Getting Unemployment Insurance as a U.S. Citizen in Hawaii

Unemployment Office

The unemployment insurance (UI) program is organized by the Department of Labor and Industrial Relations. The UI program provides temporary financial assistance to individuals who have experienced a sudden loss of income due to unemployment. If you have any questions regarding your UI claim, you will need to contact the Unemployment Insurance Division, as it handles all UI claims on behalf of the department.


To qualify for UI benefits in Hawaii, you must be completely or partially unemployed through no fault of your own. At the same time, you must be willing to work, physically able to work, and actively seeking employment. If you are working on a part-time basis, you can earn up to a maximum of $150 per week before a dollar-for-dollar deduction is applied to your weekly earnings; however, your potential weekly benefit amount cannot be less than your weekly earnings. In this case, you will not qualify for UI benefits. More importantly, you will need to file a “low-earnings claim” and submit a “weekly report of low earnings” in order to remain qualified for UI benefits.

Work Search Requirement

This condition requires you to register with the State Workforce Development Division (WDD). This is done to prove to the state that you are actively seeking employment while receiving UI benefits. As a result, you must also post your resume on “Hire Net Hawaii.” It will provide you with access to the most recent job offers in the state. Through this online database, you will also need to submit your work search records, and on it, you must record that you have contacted a minimum of three potential employers per week that you wish to receive UI benefits.

Monetary Eligibility Requirement

You must determine your monetary eligibility by calculating your total earnings from a specific 12-month period known as your “base period.” The UI Division will calculate your base period by using the first four quarters out of the last five completed quarters of the calendar year. In this period, you must have earned at least $13,500 to qualify for the maximum amount in UI benefits. Moreover, you must have earned wages in at least two out of the four quarters.


In Hawaii, you will not receive more than $534 per week or less than $50 per week in UI benefits. Your maximum and weekly benefit amounts will be determined based on your total earnings in your base period. Nonetheless, you can only benefit from the UI program for a maximum of 26 weeks per “benefit year” (52 weeks).

How to File a Claim

If you wish to file a claim for UI benefits in Hawaii, you must submit the application in-person at your nearest local office. You can also submit a UI claim by contacting the Hawaii Tele-Claim line at 1-877-643-5555. You will need the following personal details:

  • Social Security Number, address, and telephone number
  • Employment history from the last 18 months, which includes the names, addresses, and telephone numbers of all your previous employers
  • Dates of employment and the reasons for separation from the positions mentioned
  • Banking information if you wish to receive your payments through direct deposit


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