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UNEMPLOYMENT

How many times can you file for unemployment in California?

The Golden State's February jobs report showed that the economy recovery is continuing but there is still plenty of support on offer for those out-of-work.

Update:
The Golden State's February jobs report showed that the economy recovery is continuing but there is still plenty of support on offer for those out-of-work.

The latest jobs report from California’s Employment Development Department suggests that the state is beginning to return to pre-pandemic economy. In February the state added 138,100 new jobs, the largest increase since July 2021.

However there are still millions of Californians out of work and the state continues to provide comprehensive Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits for residents. Individuals can only claim a maximum of 26 weeks of unemployment support each year, one of the most generous state-organised unemployment programmes in the country.

Montana (28 weeks) offers the longest period of annual unemployment support for residents, while Florida provides the shortest (12 weeks).

Who is eligible for unemployment benefits in California?

California’s Unemployment Insurance programme is restricted to state residents who also satisfy the following criteria:

- Unemployed

- Earnt a certain amount of wages over the past 12 months, as determined by state guidelines

- Have been employed in California at some point in the past 12 months

- Must be actively seeking work for every week in which they claim benefits

For those who meet the eligibility requirements, the state will determine the amount each individual is entitled to receive based on a variety of criteria.

The recipient’s prior earning will be considered; usually the first four of the five full annual quarters that came directly before the UI claim was filed, which is known as the ‘base period’. A claim submitted in July 2022 would be based on earnings between 1 April, 2021 and 31 March 2022.

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The weekly entitlement is then based on the quarter in which the individual earned the most. The vast majority of claimants the weekly entitlement can be calculated as their highest-earning quarter divided by 26, up to a maximum of $650 per week.

For example, a claimant who had receive $6,000 during their highest quarter would receive $231 per week in benefits. Any claimant with quarterly earnings of $11,674 or higher would simply receive the maximum weekly entitlement of $450.

If you’re unsure how much you could be eligible to receive from unemployment support in California, the Employment Development Department provides this handy Unemployment Benefits Calculator.

Simply enter your earnings history to see how much you are entitled to.