Updated: California Unemployment Insurance Application Guide for Workers at App-Based Companies

March 17, 2020 -- Heather Appel

As you begin applying for Unemployment Insurance (“UI”) amid COVID-19 concerns, you may have questions about the application process. Below is information that may be helpful to people employed in California.

Please note, the information below is not intended to provide, and does not constitute, legal advice. It is for general informational purposes only. If you have a specific question about your situation, please reach out to a non-profit legal service provider.

Here is a list of documents or information to have on hand before you apply for UI:

  Your social security number

  The date you last filed for unemployment insurance, if you ever have

  Your driver's license

  Estimates of your total wages while you worked for Lyft, Uber, or other app-based companies

  The dates that you started and stopped with all companies for whom you performed work

  The mailing information for all of your employers for the last 18 months.

Download the full information sheet 


Download post-application information sheet here 

1. After you apply, EDD will send a “Notice of Unemployment Insurance Claim Filed” and a “Notice of Unemployment Insurance Award” that will list your employer and your past earnings. IMPORTANT: you should review these documents and correct any incorrect or missing information within 10 days by calling EDD (numbers below and in your letter).
You may need to send information about your wages to EDD. That information can be a bank statement, deposit records, or other summaries of wages from your employer.
2. EDD may then reach out to interview you about your claim. These interviews are mandatory if you want to receive benefits

  • During this interview, you will be asked by an EDD representative why you stopped working and you may be asked about how much money you’ve earned in the past.
  • You should truthfully state your reason for stopping work. Some examples of reasons workers may offer include being subject to a shelter-in-place order; a slow-down in work; or being at an increased health risk because of COVID-19 exposure.

3. After your interview, your claim may be denied, since some companies (or the EDD) may consider you an “independent contractor” or for some other reason.

  • IMPORTANTLY, if you are denied, you can appeal.
  • You will receive a letter from EDD (a “Notice of Determination” letter), where you can state the reason for an appeal. It is enough to write “I disagree with the decision. I wish to appeal.” and mail back the form (within 30 days) to the address listed on the letter.
  • Your appeal will then be set for a hearing where a judge will ask you questions about your termination. A representative from your company may be there.

4. Reach out to a legal service provider as soon as possible after you have sent your appeal, since  there may be other details about your case that will need to be reviewed.

5. If your benefits are approved, respond to all information requests from the EDD, especially information about how you’re searching for a new job. NOTE: if you plan to return to the same employer after the COVID-19 crisis concludes, you do not need to meet the usual requirement of looking for work while you are collecting unemployment benefits. The EDD will inform you if you are not required to look for work each week.



Many non-profit legal service providers may be able to help with your claim and are members of the Coalition of Low Wage and Immigrant Worker Advocates (www.cliwa.org).


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