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 Minnesota, be sure to check out Minnesota’s claimant handbook.
Minnesota Unemployment Benefits and Eligibility
An overview of Minnesota’s unemployment benefits
Minnesota’s Unemployment Insurance Program, overseen by the Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED), partially replaces wages for individuals who find themselves out of a job at no fault of their own. It is also referred to as Unemployment Insurance Minnesota or UIMN.
These benefits replace income while an individual is not working and in search of a new job, stabilizing and stimulating the local economy and the individual as they look for work. Unemployment insurance payments are supplemented by job search services offered at no cost through Minnesota’s UI Program.
You should file a Minnesota unemployment application as soon as you are terminated from your job. Because the process can take several weeks, it is important to get started as soon as possible.
1. During the Minnesota unemployment application process you’ll need to supply the following information:
- Mailing address and phone number
- Driver’s license or other government issued identification number
- Social Security number
- Employment history for the past 18 months—employer name, address, and telephone number, dates of employment (month/year), wage rate, reason you stopped working there
2. You can file your unemployment claim online through Minnesota’s UI website. UIMN also offers limited phone and TTY service if needed.
3. After up you file a Minnesota unemployment application, know that there is a waiting period of up to three weeks. After this time, if approved, you can begin receiving benefits. Note: Due to the increased volume of claims during the COVID-19 pandemic, wait times may take longer than usual.
4. If you have been approved, your Minnesota unemployment compensation will be delivered weekly. You can receive up to $740 per week depending on how much you made while previously working.
5. Minnesota unemployment laws require you to provide proof that you’re searching for new work. This can be done online through the Minnesota unemployment website or over the phone. DEED maintains a list of industries and businesses that are hiring during COVID-19.
6. As long as you are submitting Minnesota unemployment weekly claims, you can continue to receive benefits for up to 26 weeks (plus any additional federal benefits). After this time, your benefits expire and you’ll need to have found new work.
Minnesota unemployment applications are accepted Sunday through Friday, 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. You should apply for unemployment online as soon as you become unemployed or your work hours are reduced significantly. You must apply on the day of the week that corresponds with the last digit of your Social Security number:
- Last digit is 0, 1, or 2: Monday
- Last digit is 3, 4, or 5: Tuesday
- Last digit is 6, 7, 8, or 9: Wednesday
If you miss your assigned day, you can file on Thursday or Friday.
Minnesota offers limited phone support for unemployment claims filing. You can reach a customer service representative with questions about your application on Fridays between 8:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. at the following numbers:
Customer service lines are open Monday through Friday with limited hours for application assistance. Call between 8:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. on Friday for help filing a claim. Weekday customer service hours vary for questions about claims payments, passwords, and account access.
Online assistance can be accessed at //uimn.org/applicants/help-support
You can also receive assistance by visiting one of several Minnesota unemployment office locations.
What requirements do I need to meet to qualify for unemployment benefits in Minnesota?
To receive Minnesota unemployment benefits you must fulfill all of the following Minnesota unemployment eligibility criteria:
You must have earned enough money during your base period.
How much money you receive in Unemployment Insurance benefits is determined by wages earned within a span of time called a base period. In Minnesota, your base period is a span of 1 year (52 weeks). All wages—including bonuses, severance pay, commission, vacation pay, and overtime pay—earned in any state are included in total wages earned.
You must have legal authorization to work in the United States.
You’ll need to provide documentation that you’re authorized to work in the US.
You must be out of work at no fault of your own.
In Minnesota, any individual out of work for a reason other than lack of work (layoff) will be guided through a process to determine eligibility for unemployment benefits:
- You’ll answer questions on your application as to why you became unemployed.
- Your employer answers the same questions.
- UIMN compares the answers to determine Minnesota unemployment eligibility.
- UIMN mails both you and your employer a determination outlining whether or not you’re eligible.
Maintain an active job search while receiving benefits.
Individuals receiving state of Minnesota unemployment benefits must engage actively in weekly job search activities geared toward finding a suitable position to fit your experience, training, skills, and physical and mental capabilities. DEED maintains a list of industries and businesses that are hiring during COVID-19.
Active job search activities may include improving your resumé, seeing a job counselor, attending a work skills workshop, taking a career exploration assessment, and more. You’re expected to find and apply to appropriate job openings on a weekly basis and will be asked to report these activities in your Minnesota unemployment weekly claims report.
Be able and willing to accept a suitable job offer.
Only individuals who are ready to accept suitable work should it be offered to them are entitled to receive unemployment payments in Minnesota. Some examples of individuals who are not able to accept work:
- Anyone without necessary arrangements for family care or transportation
- Anyone unable to accept normal and reasonable conditions of employment, such as wage, hours/schedule, and commuting distance
- Anyone not mentally or physically able to accept work (individuals on disability are not eligible for unemployment benefits)
- Anyone on vacation or traveling outside of commuter distance (since you’re unable to accept work, benefits will not be paid during this time but may resume once you return home)
- Anyone in jail or prison or subject to electronic home monitoring
- Anyone in school who does not intend to quit classes in order to begin a new job immediately
What can affect my Minnesota unemployment insurance benefits?
To keep your Minnesota unemployment benefits eligibility, you must maintain eligibility each week you receive benefits. The following may affect eligibility or cause adjustments to the benefit amount you receive:
No longer meeting weekly eligibility requirements
You must maintain all points of eligibility to continue receiving benefits. If you get a seasonal or part-time job with an income threshold that still qualifies you for benefits, you must maintain an active job search. Receiving some income does not make you exempt from job search eligibility requirements. Additionally, if you have or develop a medical condition that prevents you from working, you’re no longer eligible for benefits.
Working/earning wages while receiving benefits
In your Minnesota unemployment weekly claim, you’ll be asked whether or not you worked during that period and the wages you earned. Though earning an income does not immediately disqualify you from receiving benefits, your Minnesota unemployment rate will likely be reduced if you earned wages during that period.
Fraud and payment errors
If you make a mistake on your weekly Minnesota unemployment claim, you should contact the Minnesota unemployment department. Your benefits will be adjusted accordingly and there will be no penalty. If you discover that you have made a mistake during the Minnesota unemployment claim filing process, you should contact the unemployment department as soon as possible.
Unemployment benefit accounts are selected at random each week for audit. Should someone find that you intentionally provided false information, made a false claim, or failed to report a mistake on your claim, legal action can be taken. Minnesota unemployment insurance fraud is not to be taken lightly and can result in criminal charges and even jail time.
Under federal and Minnesota unemployment laws, unemployment benefit payments are categorized as taxable income. You can adjust your tax withholdings by logging into your online account or calling the customer service line appropriate for you.
If you have not repaid an overpayment of Minnesota unemployment benefits, or benefits from any state, UIMN will deduct 50% to 100% of your payments to pay off the balance you owe.
Individuals who owe child support in the state of Minnesota or another state will have the payment amount deducted from your benefits payment. The money will then be sent to the appropriate county child support agency where the payments are owed.
Certain application items, such as a reason for leaving employment other than a layoff or the reporting of other income may result in a pending application status until those items are investigated and eligibility is verified. You will not receive benefit payments while there is a pending status on your account.
Receiving other income from one or more of the following sources may affect your benefits:
- Severance pay
- Paid time off: vacation, sick, personal time off (PTO)
- Paid 401K or pension
- Social security
- Worker’s Compensation
- Back pay
Receiving other income from one or more of the following sources will not affect your benefits:
- Income tax and property tax refunds
- Supplemental Social Security income (SSI) and survivor’s or dependent Social Security benefits
- Investment income (including personal IRAs)
- Spousal or child support payments paid to you
- Jury duty pay
- Volunteer service as a firefighter or ambulance service personnel
- Service in a US military reserve unit or the National Guard
- Rental income from property you own, unless this is your main occupation
Individuals earning self-employment income are eligible for UI benefits if they work less than 32 hours in a week, are actively looking for work as an employee, and are willing to adjust their schedule or quit self-employment work to accept another job. Individuals who meet these Minnesota unemployment qualifications will still have 50% of their benefit payment deducted because they are self-employed.
Traveling outside your commuting area makes you ineligible to receive UI benefits during the time of travel since you’re unable to immediately accept reasonable work should it be offered to you. To avoid fraud, travel should be reflected in your weekly benefit claim. Your benefit payment will be adjusted to cover days you were traveling or out of your commuting area within the claim period.
Going to school
Claimants taking classes at a higher education institution are eligible to claim Minnesota unemployment benefits if they are willing to drop or adjust their school schedule should they be offered reasonable employment that interferes with a current class schedule. Students who are not willing to alter their course schedule to accept reasonable employment are not eligible to receive benefits. For example, a full-time college student is not likely eligible for benefits, but a student taking a supplemental course at a community college may be eligible.
Owning a business
Generally, business owners who become unemployed from a business they own may only receive benefits for five weeks should they not have enough other employment history during the base period to establish a benefit account. You can find more information on Minnesota unemployment benefits for business owners online.
Can I appeal the decision if my Minnesota unemployment benefit claim is denied?
Minnesota Unemployment Insurance claimants are entitled to a fair and impartial appeal hearing should you want to challenge your eligibility determination. Appeals that are filed within a specified timeframe online through your application account or via mail or fax will be granted a hearing by an impartial Minnesota Unemployment Law judge.
Filing your Minnesota unemployment appeal via your online account:
- Log in to your account on the Minnesota unemployment website.
- Click “View and Maintain My Account” from the homepage.
- Click “Determination and Issuance Summary.”
- Refer to the “Determination of Eligibility and Decisions” heading and click “Issue Identification Number,” referencing the determination that you’re ineligible.
- Click “File.”
You may also file via fax or through the mail:
- Fax: (651) 205-4007
P.O. Box 4629,
St. Paul, MN 55101-4629.
When filing via mail or fax, you’re required to state who is filing the appeal, the reason for the appeal, the Issue ID, and your Social Security number.
If you disagree with the determination received at your hearing, you can submit a request for reconsideration within 20 days after the decision was mailed out. The same judge will review the decision again.
Should you wish to take the decision past a request for reconsideration, you may turn the case over to the Minnesota Court of Appeals.
How much will my unemployment insurance payments be?
After you apply, you will receive a Determination of Benefit Account document in the mail detailing your weekly Minnesota unemployment amount. You can expect to receive about 50% of your average weekly pay earned during your base period up to a maximum UIMN payment of $740.
Anyone filing a Minnesota unemployment claim who remains eligible for benefits can receive payments for up to 26 weeks. Depending on programs and funding available, you may receive a Minnesota unemployment extension of payments emergency state or federal funds.