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Can I delay filing for unemployment in CA to change my base period?

by Mike

I was just laid off of a job that I have been at for 4 months (December 08 - April 09). Prior to that, I was on Worker's Comp for approximately 2 years after a back injury and having back surgery. If I understand the CA requirements correctly, if I file for unemployment comp now, my base period would be Jan 08 - Dec 08 and I don't think that I made enough in December to qualify. But - can I wait to file my claim in July (if I'm still unemployed, of course) and have my base period be April 08 - March 09? I believe that I would then be eligible, as I would have a full quarter of wages. If I cannot do this, do I have any other options considering I was disabled and on Worker's Comp - and couldn't work prior to my doctor's release in October?

Hi Mike,

Yes you can wait to file and you are the first person that has ever asked that question. I'm sure I've mentioned this all over the place, but nobody's ever asked about it:) Monetary Requirements for all fifty states can be found at the USDOL

If a person is not going to go belly up immediately, I think they should always consider the base period before filing. I know this goes against the typical advice of "file right away", but it only takes a few minutes to consider the implications .. especially if you received a large raise or started your job as a part-timer and then went full-time.

Your situation is one of the areas that make unemployment unequal from state to state.

Some states actually have alternative or extended base period options. The latter is specifically intended to help people in your precise situation, but California does have temporary disability unemployment insurance (this is what employees pay for with payroll deductions). California is one of only five states plus Puerto Rico that has such a program.

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Jan 28, 2013
Pregnancy DI-Base Period
by: Anonymous


If I file my claim in March my base period will be ending September 30th.
My question is this:
I started working at a full time job mid August 2012. This would mean my highest quarter in my base period would only have a month and half of wages. How is my benefit amount calculated from that month and a half?
Would I better off putting off my claim by a month so that my base period ended in Dec 31?
I am taking time off for pregnancy disability so if I do wait until April I will be losing a good 5 weeks of DI payments.

Any assistance/feedback would be greatly appreciated!!

Thank you!

Hi Anonymous,

By no means do I think of myself expert enough to explain how temporary disability unemployment insurance benefits work or how they are calculated .. because I know the formulas are different from reg. bennies.1

It's a unique possibility as the USDOL explains, for people with some sort of need for a medical leave from work .. in only six states.

However, if you read past the beginning .. there's a bunch of tables that outline how it all comes together for each of those states or US provinces:). California only requires #300 flat in the base period .. weekly benefits may be anywhere from $50 per week to 1,011.

So, although you shouldn't accept what I say as gospel or anythiing .. it makes sense to me that your weekly benefit amount would fare better if you can pull a full quarter into the base period to be your HQW .. as long but then, that schedule would be good to have .. because disability will end sometime and you'd want to make sure that waiting for a full quarter wouldn't be a wash if you just received the smaller WBA for the whole of your disability?

Hope I made some sense.

It reminds me of my husband and I going back and forth about when's the best time to take our social security benefits (fingers crossed) ..

Some say as soon as we're eligible because we'll get more over the long haul and if we wait ..we might drop dead before ever getting a dime.

Some tell us if we can/want to work .. then wait. We can at least count on enough to pay for groceries and the roof over our head .. ha ha I wonder how often that person goes grocery shopping :(

Mar 13, 2012
Denied extended benefits and seeking to appeal
by: MM

Hi Chris,

I failed to file for unemployment benefits (UB), and, due to that, the base period used to calculate my UB was the last quarter I worked. Because I only worked a few days in that quarter, this resulted in a maximum benefit and weekly benefit significantly lower than I would have gotten, had I filed for UB earlier.

I already ran out of state (CA) benefits and was denied extended benefits (EUC), because of the following: "you do not have earnings in excess of forty times your weekly benefit amount or 1.5 times the highest quarter in the base period of your regular claim".

I plan to appeal this decision, based on having waited to file for unemployment while I was actively looking for work and interviewing. I DID NOT KNOW how the base period was calculated and failed to file in a timely fashion, but feel that I have been wrongly penalized. My questions: 1) If I appeal, do I stand a chance to get a hearing?; 2) What would strengthen my argument in the appeal letter?


MM in LA

I don't think you stand a chance .. but I take absolutely, no pleasure in telling you .. this is just my lay opinion and who knows, a CA unemployment lawyer might tell you something different.

I really can't think of a thing that would strengthen your appeal .. because ignorance as an excuse .. is something I'm sure is covered somewhere in a CA unemployment precedent decisions.

Feb 02, 2012
If total benefits in RI are "36% of base period wages" would this be interpreted as 36% of *alternate* base period wages if applicable?
by: Unemployed In RI

I guess I should have made my question more specific.

Let's say that my "base period" earnings are $5000, but my "alternate base period" earnings are $10000. Thanks to the "alternate base period rule" in RI, I know that I qualify for benefits. But here's what I'm not sure about: total benefits in RI are "36% of your total base period wages" (broken down into a certain number of weeks, of course, but I won't quote all those rules). This hopefully means 36% of $10000, or $3600. However, it could also be taken to mean 36% of $5000, or $1800. Big difference!

Can anyone tell me anything? Thanks in advance.

I didn't answer the first time because I thought I provided an adequate explanation and a link to help you see that a base period is just the time frame used to apply the same monetary formula.

Jan 24, 2012
alternate base period used for computing benefit rate?
by: Unemployed In RI

I live in a state with an "alternate base period" rule -- which is good for me, since I don't think I would even be eligible otherwise.

Now, I would think this means that the alternate base period is also used for computing the benefit rate, but I can't find any webpages that say so explicitly. Can anyone tell me anything?



Any base period, whether standand, alternative, or extended .. is used to examine if sufficient wages earned during a specific 12 month period .. relative to the quarter of the year you first filed for benefits.

A base period's existence is to give the numbers to apply the benefit rate formulas.

There are only one of two different monetary qualifying formulas but that's x all the jurisdictions of unemployment .. which is 53 if you include the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.

The formula used is dependent on whether this if the first claim year or a 2nd subsequent claim year.

2nd year formulas will usually have lower earning eligibility requirements because they are looking at subsequent earnings made during the original claim year.

Because I confuse, even myself when I try to write out explanations about base period and the qualifying formulas .. it's better I just show everyone where all the information is for at least the 51 jurisdictions that visit this site.

Base Periods and Monetary Eligibility for Unemployment Benefits .. is at DOLETA

PS .. the information is still for the year 2011, however the government rarely gets these "chartbooks" updated before June or July of the current year.

Feb 01, 2011
How can I refile in this circumstance?
by: Anonymous

I must have filed too early. I got the paperwork that said my benefits was $0 and they sent me the claim forms with an expiration date of a year from now. Is it possible to wait and refile to include the wages of when I worked?

Let me ask you this. Do you think you should have wages in the base period .. which they do give you the dates for?

If your wages weren't 0 .. you should appeal .. if they were 0 .. you should wait another quarter and try to requalify.

Apr 30, 2009
Qualifying for unemployment when you don't have enough wages.
by: Anonymous

Chris - thank you so much for the information - I couldn't find any information anywhere that stated whether or not you could knowingly delay filing - everything I read just said that you should file ASAP. I just wanted to be sure that there wasn't a deadline to file - or that I couldn't be denied because I choose to wait.

I am also aware of CA Disability insurance, but I am no longer disabled, as my surgery was successful and I'm now doing well...just unemployed. Does unemployment ever take these types of situations in to consideration? If I were to file now, does the fact that I was unable to work prior to October hold any bearing on my eligibility for unemployment?

Thanks again for your assistance - it's truly appreciated!

Mike, as long as you are monetarily eligible when you file and are able and available for work while collecting and no other non-monetary issues are raised by an employer or yourself .. you're good to get benefits. A lot of people out there are being denied initially for not having qualifying wages in their base period. Those people need to wait a quarter and see if they can requalify, if they haven't found a job in the meantime.

You're right about the fact that most states tell a person they "should" file right away. But notice they don't use the work "must". I have noticed on a few state websites, information that addresses consideration of the base period as far as when to file, but they are the exceptions.

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