Unemployment Insurance: Eligibility Requirements–Past Earnings and Weekly Benefits

To be eligible for any unemployment insurance (UI) benefits, you will have to prove to the Employment Development Department (EDD), the agency that handles UI, that you meet the “past earnings requirement.” This requirement, which is based on the income you earned during the 18-month period before you apply for benefits, is described in detail in this Fact Sheet.

This Fact Sheet also discusses how EDD decides your “weekly benefit amount,” which is the size of your weekly unemployment check.

For further information about your employment rights, contact the Workers’ Rights Clinic.


This Fact Sheet is intended to provide accurate, general information regarding legal rights relating to employment in California. Yet because laws and legal procedures are subject to frequent change and differing interpretations, the Legal Aid Society–Employment Law Center cannot ensure the information in this Fact Sheet is current nor be responsible for any use to which it is put. Do not rely on this information without consulting an attorney or the appropriate agency about your rights in your particular situation.