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Applying for Unemployment
Unemployment Insurance is an unemployment compensation benefits program administered by the State of California for eligible individuals who are out of work or have had their usual work hours reduced through no fault of their own. Among other factors, you must be able to work, and you must be looking for and be ready to accept work to be eligible for unemployment benefits. Benefit amounts depend on the total wages you have earned from all employers in the "base period." There are two types of base periods, Standard and Alternative. While the Standard and Alternative base periods differ in certain respects, both base periods consist of 12 months divided into four quarters of three months each (for further information see Fact Sheet: How Unemployment Insurance Benefits Are Computed, form DE 8714AB Rev. 5 (9-18) (INTERNET). Employers pay for the Unemployment Insurance program. Billions of dollars in total benefits are paid every year. Unemployment is not available to independent contractors. However, if you believe you were misclassified as an independent contractor, you should apply for unemployment as you may be eligible for benefits. Generally, there is a one-week, unpaid waiting period before you can begin to receive unemployment benefits.How to Apply for Unemployment
If your employer fires you or places you on a leave of absence, your employer, by no later than the effective date of the firing or leave of absence, must provide you with a pamphlet entitled "For Your Benefit, California's Program for the Unemployed" Pamphlet DE 2320. California Code of Regulations, title 22, section 1089-1. The pamphlet is a useful source of guidance on how to apply for unemployment.
The quickest and most convenient way to apply for and to manage your unemployment claim is online. The Benefit Programs Online is a secure portal for those seeking or receiving unemployment benefits. The portal is administered by the State of California, Employment Development Department. So long as you have your own email address and a smartphone or a desktop or laptop computer, you can create a Benefit Programs Online account.Information You Need to Apply for Unemployment
- Your full name, including all names you have used in relation to employment.
- Information as to each employer or former employer you have had over the past 18 months, including the name of the company, your supervisor's name, and the company's address and telephone number.
- An identification document, such as a driver license.
One thing you can do if your unemployment claim is denied is find out whether there are other benefits for which you may be eligible such as Disability Insurance or Paid Family Leave.
Disability Insurance benefits may be available to you if due to an injury or illness you cannot perform your regular and customary work.
Paid Family Leave may be available to you if you need time off from work to care for a seriously ill family member, to bond with a new child, or in certain circumstances because a family member who is in the military has been deployed.Submit an Appeal
Should the Employment Development Department deny you unemployment benefits or reduce your benefits, you have the right to appeal the decision.
30 Days The deadline to submit an appeal is 30 days from the mailing of a Notice of Determination and/or Ruling or Notice of Overpayment.
Appeal Form (DE 1000M) You use this form to appeal the ruling of the Employment Development Department. A copy of the form should be included with the Notice of Determination that was sent to you. You can also download the form on the website of the Employment Development Department. You must sign the form and return it to the Employment Development Department at the office address listed on the Notice of Determination you are appealing.
Appeal Letter If you did not receive an Appeal Form (DE 1000M), or if you are unable to download and print the form, you may send a letter to the Employment Development Department appealing the decision. The letter must include the information you would have provided had you submitted the Appeal Form (DE 1000M).
The Office of Appeals will notify you of the time and location of your appeal hearing. You will receive the notice of hearing at least 10 days before the hearing. You must have a good reason to change the time of the hearing—and you must make the request before the hearing. The notice of hearing will provide a telephone number to call if you wish to use an interpreter at the appeal hearing. You must appear at the hearing; otherwise, normally your appeal will be dismissed. An administrative law judge will preside over and record the hearing. Both you and your employer will have the opportunity to testify under oath and present written evidence and necessary eyewitnesses. Although the hearings are designed for you to represent yourself, you may at your own expense hire a lawyer to represent you at the hearing. The administrative law judge will make a written decision, which the Office of Appeals will mail to you. This can take several weeks.
Second Level Appeal If you disagree with the decision of the administrative law judge, you may appeal the decision within 30 calendar days of the date of the decision. Your appeal must include:
- Your full name.
- Your address.
- Your telephone number.
- Your Social Security number.
- The name and mailing address of any anyone who is representing you.
- The reason you think the administrative law judge's decision was wrong.
- Your appeal case number.
You are to mail the second level appeal to the address for the California Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board on the administrative law judge's decision.
The California Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board will confirm receipt of the appeal and advise you of what procedural options are available to you. You have 10 days from the date of the confirmation letter to request to present written or oral arguments or new evidence. You are not required to do this. The California Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board has the discretion to accept for review or deny to review any additional evidence. The California Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board will issue a written decision.
Writ of Mandate
If you disagree with the decision of the California Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board, you may file a Writ of Mandate with the Superior Court pursuant to California Code of Civil Procedure section 1094.5. This must be done within six months of the mailing date of the decision of the California Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board. The Superior Court will decide as to whether the correct laws were applied, whether they were applied correctly to the facts of your unemployment claim, and whether proper procedure was followed. There are several online guides regarding the filing of a Writ of Mandate concerning your unemployment claim. There are many steps in this process, including serving the writ upon your employer or former employer and lodging the administrative record with the Superior Court.Contact Us
If you have been unlawfully fired, or if your employer or former employer has otherwise violated your rights, call the experienced attorneys at Kokozian Law Firm, APC or Contact Us via our online form.