• Erica Chan

W2: Guide to applying

Updated: Jul 26

1. FAQ's before applying


Where do I go to apply?

  • Link to application here. You will need to register first.

What makes me eligible?

  • Your employment status has been affected by COVID-19 and you are fully or partially unemployed as a result.

  • You are fully or partially unemployed. This includes layoffs, furloughs, reduced wages, or reduced hours. You can still receive unemployment benefits while working, depending on your pay.

  • Your child’s school is closed, and you need to miss work to care for them.

  • Your previous UI claim has expired.

What info do I need to apply?

  • Social Security number

  • California driver license or ID card

  • Proof of US citizenship, or a green card, or a visa that allows you to work in the US, or an Alien Registration Number

  • Work history (Last 18 months of work including employer, employer address, supervisor name, phone number and total wages earned)

  • If you are a former federal employee, have your Notice to Federal Employees About Unemployment Insurance (Standard Form 8) ready.

  • If you served in the military in the last 18 months, have your Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty (DD 214) ready.


Should I wait for my paychecks to process before applying?

  • No, apply as soon as you are unemployed. it won't mess up applying for benefits. When it asks you to certify for a particular week, you report it then.

  • Understand that you need to report WHEN you worked, not when you got paid. Look at your paycheck to make sure it correlates with the week you are certifying for.

I'm no longer in California, should I apply to where I moved?

  • No, you need to apply where you worked. If you apply to where you moved, you will be receiving the PUA because you won't qualify for regular unemployment there if you have little to no work history.

  • If you worked the longest in California, the taxes and income would contribute to the benefit amount/award that you receive. By applying to another state, you will more than likely be receiving half the average benefit amount depending on the state.


2. FAQ's while applying

Will they backdate my claim?

  • Submit the first date you were affected by COVID-19. EDD will back pay you for the weeks you are eligible to receive benefits

Do I put gross or net wages?

  • Gross

How is my benefit calculated?

  • They will look at the standard base period and your highest quarterly earnings. More information on that here


I just moved to another state, where should I file?

  • You should file where you paid taxes to. If the majority of your paychecks say that you are paying California taxes, then you should apply to California unemployment.

DOUBLE CHECK FOR SPELLING ERRORS! Triple check birthdate, social security, driver's license and name!! Don't put yourself in the identity verification black hole.



3. FAQ's after initial application

Facebook thread for 1st time applicants here


What's next?

  • It'll take 2-3 weeks for your claim to process

  • You should receive your EDD account number via mail, which will allow you to sign in and see your online account <-- don't miss this step!

  • Sign up for CalJOBS and upload your resume (not required during pandemic)

  • Online account will say "Check back on xx/xx/xxxx" - log in after that date to certify for the two weeks prior

  • Once you get paid, you will receive for Bank of America debit card 7-10 business days

  • You can set up your BoA account online and transfer money to your personal account (there is no direct deposit)

  • Repeat certification every two weeks, payment should take only a day or so after you're in the system

When will I get _____? Information in mail, EDD account number, etc

  • It took 2-3 weeks to process a claim before the pandemic, give it that much time and maybe a bit longer for your claim to process

  • See average day timeline here

  • Many people have been getting things out of order. We can tell EDD is trying to expedite the process. Make sure to wait 2-3 weeks before calling to see where the status of your claim is at. It could be still processing.

What's included in the letters?

  • A continue claim form (certification)

  • A notice of claim filed and insurance award

  • Informational booklet on UI benefits

  • EDD account number and info

  • A notice of requirement to register to work (CalJobs)

  • A form to decide payment options (EDD debit card or by mailed check)

Not all these will come in one packet -- they can be mailed to you separately and out of order



Why is my award amount so low?

  • Here is the benefit calculator

  • EDD calculates your benefit based on the standard base period, if you do not have sufficient funds in your standard base period, they will automatically look at your alternate base period

How can I increase the benefit amount?

  • There is a calculator that will tell you how much benefit you will receive based on your highest quarterly earnings with W2 income. There is not a way to increase your benefit amount since it is based on what you've earned.

  • Based on your highest quarterly earnings, here is benefit table.

  • If you are a hybrid worker and you have 1099 that is misclassified, you can notate that and have that potentially contribute to your benefit amount

I made a mistake!! What do I do?

  • The only way to correct a mistake is contacting EDD. There is not a way to make changes online. Here are phone tips.

I faxed my application and have heard nothing. What do I do?

  • It's been recommended by some Facebook members from the group to apply over the phone.

When will I get my debit card?

  • After you are able to certify and it says "paid" you'll get your card in 7-10 business days. You can also call Bank of America to expedite your card for a cost.

4. FAQ's after having access to online portal

I had to reopen my claim, only to have the claim simply disappear and the page reset to reopen my claim as if I never filed. What do I do?

  • Don't reapply. Just wait a few hours or a day and check back. This is a common glitch that has happened to many people.

My claim says 0.00 balance. Did I do something wrong?

  • Have you waited 2-3 weeks yet? Typically, it takes 2-3 weeks for a claim to get processed. They could still be processing your claim.

  • Many have needed their identities to be confirmed

  • If your highest quarterly earnings were less than 900, it's possible that your benefit is 0.00 and you have to apply to PUA.

  • If you are part 1099, none of your 1099 income will contribute to your benefit unless you are going to consider it as misclassified 1099

  • If you are seeing 0.00, have had enough W2 income to apply, it's been 2-3 weeks -- you need to contact EDD.

Should I still certify even if my benefit is 0.00?

  • Yes, continue certifying so that your claim can stay open, otherwise EDD system will assume you no longer need the claim and will close on it's own

It says "Check back on xx/xx/xxxx" - what does that mean?

  • It means check back on that date

  • On that date you will have weeks to certify for. Log in online and you will have to answer eligibility questions for specific weeks

  • Once you answer those questions, if there are no problems and you meet eligibility, it should be processed and paid to your bank account within 48 hours.

  • Read more about certifying in this article here

EDD guide here

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