COVID-19 UPDATE: Because the coronavirus pandemic has left so many Americans jobless, the federal government has given states more flexibility in granting unemployment benefits. You’ll need to apply for these benefits through your state’s unemployment insurance program, but if you have questions about whether you’re eligible for benefits read our COVID-19 Unemployment Benefits and Insurance FAQ. Also, before submitting a claim in Massachusetts, be sure to check out the Massachusetts claimant handbook.
Massachusetts Unemployment Benefits and Eligibility
A guide to unemployment benefits in Massachusetts
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 lose their job 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.
As soon as you become unemployed, you should file for Massachusetts unemployment.
1. Collect your info first. You should 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. Make sure you have the following information ready:
- Social Security or alien registration number
- Your home address, mailing address, phone number, and 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)
2. File your claim. To apply for unemployment Massachusetts unemployment benefits, create a UI Online account. You can also apply for unemployment over the phone.
3. Wait for your benefits approval letter. 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 $823 per week for up to 39 weeks.
4. File an appeal if you were wrongly denied. If your application for Massachusetts unemployment compensation is denied, you can file an appeal within 10 days to have your case reconsidered.
5. Continue to file weekly claims. While receiving benefits, you’ll be required to file Massachusetts unemployment weekly claims. This verification proves you’re searching for new work and will ensure you continue to receive your benefits.
Once you’ve created your UI Online account, you can use it to do the following:
- Apply for UI benefits.
- Put in a request for a benefit payment.
- Check your claim or benefit payment status.
- Update personal information.
For phone services, the TeleClaim Center is open Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. You must call on an assigned day according to the last digit of your Social Security number:
- 0–1: Monday
- 2–3: Tuesday
- 4–6: Wednesday
- 7–9: Thursday
If you miss your day, you can file by phone on Friday.
Use the following numbers:
For other services
You can certify for your weekly benefits via UI Online or by calling the automated TeleCert line at 617-626-6338. The TeleCert system is available daily from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.
To check on the status of a payment, call 617-626-6563.
You can also request a callback from a customer service representative.
What are the eligibility requirements for unemployment benefits in Massachusetts?
Massachusetts unemployment laws require the following:
- You have legal authorization to work in the US.
- You’re unemployed or working significantly reduces hours through no fault of your own.
- You actively look for work every week.
- You’re willing and able to accept suitable work should it be offered to you.
- You earned at least $4,300 during the last four complete calendar quarters.
You earned 30 times the weekly benefit amount you’d be eligible to collect.
Individuals in the following occupations may not be eligible:
- Members of a legislative or judicial body
- Elected officials
- Government officials with advisory or policy-making duties
- Church staff
- Employees of certain other religious organizations
- Trainees in a program run by a public or nonprofit institution
- Independent consultants
Eligibility must be maintained for the entire time period you claim 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