The unemployment insurance (UI) program in Massachusetts is designed to provide temporary financial support and income protection to individuals who have lost their jobs. The program is supervised by the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development (EOLWD). However, the Department of Unemployment Assistance (DUA) is responsible for all UI claims (DUA).
Eligibility & Benefits
Eligibility for UI is determined on a case-by-case basis; however, some basic criteria must be met in order to submit an application. You must be unemployed due to no fault of your own, and you must be actively seeking employment for every week that you wish to receive UI benefits. As part of your application, you must report all of your wages prior to and during the period in which you are filing your claim.
The weekly amount of UI benefits you will be eligible to receive will be approximately 50 percent of the average weekly wage that you would earn through full-time employment. Despite this, one major factor that will affect your eligibility is your earnings during the 12-month period prior to the date your application is filed. This period is known as your “base period,” which is determined by taking the first four quarters out of the last five completed quarters of the calendar year. You must have been paid 30 times in your base period in order to be eligible for UI benefits. Alternatively, you must have earned at least $3500 in your base period if you had not been paid as many times as required.
In the state of Massachusetts, the maximum amount of UI benefits you can receive is $679 per week. This includes any dependency allowances you have been rewarded. In general, you can earn an additional $25 per week for each dependent in your household. If your spouse has been unemployed for more than three months or is pregnant, you can claim this individual as a dependent. Additionally, you can benefit from the UI program for up to 26 weeks in one benefit year, which is defined as a 52-week period. Before you can receive your first payment, you must serve the mandatory one-week waiting period. This means no benefits will be paid for your first week of unemployment.
How to File a Claim
The application process has been simplified for your convenience. You can choose to submit an application for UI benefits online or by contacting the TeleClaim Center at 1-877-626-6800. If you choose to use the automated telephone service, you will be directed to different automated systems depending on your request and the type of information you need to obtain. In either case, you will need to create a PIN code that will be used to verify your identity and provide you with access to information regarding your claim. Before you can start the process, you will need the following items:
- Social Security Number (SSN), address, and telephone number
- Personal email address
- Driver’s license or identification card
- Employment history from the last 15 months, which includes the names, addresses, and telephone numbers of all your previous employers
- Banking information if you wish to receive payments through direct deposit
- Name(s) of dependent(s)