State of California

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Apply for unemployment insurance

Unemployment insurance (UI) pays part of your income after your employer lays you off or reduces your hours.

After you apply

1. We might call you

If we have any questions about whether you can get UI, we’ll schedule a call with you.

If you don’t pick up, we’ll use the information from your application to make a decision. Your application might be delayed or rejected.

You can reschedule your call online or contact UI.

If so, prepare for our call

If we decide to call you, we’ll mail you a letter with the time and date of our call. It will include several questions that we might ask you. Review the questions and think about your answers. Be prepared to:

  • Share why you no longer work for your last employer
  • Answer our questions with detailed responses

2. Read our responses

We’ll mail you two important letters:

  1. We’ll let you know if we’ve approved your application.
  2. We’ll send you a Continued Claim Form (DE 4581). Please note: You have to fill it out and mail it back to us to keep getting payments.

3. Sign up for CalJOBS

If you’re approved for UI, you’ll likely have to sign up for CalJOBS. You’ll also need to create an online resume that employers can find.

You must create your profile within 21 days after you get the form Notice of Requirement to Register for Work (DE 8405). Please note: If you don’t, you might delay or lose your UI payments.

How to register for CalJOBS and post a resume (YouTube)

4. Get payments

We’ll mail you a debit card for your first payment. Then, you can activate it in two ways:

  1. Online
  2. Or by phone:
    • 1-866-692-9374
    • TTY: 1-866-656-5913
    • Outside of the U.S.: Call collect at 1-423-262-1650

You can transfer money to your other bank accounts for free. Set up the transfer online or by calling the phone number on the back of the debit card we send you.

Get updates about your payments online or by calling 1-866-333-4606.