unemployment claim: what happens if I didn't apply for any jobs?
August 2, 2010 4:06 PM   Subscribe

I browsed for but didn't apply to any jobs during the first two weeks of my unemployment claim because I was in a bit of a funk. I'm applying to jobs now. Need advice on filling out the biweekly claim form to send to the unemployment office (or other general advice) so I don't jeopardize the whole claim. This is in California.

On the claim form, if I check off the box saying I was looking for work, I need to fill out a job search record showing whom I contacted and when. During the two weeks that I was only browsing.

I don't care whether I get benefits for those two weeks (well, money is nice, but I don't particularly want to lie to get it), but I'm not sure what happens if I check off "I was not looking for work" or just don't send in the form for that period. I know that claims are tricky so I'm worried that telling them that I didn't send in any resumes in that period will cause problems with the claim going through or problems in eligibility for future weeks. Same with saying "I was too sick to work" or something (which I wasn't, really. Applying for jobs is much harder for me than just showing up somewhere to work.)

I have an unrelated phone interview with the unemployment office coming up to discuss my claim (apparently they had questions about the claim.)

So, main question: has anyone in CA checked off "no" to "were you looking for work" in their biweekly claim form, especially on your FIRST form (but also curious about other weeks)? Or just not sent in a form, especially a first form? What happened (assuming your claim was approved otherwise and you sent in claim forms saying "yes, I looked for work" with adequate documentation in subsequent weeks.)?
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Question: Are you sure you need to fill out the "Where I looked" bit? There is a box on the front that says, "if checked, you must fill out places you looked." But ONLY if your form came with that box checked.

I received Unemployment for probably 12 months or so aggregate and never once had that box checked. To be totally honest, I always just checked off "Looking" regardless of my actual efforts during those weeks.
posted by drjimmy11 at 4:22 PM on August 2, 2010

(My experience was also in CA.)
posted by drjimmy11 at 4:23 PM on August 2, 2010

Seconding Dr Jimmy, also in California.
posted by sacrifix at 4:40 PM on August 2, 2010

In Washington, if you don't look for work in a given week, you simply do not receive your UI benefits for that week. You are not disqualified from receiving it in further weeks. I can't imagine it would be any different elsewhere.
posted by kindall at 4:45 PM on August 2, 2010

Thirding Dr Jimmy, in CA as well.

You most likely don't have to prove you looked/applied for any work. In fact, on my first form, I filled out that section and had it sent back because I didn't need to fill it out. It's such a hassle having forms returned to you, so make sure everything is 100% correct.
posted by too bad you're not me at 4:51 PM on August 2, 2010

A few years ago I asked them whether browsing Craigslist qualifies as looking for a job, and they said "yes." Ask them when they call tomorrow, the person you talk to will know. Oh, and BE THERE when they call. You do not want what happens if you miss it.

What drjimmy says is true and I think most people don't have it checked, at least among those like you who look for their jobs online. If you're thinking you have to list places you applied at or sent resumes to, you probably don't.
posted by rhizome at 4:59 PM on August 2, 2010 [1 favorite]

As I was told when I went in for a mandatory Unemployment briefing: always check Yes I Looked For Work if you want your money. Even if you didn't.

Look for the box under that question. The one with the arrow pointing at it. ONLY if that box is pre-checked do you need to fill out the back.

If you don't send it in you don't get money for those weeks. You can start up again next round.
posted by wemayfreeze at 2:45 AM on August 3, 2010

I am on UI in CA.
one week, I browsed for, but did not aply for any job, because there were no jobs to apply for - that I had not already applied for.
I marked 'no' on 'did you look for work'.
I stopped receiving checks, and got a letter saying I was going to get a phone call.
When I got the phone call, a very nice, though exhausted-sounding lady from the EDD told me very plainly that even if I did not apply, I should mark 'yes' I looked for work.
EDD does not expect that I will always be able to find a job to apply for that week, but I am expected to look.
Dont mess with these people. If you do anything slightly wrong it will mess up the whole thing and its hard to get back on track. If you are like me, you need that money to pay rent & etc.
As previously stated, you only have to complete Sec B 'work search record' if that little box is marked X.
posted by saragoodman3 at 8:07 AM on August 5, 2010

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