If you’re recently unemployed and think you might not qualify for unemployment money, you might want to reconsider. Some laws make it so you might be able to qualify, even if you quit. Read on to learn more.

Hi, this is Know Your Rights with Kyle Todd. And today I’m going to talk about filing for unemployment in California.

First, I’m going to go over the requirements for filing for unemployment. Then I want to talk about how the CARES Act has affected unemployment benefits.

Requirements to Receive Unemployment in California

To get unemployment benefits in California, there’s three requirements.

Number one is that you have to meet the salary minimum requirement. Now it’s a complicated formula, but in general, if you held a full-time job for most of the last year, you should qualify under the salary requirement.

Even if you held certain part-time jobs, but you were paid a higher hourly wage, you could still qualify. So if you’re not sure, I would encourage you to apply, to see if you get the benefits.

The second requirement is that you lost your job through no fault of your own.

Now that could mean you were laid off, but also what a lot of people don’t know is that you can get unemployment even if you quit, as long as you quit for a good reason.

Now, that could be you were being harassed or bullied at work, or you were being asked to work in unsafe or unethical work conditions.

Even if you quit, you may be able to get unemployment. And another thing people may not know is you may be able to get unemployment even if you were fired.

The law is a little complicated and it’s a case by case analysis. So if you’re not sure again, I would encourage you to apply even if you were fired, because you may still qualify.

Finally, to qualify for unemployment in California, you must be looking for work while you’re on unemployment.

Is it Too Late to File for Unemployment?

One thing people ask is, is it too late to apply for unemployment benefits?

Say you lost your job a month, two months, three months ago, and you never got around to filing, and now you finally need those benefits. It’s not too late.

There’s no deadline to apply for unemployment. The only thing you should consider is that the longer you wait, the less you’re going to get.

The CARES Act and Unemployment

Now, let’s go over how the CARES Act has affected unemployment.

So the first thing the CARES Act did was it added an extra $600 per week for unemployment benefits.

So in California, traditionally you can only get between $40 and $450 a week, depending on your salary over the last year.

Luckily under the CARES Act, they added $600 a week to that. So whatever your benefits would have been before the CARES Act, it’s just an added $600 a week. And so in California, that tops out at $1,050 per week, but it depends on how much you made over the last year.

Another thing the CARES Act did was it expanded benefits another 13 weeks. So in California, unemployment benefits typically only lasted 26 weeks maximum, now you can get up to 39 weeks of unemployment.

Another thing the CARES Act did was provided for unemployment benefits for self-employed and gig workers. So even if you weren’t formally employed by a company, or if you worked for yourself and now you’re out of work, you can still file for unemployment.

When to Contact our Legal Offices

Now, our firm doesn’t handle unemployment filings and that’s because these filings can be done without a lawyer.

What our firm does is we represent employees who’ve been harassed, who’ve been wrongfully terminated and had their wages stolen from them. So if you or anyone you know has those type of claims, you can contact our office.

This has been Know Your Rights with Kyle Todd. I appreciate you watching.

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