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Unemployment benefits in California: how to prove a job search to the EDD

The California Employment Division Department has resumed its policy of requiring proof of work search activities from recipients of jobless support.

The California Employment Division Department has resumed its policy of requiring proof of work search activities from recipients of jobless support.

For the last year officials in California have waived the state’s normal job search requirements for residents looking to claim unemployment benefits. The system had been put on hold due to the pandemic to ensure that unemployed people got the support they require, but the job search requirement returned from Sunday, 11 July.

The state’s Employment Division Department (EDD) have added: “The requirement applies to finding suitable work that is safe to return to and is comparable to your skills, experience, usual occupation, age, and health.”

The accepted job search activities vary depending on the type of claim that you are filing. If you are not sure on what your claim type is, you can check by logging on to the state’s UI Online portal and following the instructions to find your ‘Program Type’.

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Regular Unemployment Benefits

If your Program Type is simply listed as ‘UI’ then you are receiving the regular unemployment support from the state. Anyone filing a new claim for regular unemployment benefits after 11 July must first register on CalJOBS. There are many activities that count as part of the job search and the EDD recommend keeping any evidence you have of them.

Included in the accepted activities are things deemed as preparation for a job search, such as uploading your resume on CalJOBS; creating a profile on a job-search website or registering with a union hiring or placement facility. Furthermore watching videos on job-search topics, such as interview skills, and participating in the America’s Job Center of California employment services are also allowed.

Applying for jobs is a fairly easy way to fulfil the requirement, although it must be with employers “who may reasonably be expected to have openings.” You may also respond to openings and wanted ads. As well as applying for jobs, unemployment benefits recipients can also enrol in training courses, such as computer literacy or language lessons, to help you gain employment.

You can also fulfil the job search requirement by expanding your network, whether that be through a job networking website; by participating in specific networking events; or by speaking with prior employers and community members about your job search.

Pandemic Unemployment Assistance

In addition to the regular unemployment benefits available to Californians, the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) was introduced to provide support for those who may not otherwise qualify. Typically, this is self-employed or small business owners who would not be able to complete the usual work search requirements.

The activities used to prove eligibility for the PUA include the training participation and networking from the regular unemployment requirements, but add some other potential options. Independent contractors may also sign up with online platforms that will allow them to look for work and for prospective clients to find them.

For business owners, you can complete the work search requirements by taking steps to rebuild your business. This may include searching for new clients; employing new marketing strategies; or researching or preparing to submit a bid on a new contract.


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