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Mississippi Unemployment Benefits

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Mississippi unemployment insurance (UI) offers temporary financial assistance to workers in the state who have recently become unemployed. However, eligible candidates must have lost their jobs because of circumstances they could not control. Moreover, the program’s eligibility for unemployment requires recipients to be actively searching for work. UI applicants may use unemployment funds to support themselves and their families while they transition into new jobs. The Mississippi Department of Employment Security (MDES) is responsible for managing this public benefits program.

UI, which may also be referred to as unemployment compensation (UC), is funded by employer’s tax dollars. The program is broad, and enrollees may use these benefits to cover their basic costs of living. The subsequent sections will explain how to apply for unemployment online and how to claim unemployment benefits throughout the program. Similarly, additional sections will outline what documents claimants must prepare before their UI interviews and how to proceed if they are denied UC.

What is unemployment in Mississippi?

Unemployment insurance in Mississippi is only available to employees in the state who are without work due to situations that were not their fault. Furthermore, this program is available on a temporary basis. During a calendar year, candidates may only receive unemployment insurance benefits for a maximum of 26 weeks. Throughout an unemployment claim, the minimum weekly benefit amount (WBA) candidates may receive is $30. On the other hand, the maximum WBA the MDES will award is $235. Once the MDES determines that petitioners are eligible to receive unemployment insurance benefits, their claims are active for one year. However, candidates must remember that this does not mean they will receive compensation for a year. Even though the claims are active for 365 days starting from when petitioners file, they will not be paid benefits for more than six and a half months.

Once candidates file their UI claim and the MDES accepts them into the program, they will begin receiving funds. However, unemployment insurance benefits are not available until claimants file their second weekly certifications. Enrollees will not be paid during this first week, which serves as a waiting period.

What are the requirements to get unemployment in Mississippi?

Petitioners may wonder who qualifies for unemployment in Mississippi and whether their specific circumstances qualify them to receive benefits. The MDES maintains comprehensive prerequisites that candidates must meet before they enroll in UC. These eligibility for unemployment requirements relate to both the petitioners’ financial backgrounds and their employment histories. Regarding these non-monetary requirements, applicants must:

  • Be physically and mentally able to work.
  • Maintain an available schedule to work full-time.
  • Have lost their jobs due to reasons out of their control.

Regarding this third factor, MS unemployment insurance eligibility requirements have specific scenarios that would disqualify candidates from receiving UC. For example, candidates who left work due to personal reasons are ineligible to enroll in this program. Circumstances that fall under this category include a lack of transportation to and from work, conflicting class schedules or not having adequate family care. Furthermore, eligibility for UI requirements indicate that petitioners may not enroll in the program if they were fired due to workplace misconduct. Specifically, candidates are not permitted to receive UC if they deliberately violated company or employer standards. Furthermore, employees must have executed these actions with ill intent.

Unemployment insurance eligibility in MS also takes into account how much money candidates earned at previous jobs. In order to calculate applicants’ financial eligibility for UC, the MDES assesses how much income the petitioners earned during their base periods. A base period for a UI claim consists of the first four of the last five finished calendar quarters. If petitioners apply at the end of a calendar quarter, that quarter is also omitted in this equation. Once the MDES establishes a base period through which it will evaluate candidates, the department examines how much income petitioners earned. To meet the necessary qualifications for unemployment, candidates must have:

  • Worked during at least two separate quarters throughout the base period.
  • Earned $780 or more during their base periods’ highest quarter.
  • Earned at least 40 times their WBAs during their base periods.

How can I sign up for unemployment in Mississippi?

Candidates must submit a claim in order to apply for unemployment benefits in MS. Specifically, claimants must file an online application for unemployment or submit their materials over the phone. In addition, candidates with limited access to the internet may file their claims in person. To file for an unemployment claim, petitioners may also visit a WIN Job Center. Regardless of which method they utilize, workers must prepare the following information:

  • Proof of identity – Applicants must report their Social Security Numbers to the MDES when filing their UI petitions.
  • Alternative forms of identification – Non-citizens who are legally authorized to work in the United States must submit their Alien Registration Numbers or visa details.
  • Contact information – UI candidates need to provide their mailing addresses and phone numbers when submitting their applications.
  • Employment history – Petitioners are obligated to disclose their employment history for the past 18 months. This information must include where the candidates worked, why they left these jobs and how long they were employed at these specific companies. In addition, candidates must disclose the addresses and phone numbers for each establishment.
  • Past earnings – Applicants must also include information from their pay stubs, reporting any wages they earned in each past employment opportunity.

Beyond these requirements, applicants who file for unemployment and held specific jobs must submit additional information. For example, former military members must give the MDES their unedited Member-4 copy of the DD Form 214. Similarly, former federal workers must submit either the SF-50 or SF-8.

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

The unemployment phone interview in Mississippi is an important part of certain claimants’ application process. However, the MDES does not always require this step. The UI phone interview is necessary in situations when petitioners’ applications raise concerns among evaluators. Most often, the MDES simply needs more information regarding why applicants are unemployed. Even though this step of the application process is fairly common, candidates must still take time to prepare for the unemployment insurance interview. These conversations play an important role in the MDES’ evaluation process.

Being required to participate in a MDES unemployment interview with claimant does not automatically indicate that petitioners’ applications will be rejected. However, this does signal that claimants’ applications are not fully completed. In instances when the MDES must confirm information relating to the reasons behind joblessness, the department may conduct an unemployment interview with employer. While these appointments may cause stress for both parties, it is important for claimants and supervisors to just focus on reporting facts. Many may wonder how to pass the unemployment insurance interview, but this is irrelevant. The UC phone interview is evaluated alongside other information. Furthermore, since the MDES assesses these conversations in tandem with other factors, interviews are not judged on a pass/fail basis.

It is imperative for claimants to gather helpful information before these interviews. In order to prepare for the UI phone interview, it would be beneficial for candidates to gather the following documents beforehand:

  • Emails and requests the candidates sent to their supervisors or their respective human resources departments. These documents are particularly relevant if they address workplace concerns and demonstrate any effort applicants took to preserve their positions.
  • Exit interview notes taken during applicants’ final conversations with their human resources departments. The claimants may reference this information during their interviews with MDES.
  • The employee handbook and any other contractual agreements the applicants signed during their employment. These documents are especially useful if petitioners must defend or address their behavior in regard to any specific office policies.

How do I claim unemployment benefits in Mississippi?

In order to claim unemployment benefits in Mississippi, petitioners must ensure that they meet the state’s weekly requirements. Each week they receive benefits, candidates are required to certify their unemployment benefits claim. In general, enrollees choose to claim their benefits online. Specifically, claimants must report the following information:

  • Gross income – Enrollees must report their gross incomes for the weeks during which they are claiming UC benefits. This means that claimants are responsible for telling the MDES how much money they made before deductions each week they receive program funds.
  • Work registration – In order to receive UI, petitioners must register for reemployment services in the state. In particular, beneficiaries must register with the WIN Job Center. Representatives at these career centers answer claimants’ job search questions and help connect them with work opportunities in their fields.
  • Work availability – When first applying for UC, petitioners must report whether or not they are physically able to work. Applicants must recertify this claim each week they receive UI benefits. Furthermore, enrollees must attest not only that they are able to work, but that they are willing and committed to finding new employment opportunities.

Before claiming benefits for unemployment in Mississippi, petitioners must also be sure to meet the state’s work search requirements. In addition to registering to work with their local WIN Job Centers, petitioners must contact three potential employers each week. Furthermore, recipients must make these contacts in an effort to find work. Each week, claimants must record their work search efforts by sending a summary of their tasks to the MDES.

To properly maintain a UC benefits claim, petitioners must outline:

  • Contact information – Enrollees need to disclose who they contacted, what companies these employers work for, as well as the organizations’ addresses and phone numbers.
  • Method of contact – Beneficiaries must explain how they contacted these potential employers. Examples of methods include emailing, faxing, speaking in person, calling on the phone or submitting an online form.
  • Submission confirmations – When UI recipients apply for jobs online, they must save and show these receipts of submission to the MDES. Therefore, candidates must be sure to print or store any confirmation emails and other electronic acknowledgements of receipt.
  • Work search detail – Simply searching for jobs or editing resumes do not fulfill the program’s weekly work contact requirement. However, these tasks are still critical to the job search process. As a result, enrollees should document these supplementary tasks and report them in each week’s log.

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

When denied unemployment in Mississippi, claimants have extensive opportunities to appeal these decisions. Likewise, employers who disagree with the DMES’ evaluations may also appeal to have a judge reconsider the department’s determinations. In general, applicants have 14 days from when the MDES filed their determinations to submit a denied unemployment benefits appeal. Applicants may submit this request:

  • In-person at a WIN Job Center.
  • Over the phone to a MDES representative.
  • By mail or fax to the MDES Appeals Department in Jackson.
  • Online via the MDES’ site.

After filing an unemployment denial appeal, an administrative law judge (ALJ) will schedule hearings with the participating parties. These conversations are generally conducted over the phone. During these hearings, employers and claimants may submit additional evidence and request witnesses to support their cases. Either party may also bring legal representation. The ALJ will examine all evidences and produce a written determination within two weeks from the hearings’ ends. If any participants disagree, they may appeal to the Board of Review.

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

Congress may authorize a federal unemployment extension in Mississippi when there are great numbers of workers in the state who are unemployed. The federal government may also enact an unemployment benefits extension nationally if workers are without work on a widespread basis. When available in Mississippi, enrollees who have already received 26 weeks of UI benefits during a calendar year may collect funds for 13 additional weeks. However, an unemployment extension is not common. As a result, enrollees should not rely on receiving an unemployment compensation extension if they have almost exasperated their benefits for the year.

How do I contact the Mississippi unemployment office?

There is a Mississippi unemployment office in most major cities in the state. These centers connect claimants, enrollees and employers with information about the state’s UC program during any stage of their claiming processes. In addition to maintaining a phone line, individuals may visit each unemployment office with their specific questions. The MDES UC office in Jackson is located at:

1235 Echelon Parkway

Jackson, Mississippi 39213

In addition to visiting this unemployment office, participants may also direct their inquiries to the state’s WIN Job Centers. The WIN Job Center in Jackson is at:

5959 I-55

Jackson, Mississippi 39213


How can I get help looking for a job in Mississippi?

The Mississippi Department of Employment Services (MDES) helps individuals who apply for unemployment benefits find a job in the state of Mississippi. You can register to start a job search by calling 1-888-844-3577 or 601-855-3133 or you can search for the nearest job center by visiting

Who pays for unemployment benefits?

n Mississippi, all of the unemployment benefits are paid in taxes by employers.

What information do I need in order to apply for unemployment?

The following information must be presented when applying for unemployment:

Your Social Security number

Your address and phone number

The names, addresses, and phone numbers your past employers for the last 18 months

The dates you worked for your past employers

The reason you left your last employer

Your Alien Registration number or Visa number, if you are not a U.S. Citizen.

How long does it take to get paid?

Your first benefit payment should arrive shortly after you have filed your 2nd weekly certification. As in most states, Mississippi has a waiting period which is the first week after submitting your unemployment claim. That week is not paid and is used to determine your eligibility.

What is the WIN Job Center?

WIN Job Centers are service centers which offer resources focused on individuals who are looking for jobs. All individuals who are applying for unemployment benefits in Mississippi are required to register for work with the WIN Job Center.

Mississippi Unemployment Office Locations