There are three steps to getting unemployment benefits:
1 Create account and login
2 Apply for benefits
3 Certify for benefits
The first step, creating an account and login, should be done prior to the unemployment date. If you already have an account, you'll need to update your password if you don’t know it. When I signed up it took me two attempts to set up an account but the process was fairly straightforward after that as I became familiar with it.
The benefits application can be submitted on the last date of employment. EDD asks for salary details from the previous year and many of the questions may seem difficult to complete. Have your W-2 and pay stubs ready. Note: The more you earned last year the more your benefits payments will be.
Tip: Set up your account well in advance of filing in order to expedite the process on filing day. Accounts can be set up in advance but filing must be done after your job has ended or your hours are reduced. Filings can be made during designated hours on the EDD website, 5 a.m. – 8:30 p.m.
Once the benefits application is complete, you'll need to log on every two weeks on Sundays and fill out the Certify for Benefits form. EDD issues a Visa debit card by mail on which payments are loaded each benefit period. Funds can be used directly from the card or transferred to your bank account. Your first payment may take three weeks to receive.
Some of the write-in fields can be filled using the drop-down feature but may not work if you type in the entire term, for example “County of Santa Clara” vs. “Santa Clara County". Using the first few letters of descriptors is helpful to search for the correct designation. There are FAQs on the site to answer basic questions and general recorded information available by phone at 1-833-978-2511.
Changes in benefits due to COVID-19 were headlined in the San Francisco Chronicle, “Unemployment benefits in California jump $600 a week”. EDD benefits are now available for workers with job loss OR hours reduction.
Good luck and stay healthy!