Massachusetts (MA) Unemployment Eligibility

Calendar Icon Updated February 26, 2019
Unemployment

Massachusetts unemployment benefits, explained.

The Department of Unemployment Assistance (DUA), which is a part of Massachusetts’s Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development (EOLWD) oversees the Unemployment Insurance (UI) program in Massachusetts. Benefits from the UI program serve as temporary income for those who become out of work at no fault of their own and remain able and available to work. Massachusetts unemployment eligibility depends on a few factors, including your work history and the amount of wages you earned while working in the state of Massachusetts.

How Unemployment Works in Massachusetts

And How To Get Unemployment in Massachusetts

  1. As soon as you become unemployed, you must file for Massachusetts unemployment, either over the phone, online, or in person through a Massachusetts unemployment office.
  2. Anticipate a waiting time of two weeks after submitting a state of Massachusetts unemployment application. From there, you will receive an approval or rejection notice.
  3. If your application for Massachusetts unemployment compensation was denied, you will need to file an appeal within 10 days to have your case reconsidered. 
  4. If you have been approved to receive funds, your Massachusetts unemployment amount — the weekly payment you receive — will be determined by how much you made at your previous employer. The maximum amount is $742 per week for up to 30 weeks.
  5. While receiving benefits, you will be required to file Massachusetts unemployment weekly claims. This verification proves you are searching for new work and will ensure you continue to receive your benefits.

What to do if you recently lost your job through no fault of your own in MA

Many individuals who recently lost their job may be unfamiliar with the Massachusetts unemployment claims process. These steps will help you get on the right track to receiving Massachusetts unemployment benefits should you be eligible:

  • Begin the Massachusetts unemployment claim filing process as soon as possible after losing your job
  • File your claim online through UI online or through DUA’s TeleClaim Center
  • Have all necessary information ready before beginning your claim (See What information do I need to provide when applying for Massachusetts unemployment benefits? below)
  • Even if you received severance pay upon separation from work you may still be eligible for benefits. File a claim to determine eligibility.

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What are the eligibility requirements to qualify for unemployment benefits in Massachusetts?

Massachusetts unemployment laws require you to:

  • Have legal authorization to work in the U.S.
  • Be unemployed or working significantly reduces hours through no fault of your own
  • Actively be looking for work every week
  • Be willing and able to accept suitable work should it be offered to you
  • Earned at least $4,300 during the last 4 complete calendar quarters
  • Earned 30 times the weekly benefit amount you’d be eligible to collect

Individuals in the following occupations may not be eligible:

  • Member of legislative or judicial body
  • Elected official
  • Government official with advisory or policy-making duties
  • Church staff
  • Employee of certain other religious organizations
  • Trainee in a program run by a public or nonprofit institution
  • Independent consultant

Eligibility must be maintained every week you received benefits. The following can affect your Massachusetts unemployment benefits eligibility:

  • Refusing work, quitting or getting fired
  • Being unable and unavailable for work
  • Not actively seeking work
  • Attending school or training full-time
  • Beginning self-employment
  • Working while collecting benefits

What information do I need to apply for Massachusetts unemployment benefits?

It is important to gather all the necessary information and documentation needed to prove eligibility before you begin your claim. Claims missing information will not be filed and it will take longer to get your first benefit check. To apply for MA UI benefits you will need to provide:

  • Social Security or alien registration number
  • Address of where you live
  • Mailing address
  • Contact phone number
  • Date of birth
  • Most recent 15 months of employment history (employer name, phone number, reason for leaving, start/end dates, recall dates)
  • Social Security numbers and date of birth for any dependents
  • Union name and local number, if applicable
  • Email address (optional)
  • Bank account number and routing number (optional for direct deposit)

How do I apply for Massachusetts unemployment benefits online?

To make things easier for claimants, employers and staff, DUA uses UI Online, a web-based service, as a portal for claims processing and other services. Some of the services claimants can use this Massachusetts unemployment website for include:

  • Apply for UI benefits
  • Put in a request for a benefit payment
  • Check your claim or benefit payment status
  • Update personal information

To apply for MA UI benefits online:

  • Go to UI Online
  • Click Apply for Benefits
  • Type in your social security number when prompted
  • Follow instructions to complete and submit your claim

Eligibility Team

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