Benchmark Institute is a training and performance development
organization dedicated to increasing the quality and quantity of
legal services to low-income communities.
Links to all state agencies and unemployment laws can be
Individuals who are able to and available to work and who have been laid
off or who have quit their last job for a good reason are eligible for
Unemployment Benefits (UIB). This is a fund paid by the state and
employers; employees do not contribute. Deductions from an employee's pay
for unemployment insurance are unlawful.
Individuals who are not U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents must
have employment authorization from the immigration and Naturalization
Service in order to be eligible for benefits.
Part of the Social Security Act of 1935, federal legislation enacted a
system with incentives for states to adopt UI programs. Consequently, all
fifty states have UIB programs that are substantially similar. In
California, the Employment Development Department (EDD) is the state
administrative agency that administers these benefits.
All state programs are subject to federal statutory requirements found in
42 USC §503(a) et seq. and 26 USC §3304 et seq. and federal regulations
found in 20 CFR §§640 et seq.
California laws pertaining to UIB are found in:
• Unemployment Insurance Code
• 22 California Code of Regulations
• EDD Benefit Determination Guide
• Court Decisions
• Precedent Benefit Decisions (EDD decisions that EDD has determined are
UIB fundamentals are described in EDD’s Benefit Determination Guide.
Generally, to qualify for UIB, a worker must be: (All references to
California UI Code)
• Unemployed, legal resident §1264
• Have been an employee §§601 et seq.
• Worked in covered employment (almost everyone)
• Worked or Earned Enough §§1280 et seq.
• Involuntary Termination, not misconduct §1256
• Voluntary Quit for good cause §1256
Generally, benefits will be denied when a worker:
• Voluntarily quits without good cause
• Is discharged for misconduct
• Makes false statements resulting
in disqualification for benefits
• Not able and available for work
• Refuses suitable work
• On strike
When claimants receive benefits to which they are not entitled, EDD will
seek recovery of the overpayment unless the overpayment was received
without fault and recovery would be against equity and good conscience.
All claimants must complete an application for benefits and have a claims
status interview with EDD.
Claimants receive a Notice of Determination granting or denying benefits
which is mailed to claimants and their employers. Either party must appeal
within 20 days of the Notice's mailing. An administrative law judge (ALJ)
hears the claim and issues a written decision. Parties may appeal the
ALJ's decision to the California Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board (CUIAB)
within 20 days of the decision's mailing. A party may appeal to Superior
court within six months of the CUIAB decision.