The number of people filing for unemployment in California and across the country is at a historic high point. Nothing has ever been seen like this. The good news is that you are not alone – and we are only a few of the thousands trying to help. The bad news is that there are many questions that have risen in this unprecedented situation. We can’t guarantee that we have all the answers, as we are not the Employment Development Department (EDD). However, we hope to answer what we do know below and point you in the direction of more information when we don’t have the answers.

California Secretary of Labor’s Open Letter
EDD’s Covid-19 pages, for workers, employers and FAQ

The UI Site is slow and kicks me out all the time.  What do I do?
Unfortunately, there are millions of people attempting to login to CalJOBS at the same time. The EDD technicians are working to increase the capacity. Please be patient and try again. If you have technical issues with the website, know that it responds better using Chrome as a web browser.

If your password is not working or you have been locked out, you will need UI Technical Support to reset your account; call them at 855-327-7058.

The 800 phone number is always busy and it closes at noon.  How are we supposed to get answers?
Governor Newsom issued an executive order this past week to open the EDD call center 12-hours a day, 7 days a week. EDD will start this Monday, April 20, 2020.  The 800 numbers are:   800-300-5616  and 800-326-8937 (Spanish)

Alameda and Contra Costa Counties have set up special communication methods during the Covid-19 crisis.  Both counties have telephone numbers and email addresses to make contact. When calling you will be asked to leave a voice message, or you can send an email if you prefer to communicate in writing.  Whichever method you choose, provide your full name, contact information, and any EDD account ID’s they’ve assigned to you. You should receive a response from them within 24-hours.

Oakland Office:  510-564-0500, [email protected]
Concord Office:  925-602-0869, [email protected]

Also Representative Rebecca Bauer-Kahan’s office is offering to help as well. Find her and her staff’s Covid-19 information here.  Or call their office: 925-328-1515.

How long will it take to get my first check?
According to the California Secretary of Labor on KQED today, EDD is committed to keep the 3-week timeline from filing to receiving your first check that they had prior to this crisis.

If my unemployment was exhausted, can I reopen my claim to get the extra 13-weeks from the CARE Act?
Most likely, go ahead and apply. We suggest that you reopen your claim and see what happens. We have had job seekers who have had success in this and others who are still waiting to hear. There should be no consequences for doing this and it may work in your favor.

How do I access the extra $600 from the federal government CARE Act?
You should not have to do anything over your initial claim to receive the additional $600 per week. It will be added to your 2-week unemployment “check” automatically.  See this EDD website for reference:

If I was on unemployment prior to the Shelter in Place, will I still get the additional $600 and 13-extra weeks?
Yes, according to what we have learned, you are eligible to receive the additional $600 per week AND that claim will automatically be extended an additional 13-weeks beyond the pre-established deadline. These benefits will be extended automatically and you do not need to do anything to make it happen.     

If I was a gig worker or contractor, can I still get unemployment?
Gig workers and contractors who have reduced work and/or no work due to Covid-19 need to apply for the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) starting April 28, 2020. Advice that has been given is to apply for UI regardless and let the state figure it out. If you have a bit of both contract and w-2 income, you should apply for both Unemployment and PUA just in case. See more here:

Am I expected to look for work each week in the Covid-19 environment?
EDD has a temporary exemption on this requirement. According to the EDD website: “You are not required to look for work each week to be eligible for benefits.”

However, there are many companies still hiring. Visit our website as well as attend our workshops and Job Club to learn more.

What if I am sick and can’t look for work?
According to the EDD site, if you are unable to work due to having or been exposed to Covid-19, you are encouraged to file a Disability Insurance claim for short-term benefits. For more info: