Unemployment Insurance Benefits for Federal Employees
Impacted by the Federal Government Shutdown

Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits are available to eligible federal workers who are furloughed or who continue to work without a paycheck as a result of the federal government shutdown that began on Saturday, December 22, 2018.

Unemployment Insurance is paid for by your employer and provides temporary partial income replacement ranging from $40 to $450 per week. The quarter in which you were paid the highest wages during the base period determines your weekly benefit amount (WBA). The maximum benefit amount is 26 times the WBA or one-half of the total base period wages, whichever is less.

With the support of Governor Newsom, the California Employment Development Department (EDD) is doing everything possible within the law governing eligibility requirements of the UI program to provide some financial relief in the form of UI benefits to eligible federal workers furloughed or working without pay through no fault of their own. This includes streamlining the processing of claims for impacted federal workers.

How to Apply

Apply for benefits by calling the EDD’s dedicated phone line for federal workers at 1-855-327-7056, Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 12 noon. If you have been issued a SF 8 or SF 50 by your federal employer, have that form available when you call.

You may also download the Unemployment Insurance Application (Federal Employee), DE 1101IBD, at https://www.edd.ca.gov/Unemployment/Filing_a_Claim.htm. Complete, sign, and fax the form to

1-866-215-9159. It may also be mailed to:


PO Box 12906

Oakland, CA 94604-2909

Important: All claims are reviewed on a case-by-case basis to determine eligibility to receive UI benefits. Claims may be backdated to the week when you were first impacted by the shutdown, but no earlier than December 23, 2018 (the first week of the shutdown).

After You File

You will be mailed important information about your claim, the UI program, and your first Continued Claim Form, DE 4581 to request benefit payments.

How to Request Benefit Payments

To request benefit payments, you must provide eligibility information to the EDD every two

weeks. This is known as certifying for benefits. The fastest way to certify is through UI OnlineSM at www.edd.ca.gov/UI_Online. This online system is the most convenient way to certify for benefits and get your latest claim and payment information.


You may also certify for benefits by phone using EDD Tele-CertSM at 1-866-333-4606, or by mailing the completed and signed Continued Claim Form, DE 4581. Allow 10 days for processing if sending your form by mail.

For information on how to answer the certification questions, refer to the booklet, Unemployment Insurance Benefits: What You Need to Know, DE 1275B that was mailed to you, or visit the EDD website at https://www.edd.ca.gov/unemployment/Certifying_for_Benefits_Process.htm.

If you are working, but not receiving a paycheck, answer “no” to question 6 on the Continued Claim Form, DE 4851. You do not have to report earnings from the federal government because it is unknown if you will receive back pay. However, if you are working and earning wages from an employer other than the federal government, you must report those gross wages by answering “yes” to question 6 and providing the required wage and employer information.

How Are UI Benefits Paid?

The EDD issues benefit payments using the EDD Debit CardSM. This electronic method is a fast, safe, and secure way to get your benefit payments.

The EDD Debit Cards are valid for three years from the date of issue and are issued by Bank of America once your first payment has been authorized. If you have an unexpired EDD Debit Card from a previous Disability Insurance, Paid Family Leave, or UI claim, you will not be mailed a new card. If your card has been lost or misplaced, contact Bank of America EDD Debit Card Customer Service at 1-866-692-9374 or 1-866-656-5913 for TTY users.

Payment information is updated daily and is available through your UI Online account at www.edd.ca.gov/UI_Online or by calling the UI Self-Service Phone Line at 1-866-333-4606.

Repayment of UI Benefits

If you collect UI benefits and later receive a retroactive payment from your employer for the same time period, you are required to repay the UI benefits received. The EDD will mail you a notice of overpayment indicating the total amount due. You may repay the benefits by Automated Clearing House (ACH) debit, credit or debit card, or by mail. You may also set up a repayment plan by calling the EDD Benefit Overpayment Collection Section at 1-800-676-5737.

What Happens When the Shutdown is Over?

Once you return to full-time work, do not submit your continued claim forms and your claim will become inactive. If you are partially unemployed, you may continue to receive partial UI benefits by submitting your continued claim certifications online, by phone, or mail. However, you must report your gross wages in any week when you work.

If you become unemployed within one year from the date that you filed your claim, you may reopen your claim through UI Online or by phone, fax, or mail.

The EDD is an equal opportunity employer/program. Auxiliary aids and services are available upon request to individuals with disabilities. Requests for services, aids, and/or alternate formats need to be made by calling 1-866-490-8879 (voice). TTY users, please call the California Relay Service at 711.

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