What You Need To Understand Before Filing a Claim For Unemployment Insurance Benefits: SBP vs. ABP

In April 2012, California's Employment Development Department (EDD) implemented the Alternate Base Period (ABP) program in accordance with California law to compute unemployment benefits. Under certain circumstances, the ABP program requires the EDD to use more recently earned wages to calculate monetary eligibility for new Unemployment Insurance (UI) claims. The ABP provisions only apply to unemployed individuals who do not qualify for a UI claim based on the current Standard Base Period, but monetarily qualify for a UI claim based on the Alternate Base Period. The current “Standard” Base Period (SBP) is the first four of the last five completed calendar quarters prior to the beginning date of the UI claim. The “Alternate” Base Period is the four most recently completed calendar quarters. Again, the ABP can only be used to file a UI claim when there are not enough wages earned in the SBP to file a monetarily valid UI claim, and there are enough wages in the ABP. Thus, the date you file a claim can detrimentally impact the amount of your benefit. On a case-by-case basis back-dating a claim or waiting to file for benefits could mean maximizing benefits.

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