Employment Development Department encourages individuals to apply for unemployment benefits

Standard one-week waiting period has been waived in wildfire and power shutdown areas, so people can apply immediately

SACRAMENTO – Following Governor Gavin Newsom’s waiving of the one-week waiting period to apply for Unemployment Insurance (UI), the Employment Development Department (EDD) is encouraging those unable to work due to several ongoing wildfires and extensive power shutdowns implemented across California to apply for benefits immediately, and utilize available EDD support resources.

Governor Newsom waived the standard one-week waiting period for obtaining UI benefits as part of his statewide emergency declaration due to wildfires in Northern and Southern California, as well as the utility-directed power shutoffs that have impacted millions of residents this month. The waiver allows eligible individuals impacted by fires covered under the governor’s disaster proclamation to be paid UI benefits for the first week they are unemployed providing them a full two weeks of benefits on their first payment.

“We strongly encourage anyone who lost their jobs or had their hours reduced due to the fires or related weather conditions and power outages to file an Unemployment Insurance claim as soon as possible,” said EDD Director Patrick W. Henning.

Those who meet eligibility requirements may receive benefit payments that will range from $40 to $450 a week based on their past earnings. Benefits are generally paid on a bi-weekly basis as long as the claimant remains unemployed and otherwise eligible.

The fastest way to apply for benefits is online. For more information, visit the Unemployment Insurance section of the EDD website or contact the EDD.

Additional EDD Resources for Employees and Employers

Disability Insurance (DI)

  • Provides partial wage replacement benefits to eligible California workers who are unable to work due to a non-work-related illness, injury, or pregnancy.
  • Individuals injured due to the fires may be eligible for DI benefits.Paid Family Leave (PFL)
  • Provides benefits to individuals who lose wages when they need to take time off work to care for a seriously ill child, parent, parent-in-law, grandparent, grandchild, sibling, spouse, or registered domestic partner.
  • Individuals who need to care for a family member injured in the fires may be eligible for PFL benefits.Employer Tax Assistance
    • Employers directly affected by the fires or power shutoffs may request up to a 60-day extension of time from the EDD to file their required state payroll reports and/or deposit state payroll taxes without penalty or interest.
    • Visit the EDD website’s Emergency and Disaster Assistance for Employers page for more information.Workforce Services/Job Assistance
      • EDD Workforce Services representatives will often be available along with other resource and service providers at Local Assistance Centers that may be established by state and local officials.
      • EDD representatives can provide employment-affected individuals with a wide range of job search assistance and employer support services, as well as other general support, referrals, and resources.
      • Individuals can also visit CalJOBSSM, California’s online job exchange system or visit a local America’s Job Center of CaliforniaSM. You can find the office closest to you through the EDD website’s office locator.


Monica Vargas

Monica is a Public Information Officer for the California Governor's Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES). She has been involved in the Aliso Canyon Gas Leak, Valley Fire, Butte Fire, historic drought, Oroville Dam Emergency Spillway Incident and 2017 winter storms. She previously served Cal OES as an analyst in international affairs, technology operations and executive staff support.

One thought on “Employment Development Department encourages individuals to apply for unemployment benefits

  • November 10, 2019 at 4:34 pm

    Is there a reason why the unemployment PAT system is not working! I have been calling since friday and systems were down. Tried to file my claim today, is Sunday and system has been down all day! I don’t see how this is any way funny at all. People are counting on that money. Unemployment is nothing but a headache to deal with and is a huge joke at that!


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