How to Prepare for an Unemployment Insurance Phone Interview With the EDD

The Employment Development Department (EDD) oversees benefits programs in California. Californians who submit an unemployment insurance (UI) claim can expect payments upon approval by the EDD. The approval process depends upon meeting the eligibility requirements outlined by the state. To certify that a claimant is eligible for UI benefits, the EDD may schedule a phone interview with that claimant. 

Why Does the EDD Conduct Phone Interviews?

Once you have submitted an unemployment insurance claim, the EDD will review your case. One crucial step in this review process is checking that you meet the eligibility requirements for the claim you have made. Eligibility for UI benefits require that a claimant is:
  • Within the threshold of earnings for their given Base Period;
  • Out of work due to no fault of their own;
  • Physically able to work if the opportunity arises;
  • Available for work if the opportunity arises;
  • Actively seeking work (exceptions made for COVID-19);
  • Ready to accept work if the opportunity arises.
If the EDD finds an issue in your claim concerning one or more of these requirements, you will receive a notice about a phone interview. This interview will consist of questions about your eligibility that aim to address the issue in your initial claim. This notice may arrive at any time during the claims process and even after your claim is initially approved. 
It is important to note here that if the EDD requests a phone interview, you need to take it. Failing to do so means that the discrepancy the EDD found in your claim may lead to a denial of your benefits. If you are unable to make the phone interview due to a scheduling conflict, you can reschedule with the EDD.

What Does the Phone Interview Cover?

In a phone interview, the EDD representative will ask clarifying questions to determine your eligibility for UI benefits. These questions will differ depending on the eligibility requirement that is in doubt for your particular claim. Sometimes the phone interview is required to simply address obscure or incomplete information reported on a claim. In other instances, conflicting information may lead to difficulty in determining eligibility. 
For example, differing accounts about the nature of a claimant's unemployment is a common occurrence that leads to a phone interview. In this situation, the EDD representative may have received a conflicting account from your previous employer about why you are no longer working. If that account indicates that you are out of work due to some fault on your part, the representative will ask you about this eligibility requirement. The EDD representative aims to clarify which account is most accurate, thus helping determine the eligibility status of the UI claim. 

Tips on How to Prepare for a Phone Interview With the EDD

The best way to prepare for a phone interview is to refer to the back of your phone interview notice. This sheet will list questions that the EDD representative will ask you during the interview. Each person who interviews with the EDD may have different questions because eligibility issues may differ. The EDD needs specific information pertaining to your case before it can make a decision on your claim. To best prepare for your interview, familiarize yourself with these questions beforehand, and create an outline for how you will respond.

Interviewing With the EDD: What to Do and What to Avoid

  • Be concise.
    Try not to ramble while answering your phone interview questions. These interviews are on a tight schedule, and you will want to have enough time to answer all the questions asked of you. At the same time, rambling may lead to more confusion or contradictions in your statements. Preparing your responses in advance can help you stick to the facts while in the interview.
  • Be polite.
    Try not to become irritated during the interview because this can be distracting and unproductive. Remember that the EDD representative is only trying to gain clarifying information to help make a decision on your case.
  • Be honest and consistent.
    Do not fabricate details or events when answering the interview questions. You should also refrain from guessing if you do not know an answer. False or misleading information may lead to a denied claim or may hurt you later during the appeals process.
  • Don't miss the interview!
    Again, it is important that you participate in the phone interview. Failing to do so can sabotage your claim for UI benefits. 
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