Massachusetts Unemployment Benefits

The Massachusetts unemployment compensation (UC) program can connect in-state workers with temporary financial assistance after they have lost their jobs. In order to claim unemployment benefits, applicants must be out of work due to circumstances that were out of their control. Moreover, they must be actively searching for new work opportunities. The Massachusetts Department of Unemployment Assistance (DUA) is responsible for overseeing this public benefits program.

UC, which is also referred to as unemployment insurance (UI), provides workers with financial assistance while they are without jobs. The sections below will explain the program’s eligibility for unemployment requirements. Furthermore, additional portions will outline what types of documents petitioners need to bring when they file their claims, where to apply and what to do if they are denied benefits.

What is unemployment in Massachusetts?

Unemployment in Massachusetts is a short-term program that individuals may enroll in for a maximum of 26 weeks. During this time, the highest weekly benefit amount (WBA) claimants may receive is $769. Applicants’ WBAs are determined based on how much money they earned during the period before they became unemployed. Thus, participants may use unemployment insurance funds to cover their living expenses. However, there are specific requirements enrollees must meet in order to maintain an unemployment claim. Even after the DUA approves beneficiaries to receive unemployment insurance benefits, these enrollees are responsible for maintaining their cases and meeting all UC stipulations.

What are the requirements to get unemployment in Massachusetts?

There are various eligibility for unemployment requirements that enrollees must meet in order to receive UC benefits. These stipulations relate to financial and non-financial matters. Regarding financial unemployment insurance eligibility in Massachusetts, the DUA examines whether applicants made enough money during their base periods to qualify for UI. Specifically, the department will check if applicants:

  • Earned at least $4,700 during their base periods.
  • Reported a total income that was at least 30 times their WBAs.

For UI purposes, the base period refers to the first four of the last five most recent calendar quarters that applicants have worked in. This calculation totals a year, and it also excludes the quarter when claimants apply for UC.

Qualifications for unemployment in MA also involve non-financial criteria. Specifically, the program examines:

  • Worker eligibility In order to receive UC, applicants must be legally eligible to work in the United States. Claimants who have valid work authorization must also demonstrate that they are physically able to accept full-time work.
  • Worker availability – A petitioner who qualifies for unemployment must be available to work full time. In other words, applicants must not have personal circumstances that prohibit them from working a 40-hour week. Examples of circumstances that could preclude applicants from being admitted to the program include school commitments or transportation issues.
  • Unemployment reason – Claimants must be completely unemployed or working reduced hours through no fault of their own. This means that enrollees must not have requested to have their hours shortened, been fired due to misconduct or quit for personal reasons.

How can I sign up for unemployment in Massachusetts?

Candidates may wonder how to apply for unemployment online, over the phone or in person. In Massachusetts, all of these options are possible. However, submitting an online application for unemployment in MA is the quickest method to apply for UC. Regardless of how petitioners apply, they must provide the following information:

  • Personal information – To complete a UC application, petitioners must submit their Social Security Numbers, phone numbers, addresses and birth dates. Candidates also have the option of disclosing their email addresses.
  • Employment history – The DUA requires applicants who file for unemployment to submit a detailed account of their employment history, spanning the past 15 months. Within this step, claimants must report many facts relating to their previous employers. Examples include their employers’ names, where the companies are located and office phone numbers. Similarly, petitioners must list their start and end dates with each establishment.
  • Reason for job loss When applicants apply for unemployment, they must disclose why they left their previous jobs. For each company they worked for in the past 15 months, petitioners must offer a reason for why they are no longer employed in each of those companies.
  • Recall dates – Workers who are laid off are sometimes given recall dates. A recall date refers to when workers may return to their jobs. If applicants have been laid off and have recall dates, they must report this information in their UC applications.

All petitioners who file for an unemployment claim are required to include this information in their applications. In addition, claimants who fall into these categories must submit the following additional information:

  • Non-citizens must report their Alien Registration Numbers.
  • Parents or guardians claiming dependents must provide their children’s birth dates and Social Security Numbers.
  • Military personnel are required to submit the unedited Member-4 copy of the DD Form 214.
  • Federal employees have the option of including their SF-8.

Finally, candidates who file for unemployment in Massachusetts must denote in their applications how they would like to receive their funds. The DUA distributes all funds electronically, either via direct deposit or through a state-issued debit card. When completing the unemployment registration process, applicants who elect to use direct deposit must include their bank names, as well as their account and routing numbers.

How do I prepare for the unemployment insurance interview in Massachusetts?

The DUA may request an unemployment phone interview with petitioners after they submit their applications. These conversations vary in length and by topic, but the unemployment interview with claimant in MA is an important step in the enrollment process. Interviews are necessary when DUA representatives notice potential areas of concern or ineligibility in petitioners’ applications. Therefore, candidates must prepare for the unemployment insurance interview and understand what they will be discussing with the DUA.

The questions asked during unemployment interview in Massachusetts vary on a case-by-case basis. In most instances, however, petitioners should expect to discuss the circumstances that led to their job loss. The DUA may also request an unemployment interview with employer, should it need additional background information before issuing a determination.

Instead of worrying, applicants must instead focus on gathering relevant information that will support their claims. In order to prepare for the UI interview, petitioners must instead:

  • Gather relevant documents. Applicants must have in hand any records that document the situations that led to their unemployment.
  • Showcase the efforts they took to keep their jobs. Petitioners must be prepared to show the DUA representatives any attempts they made to improve their work conditions or keep their jobs.
  • Be on time for the interview. Missing or delaying the unemployment interview may cause the DUA to reject the claimants’ petitions. In this instance, punctuality is equally as important as readiness.
  • Answer honestly. Candidates need to answer all of the DUA’s questions as honestly and with as much detail as possible.

 

How do I claim unemployment benefits in Massachusetts?

Claimants are responsible for maintaining their unemployment benefits claim in Massachusetts even after they have been accepted into the program. Every seven days they receive UI benefits, enrollees must request their weekly benefits. Recipients may do this over the phone or online. When petitioners submit their petitions to claim unemployment benefits, they must include:

  • Whether or not the candidates are still unemployed.
  • If the petitioners earned any income or other monetary benefits during the weeks they are claiming.
  • Any gross wages the claimants earned during these specific weeks.
  • If there were any circumstances that prevented the enrollees from working.

When claiming unemployment benefits in MA, candidates must also fulfill the program’s weekly work search requirements. The DUA requires all enrollees to complete at least three work searches every week they receive benefits. Additionally, beneficiaries must accomplish these tasks on separate days. To maintain their UI benefits claim, petitioners must keep a log of their efforts. On this log, enrollees must denote:

  • Who they contacted.
  • When they reached out.
  • Where the company is located.
  • How they made contact.
  • Whether or not their efforts yielded any results.

What do I do if I am denied unemployment benefits in Massachusetts?

When applicants are denied unemployment benefits in Massachusetts, they may either file an appeal online or through the mail. Regardless of which method they choose, petitioners have 10 days to submit their requests. Employers who disagree with the DUA’s decisions also have the right to file appeals. Once the DUA Hearings Department receives a denied unemployment appeal request, the department will respond by sending two notices. The first notice confirms that the state has received the appeal. The second letter is the Notice of Hearing. This document informs petitioners:

  • When the hearing will take place.
  • If the hearing will take place in-person or over the phone.
  • How applicants may prepare for the conversation.

During the unemployment denial appeal hearing, claimants and their former employers may submit new evidence for the state to review. Similarly, either party may have witnesses testify for them. Finally, either party may have a lawyer represent them throughout the trial. Once the hearing concludes, the Hearings Department will send its denied UI appeals decisions between two and four weeks. Depending on what the claimants selected beforehand, the candidates will receive these decisions either electronically or through the mail. If either the petitioners or the employers disagree with these determinations, they may appeal these decisions to the Board of Review.

How can I apply for a federal unemployment extension in Massachusetts?

During periods when there are many unemployed workers in a state or throughout the country, Congress may authorize a federal unemployment extension. When offered, the unemployment benefits extension in MA allows candidates to enroll in UC benefits beyond the state’s 26-week limit. These claimants must have already exhausted their claims. However, petitioners must remember that an unemployment extension is not common. As a result, beneficiaries whose claims are about to expire must typically look for alternative support besides a UC extension.

How do I contact the Massachusetts unemployment office?

An unemployment office in Massachusetts is located in various communities throughout the state. To contact the UI office, petitioners must either call or visit the location in person. The Boston unemployment office is located at:

210 South Street

Boston, Massachusetts 02111

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

When do I file an unemployment claim in Massachusetts?

No matter what state you are filing in, you should apply for unemployment insurance as soon as possible. The time between when you are fired and when you apply for unemployment benefits is not taken into consideration when you apply for benefits.

How can I contact the unemployment office?

You can contact the Maryland Department of Unemployment Assistance (DUA) by calling any of the phone numbers listed below:

TeleClaim Center (617) 626-6800

Monday-Friday 8:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m.

Voice Relay 711

Monday-Friday 8:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m.

TeleCert Line (617) 626-6338

To request weekly benefits, daily 6 a.m.–10 p.m.

Employer Customer Service Line (617) 626-5075

Monday-Friday 8:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m.

What happens if my employer protests my claim?

If you file for unemployment and your former employer protests the claim, your entitlement to benefits will be in question. Once this happens, your case will be reviewed and you and your employer may be contacted in order to provide information regarding the issue.

Massachusetts Unemployment Office Locations