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Q&A | Your questions on unemployment, disability, and family leave answered

Applying for disability, unemployment or family leave can be confusing. ABC10 spoke to the state’s Employment Development Department to answer your questions.


If you’re missing work due to novel coronavirus (COVID-19), you may be eligible for benefits through the state’s Employment Development Department (EDD). 

ABC10 previously told you how to apply for disability, unemployment, or family leave during the coronavirus pandemic. Many of our viewers had additional questions about applying for benefits through EDD, so we reached out to the department for answers. 

Here’s what Barry White, public information officer with EDD, had to say about your questions.

This Q&A has been edited for brevity and clarity.  

What should I put as the reason for filing a claim?

People should choose the reason that most applies to their individual situation.

How soon after applying will claimants be contacted by someone with EDD? 

The EDD will schedule a phone interview with you if there are any questions about eligibility, the department’s website says. During this call, you can discuss your claim with an EDD representative and provide important eligibility information. 

The EDD will make a decision based on the available facts if you’re not available for a phone interview, according to the website. But this could result in the delay or denial of unemployment payments.

More information about follow-up interviews can be found here.  

How soon after applying will claimants begin receiving payment?

If a person is eligible, the EDD processes and issues payments within a few weeks of receiving a claim.

Are federal employees eligible for benefits? 

Unemployment compensation for federal employees provides unemployment compensation to former or partially unemployed federal civilian employees. For example, a federal civilian employee may have worked for the United States Postal Service (USPS) or the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). These claims are funded by the federal government and are subject to regular state eligibility requirements.

Unemployment compensation for ex-service members provides unemployment compensation to former service members upon release from active military service. These claims are also funded by federal funds and are subject to regular state eligibility requirements.

What if a person has two jobs, but only one has been affected by COVID-19?

Unemployment insurance (UI) is a wage replacement program. If a person is losing wages, they may be eligible for UI. However, that person is required to report any earnings from any other sources including those from other jobs, and that may affect their benefit level.

Are undocumented workers eligible for benefits?

EDD is processing current benefits claims filed due to being affected by the coronavirus using the established eligibility criteria.

For DisabiIity Insurance and Paid Family Leave benefits: Citizenship and immigration status do not affect eligibility.

For Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits:  To collect UI benefits, you must show that you were in satisfactory immigration status and authorized to work in the United States when earning the wages you used to establish your claim. You must also give proof that you are currently in satisfactory immigration status and authorized to work each week that you claim benefits.

The EDD verifies immigration status and work authorization through the Department of Homeland Security.

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