How Unemployment and Disability Benefits Are Computed?

Unemployment and disability insurance are two benefits you never really think about until you need them. Finding yourself suddenly unable to work can be a very scary and confusing time. Fortunately the state of California provides benefits to workers for these instances that you may be eligible for and we have the breakdown of how these state programs work. Read on to learn:

  • What benefits are offered by the state to Californian to its workers?
  • Who administers (or manages) these benefits?
  • Who are these benefits intended for?
  • How are these benefits computed?

What benefits are offered by the state of California to its workers?

Unemployment Insurance

Unemployment Insurance (UI) is a benefit that is jointly funded by federal and state governments and is available to Californian workers who are suddenly without a job, or have had their hours reduced due to no fault of their own. One example of someone collecting UI could be a worker who is laid off either temporarily or permanently. This worker could be eligible for partial wage replacement while they are actively looking for new work. 

Disability Insurance

Disability Insurance (DI) is another benefit funded jointly by federal and state governments and is available to Californias who are suddenly unable to work due to non-work related injury, illness, or pregnancy. Some workers may be eligible for partial wage subsidy during this time.

Who administers (or manages) these benefits

Both Unemployment and Disability Insurance are administered by California's Employment Development Department (EDD). The EDD seeks to help boost California's economic health by providing innovative solutions to support workers, employers, and job seekers. 

The EDD is who you will file your claim with, who will assess your eligibility, and who will then compute the benefits based on your personal employment information. To submit an Unemployment Insurance claim through the EDD, click here

Who are these benefits intended for?

There are certain eligibility requirements that must be met in order to receive either Disability or Unemployment Insurance. 

To receive disability benefits, a worker must meet a list specific criteria. Some of these requirements include:

  • Be unable to do your regular and customary work for at least 8 days
  • Have a job or be actively looking for work at the time fo your illness, injury, etc.
  • Have lost wages due to your disability

For a complete list of DI eligibility requirements visit the EDD.

To receive unemployment benefits, the worker must also meet a set of criterial. Some of these requirements include:

  • You must be out of work for no fault of your own
  • You must show that you have been out of work for a specific period of time. For example, someone who has been raising a family for years would not be considered eligible for this benefit. 
  • You need to prove that you are actively looking for work.

For more information on Unemployment Insurance eligibility, visit the EDD

How are these benefits computed?

For Unemployment Insurance, there are two types of base periods that are used to establish your claim:

  1. Standard Base Pay is the first four of the last five completed quarters before the start of your UI claim
  2. Alternate Base Pay comes into play if you do not have enough wages to establish a Standard Base Pay. With Alternate Base Pay, you are using the last four quarters to determine your benefit allotment.

In order for your claim to be valid, you must have earned at least $1,300 in one quarter or at least $900 in your highest quarter and have a total base period earnings of 1.25 times higher than your highest quarter earnings.

For Disability Insurance The EDD looks at your weekly benefit amount using a base period - either Standard or Alternate. This typically is about 60 to 70 percent of your earned wages before your claim start date over the 5-18 months prior. Eligible claimants can receive up to 52 weeks fo replacement wages. 

To get a ballpark estimate of your Weekly Benefit Amount, use the EDD's benefit calculator.

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