applying for benefits online, you should provide the following information to the EDD to expedite the processing of your claims:

    • Name, phone number, and address/physical location of the companies you worked for;
    • Type of work performed;
    • Dates worked;
    • Amount of earnings (i.e., net income for self-employment/independent contractor earnings, gross income for regular employment earnings, or information showing both net and gross income if you have both types of earnings); and
    • How earnings were paid (hourly, weekly, by contract, etc.). If you have access to records that allow you to report their quarterly earnings, you should report that information as well.

    If true, you should answer YES to the question: “Are you unemployed as a direct result of a recent disaster (for example: earthquake, flood, mudslide, or fire) in California?” and select “Public Health” as the “type of disaster.”

    3. What if I am undocumented? How can I get income if I cannot work?

    Unfortunately, undocumented workers cannot get Unemployment Insurance. Only individuals with legal authorization to work in the U.S. are eligible for Unemployment Insurance (for example, asylees, refugees, DACA recipients, individuals with temporary protected status, lawful permanent residents (even if their green card has expired), and individuals who have been issued an Employment Authorization Document while their application for legal immigration status is pending). However, undocumented workers can get income from other programs, including:

    • State Disability Insurance (SDI);
    • Paid Family Leave (PFL);
    • Workers’ Compensation; and
    • Paid sick days.

    For example, consider an undocumented worker who loses her job and becomes too depressed to work as a result: She does not qualify for Unemployment Insurance because she is undocumented, but she may qualify for SDI. (Note: Workers need proof of their medical condition from a doctor to qualify for SDI.)

    Please see our fact sheet on Undocumented Workers for more information HERE.

    To assist undocumented workers who have lost their jobs or income as a result of the Coronavirus outbreak, Legal Aid at Work has also compiled a list of known relief funds for undocumented workers HERE.

    4. I have a job, but I am no longer making as much money as I used to make. Can I still get unemployment?

    Yes. As long as you have sufficient earnings during your base period and an immigration status that allows you to work, you may be eligible for unemployment if your hours have been reduced or your employment ended. See Question 7 for more information on how UI benefits are calculated.

    5. I don’t qualify for regular unemployment. Can I still get benefits?

    You may be eligible for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance if:

    • You are ineligible for regular UI benefits (reasons for ineligibility include independent contractor/gig worker, or you exhausted regular UI and the PEUC extension), AND
    • You are unemployed, partially unemployed, or unable to work for a permissible COVID-19 reason.

    We encourage anyone who is unsure whether they will qualify for UI benefits to apply (online if possible), and EDD will determine whether you are eligible for benefits, whether it be traditional UI or PUA. You can find a list of COVID-19-related reasons below in Question 6 or on the EDD’s website HERE.

    6. I can’t work either because I’m sick, quarantined, have to care for my child who is out of school, or am caring for someone who is sick. What benefits can I apply for?

    You may be eligible for benefits such as paid sick days, State Disability Insurance, Paid Family Leave, or others depending on your particular situation. See our general COVID-19 FAQ HERE for more information.

    Lastly, you may also be eligible for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance. People not working for the following reasons may be eligible for PUA:

    • You have been diagnosed with COVID-19 or are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and are seeking a medical diagnosis.
    • You are unable to work because a health care provider advised you to self-quarantine due to concerns related to COVID-19.
    • A member of your household has been diagnosed with COVID-19.
    • You are providing care for a family member or a member of your household who has been diagnosed with COVID-19.
    • A child or other person in the household for whom you have primary caregiving responsibility is unable to attend school or another facility that is closed as a direct result of the COVID-19 and the school or facility care is required for you to work.
    • You became the breadwinner or major support for a household because the head of the household has died as a direct result of COVID-19.
    • You have to quit your job as a direct result of COVID-19.
    • Your place of employment is closed as a direct result of COVID-19.
    • You were scheduled to start a job that is now unavailable as a direct result of the COVID-19 public health emergency.
    • You are unable to reach your place of employment as a direct result of the COVID-19 public health emergency.
    • You refused to return to work or accept an offer of work at a worksite that is not in compliance with local, state, or national health and safety standards directly related to COVID-19.

    Visit EDD’s Pandemic Unemployment Assistance FAQ for more information.

    I’m in the process of applying for Unemployment Insurance.

    7. How much could I receive in benefits?

    Calculating how much you will receive each week on unemployment is complicated, and depends on your prior earnings and how much you worked during any given week while eligible for benefits. Benefits, before deductions for earnings in a given week, range from $40 to $450 a week. The amount you receive each week in benefits will be your Weekly Benefit Award, which is based on how much you earned during the highest quarter during your base period, which is a year-long period during the last 15-18 months.

    Use this calculator to estimate what your weekly UI benefit amount could be, or visit this link for a thorough explanation on how UI benefits are calculated. See Question 22 for more information on how earnings you make while receiving UI benefits are deducted from your weekly benefit amount.

    8. When should I apply for unemployment insurance?

    You should file your claim as soon as you are out of work or have your hours reduced. Your claim will begin on the Sunday of the week you applied for unemployment. However, you can request to backdate your claim date to the week you became unemployed due to COVID-19. See Question 23 for more information on how to backdate your claim.

    9. What documents do I need to apply?

    Identity Documents

    In October 2020, the EDD launched ID.me, a service used to verify claimants’ identities. When you file a new claim, you will be redirected to the ID.me site where you will take a selfie (personal photo) and upload a photo of your ID to verify your identity. If the EDD requires additional information to verify your identity, you will need to join a video call with ID.me and provide either:

    • Two primary documents, or
    • One primary and two secondary documents

    Visit the EDD HERE to learn what documents are acceptable to submit. Note: The required documents for applying for UI are different from the required documents needed to verify your identity after you have already submitted an application. See Question 30 for more information on how to navigate ID.me.

    Employment History

    You will need to provide information on your last employer, as well as information on all employers you worked for during the past 18 months. You will need to provide:

    • Total earnings for your last week of work, starting on Sunday;
    • Last paystubs and W-2s from last employer (or 1099s if you believe you were improperly paid as an independent contractor); and
    • Last paystubs and W-2s from other employers you have worked for in the last 18 months (or 1099s if you believe you were improperly paid as an independent contractor).

    Note: If you were misclassified as an independent contractor (received a 1099), were paid in cash, or your employer didn’t deduct payroll taxes out of your wages, your application will take longer to process. You will likely need to gather additional proof of how much you earned over the last 18 months. In this case, you will likely to need to request a wage audit. Detailed instructions are available HERE.

    Unemployment Insurance Information

    If you have filed for unemployment insurance in the past, you will need to provide the date of the last time you filed for UI.

    10. If my employer laid me off because of a COVID-19 reason, how do I answer the “reason for no longer working” question in section 2?

    The application asks you in section 2 for the “Reason No Longer Working.”  If you are not working because your workplace closed or laid off staff because of COVID-19, select “Laid Off/No Work.”  Do not select “Fired/Terminated” if you were laid off because of COVID-19.

    11. How do I answer the “provide wages earned by employer” question in section 3?

    Question 7 asks you to “provide wages earned from the employer” for the last year and a half.  These estimates are especially important if you were paid in cash, your employer didn’t pay payroll taxes, or your employer classified you as an independent contractor. If you are in this situation, you will likely need to mail or fax evidence of your earnings to the EDD after you receive a letter from the EDD called a Notice of Award (see Question 15, below, for more information on what to do if you disagree with the information on the Notice of Award).  Evidence of past earnings could include a 1099, screenshots of apps showing your earnings, and bank account statements.

    12. How do I answer the “ready and willing to work” question in section 4?

    To be eligible for unemployment benefits, you have to be “ready and willing” to work.  In section 4, the EDD will ask you: “Are you ready and willing to accept work that matches your work skills and educational background? (For example: If offered a job, would you be able to accept it?)”

    You should answer YES if you are only prevented from working by one of the COVID-19-related reasons listed in Question 6, above. You can also answer YES to that question, even if there may be limitations that prevent you from accepting some jobs, such as having to take care of a child who is not currently going to school. If EDD requires more information, they should contact you for an interview.

    13. I’m having trouble using the EDD website. Do you have any resources?

    The EDD has prepared videos in multiple languages that might help you out.  They can be accessed at the below links.  More videos are available HERE.

    You may also schedule an appointment with our Workers’ Rights Clinic via (415) 404-9093 to speak with an advocate who will help you interpret the EDD’s information. (Note: Clinic services are free and limited to low-income workers.)

    I submitted my application but haven’t received benefits yet.

    14. I recently submitted my application. How long will it take for me to start receiving benefits?

    The wait time for receiving benefits is generally 21 days to a month. However, due to the record number of people applying for UI, it may take longer. If your company did not pay payroll taxes on your earnings, or you were misclassified as an independent contractor, you will likely have to provide proof of your earnings to the EDD, and it will take longer for the EDD to process your claim. We recommend contacting the EDD if you have not heard back from them in 6 weeks.

    15. I received a “Notice of Unemployment Insurance Award” stating that I’m entitled to $0 in benefits. What does this mean?

    Several scenarios may result in you receiving a “Notice of Unemployment Insurance Award” stating that you are entitled to $0 in benefits. Each scenario has a different recommended course of action:

    The EED could not verify your identity. If the EDD needs to verify your identity, they will either verify your identity through ID.me, UI Online, or mail. The EDD will send you a message telling you which platform to use to verify your identity:

    • me: You must use ID.me to verify your identity if the EDD sent you a message in UI Online saying your claim was suspended. The message will have an ID.me link. Currently, the EDD has extended the submission deadline to 30 days from the message date to verify your identity before they will send you a disqualification notice. See this PDF on how to set up your ID.me account. See Question 30 for more information on ID.me troubleshooting.
    • UI Online or Mail: If the EDD did not instruct you to use ID.me, then you will verify your identity through UI Online. You will get a message asking you to visit your UI Online homepage and select “Upload Identity Documents”. You may also receive this request in the mail on a Request for Identity Verification (DE 1326C). You must provide two documents to verify your identity: 1) one photo identification document, and 2) one other identity document. See EDD’s list of Acceptable Documents for Identity Verification. If you are verifying your identity through UI Online, you have 10 days from the date you received the message in UI Online or from the Mail Date on the Request for Identity Verification mailed to you to respond with proof of your identity. Watch this video for assistance on verifying your identity through UI Online.

    Once the EDD verifies your identity, you will receive a new notice indicating what the EDD’s wage records show for your weekly UI benefit payments (so long as you meet all other eligibility requirements).

    The EDD’s record of your wages is inaccurate because your employer (1) misclassified you as an independent contractor, (2) misreported your wages to the EDD, or (3) failed to pay contributions to the state Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund. If you believe the EDD’s record of your wages is inaccurate, you should request a wage audit. Detailed instructions are available HERE. The EDD will follow up with you and/or your employer for any details needed to make a determination.

    You are self-employed or an independent contractor and you have not paid contributions to the state Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund. You should apply for PUA.

    16. I received a Notice of Determination saying that I was not eligible for unemployment benefits. What can I do?

    If EDD decides you are not eligible for UI benefits, you will receive a letter titled “Notice of Determination”, which should include a short description of the reason for EDD’s decision.  You will also receive an Appeal Form and have the option to appeal EDD’s decision. You have 30 days to appeal (unless you can show good cause for the delay). See Question 33 for information on how to submit an appeal.

    17. I was misclassified as an independent contractor. How do I prove my earnings in order to qualify for UI benefits?

    You will need to request that EDD do a wage audit.  Detailed instructions are available HERE.

    18. My situation changed after submitting my application or I realized I made a mistake on my application. Can I fix it?

    You should try using the “Contact Us” section of UI Online. If you received more work after applying for unemployment, you should honestly report your earnings when certifying for benefits.

    If you need to change or backdate the day your claim begins, see Question 23 for instructions.

    19. I’ve been having trouble getting a hold of the EDD. What’s the best way to contact them?

    We know that it is incredibly difficult to reach the EDD at this time. Due to the EDD receiving an unprecedented number of claims, the EDD is struggling to timely process claims. In addition, claimants have experienced significant wait times when calling the EDD, with most claimants being placed on hold for hours and unable to speak to a representative.

    You may be able to answer some of your questions by reviewing the EDD’s COVID-19 page, as well as the Frequently Asked Questions pages for COVID-19 FAQs and Pandemic Unemployment Assistance FAQs.

    You can ask the EDD staff a question online at AskEDD or at the “Contact Us” tab once you login to UI Online at uio.edd.ca.gov. The EDD website also has a new EDD chat feature on the website that may help.

    If you try to call EDD, make sure you are calling the right number. EDD has different numbers depending on what you are calling for:

    • For general, technical, and claim questions, you can call 1-866-300-5616 between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m., every day of the week.
    • For information on your last payment issued, how to file a new UI claim, reopen an existing claim, or certify for benefits, call the self-service line at 1-866-333-4606, open 24/7.
    • We have also observed claimants get technical help with registration, password resets, EDD Account Numbers, and how to use UI Online, by calling 1-833-978-2511.

    For the most up to date information on how to call EDD, check the EDD’s Contact Us page on its website.

    I started receiving benefits, but I’m not sure what to do next.

    20. What does it mean to “certify” for benefits and how should I do so?

    Certifying for benefits is the way you inform the EDD that you still need benefits because you continue to be unemployed or partially unemployed. Any additional income you make while receiving UI, including from part-time work, will reduce your UI benefits. See Question 22 for more information on reporting wages.

    We recommend that you certify for benefits through your UI Online account, but you can also certify for benefits by phone, using Tele-Cert at 1-866-333-4606, or mail, using the form DE 4581 that should have been mailed to you. Note: If you are receiving PUA or FED-ED benefits, you cannot use Tele-Cert to certify and must certify through UI Online or by mail.

    If you certify early or late, your payment could be delayed or denied. In order to keep receiving benefits, you must certify every 14 days.

    Click HERE to see certification questions and instructions on how to answer them.

    21. When I certify for benefits, the form asks me: “Was there any reason (other than sickness or injury) that you could not have accepted full-time work each day?” How should I answer this question?

    You should answer NO if nothing in your personal control prevented you from being able to accept work. You can answer NO even if you could not find full-time work because the industry you work is non-essential. If you have questions, you should consult the EDD and/or the EDD’s instructions HERE.

    22. When I certify for benefits the form asks me: “Did you work or earn any money?” How should I report income I make while receiving UI to EDD?

    It is very important to be honest and transparent with EDD about any income you receive while receiving UI. Additional income you make while receiving UI, including from part-time work, may reduce your UI benefits in the following ways:

    If you are on UI and earn an amount of income that is less than 1.33 times your Weekly Benefit Award, your weekly benefit will usually be reduced by 75% of the amount of your other income that week.  For example, if you earn $100 in other wages in a given week, you will receive $75 less in benefits.  If you earn $400 in wages in a given week, you will receive $300 less in benefits.

    If you are on UI and earn at least 1.33 times your Weekly Benefit Award, you will not receive any UI benefits for that week. For example, if your Weekly Benefit Award is $210, you will stop receiving benefits if you make more than $280. This is called “excessive earnings.” If you report excessive earnings for more than two biweekly periods (two certification periods), the EDD will close your claim. This does not cancel your claim; this means you need to “reopen” your claim when/if you stop receiving excessive earnings.

    When you certify for UI benefits, report your gross (total) earnings. Note: How you report your income is different for 1099 wages (self-employment income):

    • 1099 wages: If you are a self-employed worker, independent contractor, or business owner, report your income in the weeks you actually received payment, no matter when you performed the service. If you performed services but didn’t receive income that week, then you do not need to report any income for that week.

    W-2 wages: If you are not self-employed, report your income for the week you worked to earn the income, not when you were actually paid.

    23. I was unemployed for a significant amount of time before I submitted my unemployment application. Can I backdate my claim?

    It depends. In general, the EDD has recognized that the pandemic has resulted in confusion and substantial delays that warrant good cause for backdating claims. You may change or backdate your claim in one of the following ways:

    • Write what needs to be corrected on your Notice of Award and mail it to the EDD address on the notice.
    • Visit https://askedd.edd.ca.gov to request to backdate your claim if you think it has the wrong start date. In the dropdown bar, select “Unemployment Insurance Benefits”, in the next dropdown, select “Claims Questions”, finally select “Backdate the Effective Date of my UI Claim Due to COVID-19.”
    • In your UI Online account, select “Contact Us” to request a change.

    Note: If you submitted a new PUA application on or after December 27, 2020, the earliest your claim can start is December 6, 2020.

    24. How do I qualify for the additional monetary benefits from the federal government?

    Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the federal government has passed legislation to provide additional payments to claimants receiving unemployment insurance on top of claimants’ regular Weekly Benefit Awards. Below is a summary of the different laws that were passed, when they were in effect, and how much they provided in additional benefits to claimants receiving unemployment insurance. For more information, visit: https://www.edd.ca.gov/About_EDD/coronavirus-2019/cares-act.htm.

    Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (PUC) provides all regular UI and PUA claimants with an additional $600 per week in compensation on top of their usual calculated benefit, for the weeks from March 29, 2020 through July 25, 2020. PUC is a flat amount automatically provided to those on UI or PUA, including those who were receiving a partial unemployment benefit check. PUC applies to claims that are successfully backdated to account for weeks of unemployment between March 29 and July 25, 2020.

    The Lost Wages Assistance Program (LWA) provided eligible claimants on UI and PUA with an additional $300 per week, for up to 6 weeks, on top of their weekly UI benefit amount. The payment was for weeks of unemployment between July 26 and September 5, 2020. This was only available to claimants who certified that they were unemployed or partially unemployed due to COVID-19 and had a weekly benefit amount of $100 or more. In order to qualify for LWA, all eligible claimants had to submit their certifications by December 26, 2020.

    Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) provides an additional $300 per week, also known as the “federal bump,” beginning after December 27, 2020. Under the Continued Assistance Act, $300 was added to weekly benefit payments for the weeks between December 27, 2020 and March 13, 2021; under the American Rescue Plan Act, which was passed on March 11, 2021, the additional $300 weekly stimulus payments will be applied to weekly benefits for weeks of unemployment between March 14 and September 4, 2021. Claimants on PUA also receive the additional $300.

    Mixed Earner Unemployment Compensation (MEUC) provides an additional $100 per week, beginning December 27, 2020 and ending on or before September 4, 2021, to certain “mixed earners” who received at least $5,000 per year in self-employment or independent contractor income, but were eligible for regular UI benefits and so could not receive PUA.

    25. How long do unemployment benefits last?

    Prior to the pandemic, claimants receiving regular Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits could collect up to 26 weeks of benefits within a 12-month period. Since then, Congress has passed several laws that have extended the number of weeks of benefits available to claimants. Below is a summary of the different extensions, who they apply to, and how many additional weeks of benefits they provide.

    Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) provides up to 53 weeks of additional benefits to UI claimants who have exhausted all of their regular UI benefits. The first 13 weeks are available from March 29, 2020 to March 13, 2021, and after collecting the first 13 weeks, an additional 11 weeks are available beginning on or after December 27, 2020 to March 13, 2021. and an additional 29 weeks of unemployment benefits are available between March 14 and September 4, 2021.

    The Federal-State Extended Duration (FED-ED) benefit provides up to 20 weeks of additional benefits to regular UI claimants who exhausted all of their benefits, including benefits under PEUC. To be eligible for FED-ED, you must have enough earnings in the base period of your regular UI claim. Your total base period earnings must also be more than either of these: 40 times the weekly benefit amount or 1.5 times the earnings in the highest quarter of the base period of your regular UI claim.

    This program became effective when the unemployment rates reach a specified level. FED-ED will continue until unemployment drops below a certain level. The earliest a FED-ED claim can begin is May 10, 2020, and at this time, there is no end date for the extended benefit period.

    In total, claimants receiving regular UI benefits are now eligible for up to 70 weeks of benefits.

    Under the most recent laws, claimants receiving Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) benefits (which are the benefits the federal government created to cover self-employed workers and those ineligible for traditional UI benefits) are eligible for up to 86 weeks of benefits. You may receive fewer than 86 weeks of PUA benefits if:

    • You previously collected regular UI and FED-ED extension benefits (not including PEUC benefits). (The EDD subtracts these weeks from the 86 total weeks of your PUA claim.)
    • Your unemployment or partial unemployment is no longer due to a COVID-19 reason.
    • The PUA program is no longer available.

    See this flowchart for more information on how extensions apply to UI claimants.

    26. I was already receiving UI before the pandemic started. Am I still eligible for extensions and additional benefits?

    To qualify for the 53-week PEUC extension, your regular UI claim must have started on or after July 8, 2018. Depending on when you filed your UI claim and if it has expired, you may need to reapply for unemployment.

    You may also be eligible for an additional 20 weeks through the FED-ED extension.

    Whether or not these extensions will automatically apply to your claim depends on when your benefit year expires. If your benefit year has expired, you may have to file a new claim on UI Online. See this flowchart for more information on how extensions apply to UI claimants.

    27. I’m on UI but now I’ve gotten sick and am too sick to work. What should I do?

    If you have become too sick to work for at least eight consecutive days, you can apply for State Disability Insurance (SDI) for the time that you are not able to work. If you are too sick to work, you will usually be ineligible for UI benefits and your claim may be closed. Once you are able and available to work again, you can re-open your UI claim. You can find more information about SDI eligibility HERE.

    I was receiving benefits but they stopped for some reason.

    28. My account was suspended due to suspected fraudulent activity. Am I disqualified from receiving benefits?

    As of January 2021, the EDD has suspended 1.4 million accounts due to potentially fraudulent activity, and roughly 1.2 million of these claimants are being asked to validate their identity. If you are asked to verify your identity, please follow the instructions that were sent to your inbox in your UI Online account. See Question 15 for information on how to validate identity, and Question 30 for troubleshooting ID.me.

    Submit the required documents to verify your identity as quickly as possible or else you may be disqualified from receiving benefits. If EDD disqualifies you, you can appeal their decision. See Question 33 for information on how to submit an appeal.

    29. My EDD Debit Card is frozen and I can’t access my payments. Is there any other way to access my benefits?

    If your Bank of America debit card is frozen, try contacting Bank of America by calling 1-866-692-9374. You should also request paper checks from EDD. To do this, login to UI Online, go to the “Contact Us” tab, and tell EDD that you would like to receive paper checks.

    If your account is frozen, you may need to verify your identity. Check your inbox in your UI Online account for any messages sent from EDD about your account status and requests to verify your identity.

    Advocates in California are looking into this issue, but in the meantime continue to monitor EDD’s website for any changes to your account.

    30. I’m having trouble using ID.me and am worried that I will be disqualified from benefits if I don’t submit the necessary documents in time. What should I do?

    Due to the number of accounts EDD suspended for ID verification, EDD has extended the window from 10 to 30 days for claimants to verify their identity with ID.me. Many claimants have experienced issues with verifying their identity through ID.me, such as their documents not being accepted or experiencing long wait times to speak with an ID.me trusted referee.  You may have issues verifying your identity using ID.me if:

    • You recently moved.
    • Your credit report is locked or frozen.
    • Your credit profile contains incorrect information.
    • You already verified your identity using ID.me.
    • Your submission has an error or typo.
    • You submitted expired documents.
    • You submitted an unreadable photo. Review the tips for creating digital copies of documents.
    • You submitted a phone number that is not associated with your name and address.

    This page explains the types of documents claimants can submit to verify their identity through ID.me. Claimants have reported that cell phone and car insurance bills that they submitted for identification verification have been flagged as inadequate. For more tips on how to properly submit documents to ID.me, visit this link.

    Below are some troubleshooting tips for using ID.me:

    • Do not use Chrome or any internet browser with extensions.
    • Login to ID.me using the link that was sent to your UI online inbox; you can’t open ID.me by going on the ID.me website.

    Finally, if you are still experiencing issues with verifying your identity, you can try mailing and faxing in the requested documents to EDD. If you use this method, it is recommended that you both mail AND fax the documents in. Make sure to mail in copies to EDD and keep the originals yourself.

    I have a different issue that hasn’t been answered already.

    31. I need to reopen my claim. How do I do it?

    If your benefit year has expired or it has been more than 30 days since the last time you certified benefits, you may need to open a new claim for benefits. You can reopen an unemployment claim online, by phone, or by mail. Reopening a claim is a shorter process than the original application for UI benefits.

    32. I received more benefits than I was eligible for. Do I need to pay them back?

    Yes. If you received unemployment benefits you were not eligible for (known as an overpayment), EDD will send you a notice. It is important to repay this benefit overpayment as soon as possible to avoid collection and legal action. You can visit Benefit Overpayment Services to learn how to repay an existing overpayment.

    Or, if you disagree with EDD’s decision that you were overpaid, you can appeal the overpayment (see Question 33, below, for how to appeal an EDD decision you disagree with).

    If you want to repay any overpaid benefits before receiving a notice, review the following:

    • Benefit check not cashed – Return the original check to the EDD.
    • Benefit check cashed – Send a personal check, cashier’s check, or money order made payable to the EDD.
    • EDD Debit Card – If the funds are still on your card, transfer them to your bank account and then repay them by sending a personal check, cashier’s check, or money order made payable to the EDD.

    Include a letter with the following information:

    • Name.
    • Mailing address.
    • Social Security number or EDD Customer Account Number (EDDCAN).
    • Week or weeks that the returned payment applies to.
    • Reason for returning the benefits.
    • Date you returned to work (if applicable).
    • Gross earnings for each week of benefits being returned (if applicable).

    Mail the payment and letter to:

    Employment Development Department – Overpayment Center

    PO Box 66000

    Anaheim, CA 92806

    Document proof of your correspondence with EDD, noting send date(s), and if able, using certified mail.

    Note: If you return the overpayment, you will still receive a notice from the EDD.

    33. EDD told me I wasn’t eligible to receive benefits or I was disqualified from receiving benefits. Can I appeal their decision?

    Yes. EDD should have sent you a Notice of Determination (DE 1080C/Z) letting you know that you were either ineligible to receive benefits or disqualified from receiving benefits. You should have also been sent an Appeal Form (DE 1000M). An English and Spanish version of the Appeal Form is available HERE. Fill out the Appeal Form and write in the text box asking why you are appealing: “I disagree with the decision. I wish to appeal.” Mail the Appeal Form within 30 days to the address listed on the Notice of Determination.

    If you do not have a copy of the Appeal Form, you can write a letter to the EDD to notify the Department that you want to appeal their decision. If you choose to write a letter, include all of the following information:

    • Full name.
    • Address.
    • Phone number.
    • Social Security number.
    • The name and mailing address of anyone who is representing you.
    • The reason for your appeal.
    • A copy of the decision you are appealing and/or the date of the decision.
    • Any request for language assistance or special accommodations.

    If you would like assistance with appealing EDD’s decision about your claim, you can contact Legal Aid at Work at 415-864-8848.

    Note: If you have submitted an appeal, do not start a new claim/application, as this will confuse the system and may delay the processing of your appeal.