Introduction

In New Hampshire, unemployment insurance benefits are administered by New Hampshire Employment Security, which provides temporary benefits for employees who are either partially or fully unemployed and meet all other requirements. 

All funding for unemployment insurance benefits are paid by employers.  New Hampshire employees do not pay any taxes for the state’s unemployment program. 

How unemployment works in New Hampshire

Here’s a quick overview of how the unemployment insurance process works in New Hampshire.

  1. Make sure you meet all benefit requirements before you apply.  Verify that you have earned enough wages, that you were let go from your last job from a qualifying reason, and that you meet all other requirements as well.   
  2. If you meet all benefit requirements, then you can apply for unemployment insurance.  You will need to apply online at the NHES website.  To file, log on to https://nhuis.nh.gov/claimant/.  It will take you approximately 20 to 30 minutes to complete your application. 
  3. Determining the amount of your benefit.   After you apply, you will receive a Determination letter in the mail detailing your weekly unemployment benefit amount. You will be paid for up two 26 weeks of benefits during your Benefit Year.  You will need to claim benefits each week that you expect to be paid.
  4. Conduct an ongoing job search.  You are required to look for full-time work while drawing benefits.  You are expected to find and apply to appropriate job openings on a weekly basis and will be asked to report these activities to help substantiate your ongoing claim.  
  5. You can file an appeal if you are denied benefits.  If you are denied benefits, then there are several possible appeal actions you can take to challenge your decision.

Eligibility requirements

To be eligible for unemployment insurance benefits in New Hampshire, you must meet all requirements as set forth by NHES.  These include: 

  • You must have lost your job through no fault of your own.  This can be due to a layoff, a lack of work, a plant closure, or other similar circumstances.  You can also still qualify for benefits in some situations if you are still employed but have experienced a reduction in the number of hours you are now working. 
  • If you quit your job, you may be eligible for benefits in some circumstances.  This may include if you were asked to perform illegal acts or to work in hazardous conditions. 
  • To be monetarily eligible, you must have earned at least $1,400 in at least two of your base period quarters or two alternate base period quarters.
  • You must report whether or not you received any vacation pay, severance pay, pension payments, workers’ compensation payments or if you worked in any other states during your base period.  This may have some impact on your benefit amount and when you may receive benefit payments.  If you do not report this information you could be charged with committing the crime of fraud. 
  • You must be available and conduct an active and ongoing job search campaign.  New Hampshire does not require that you complete a specific number of activities each week, but your efforts will be monitored as part of your claim.  As part of your job search activities, you are required to register with the New Hampshire Job Match System.  When you file your benefit application, a preliminary registration is automatically created. 
  • If you no longer live in New Hampshire, you must register with the state job service where you currently live.  If you do not search for work during a week that you file a claim, your benefits may be denied.  You are required to keep an accurate log of all your job search efforts and present them to NHES when required.
  • If you earn any wages, you must report them during the week that you earned them, whether or not you were actually paid during that week.  Failure to report is considered fraud.
  • You must file claims in a timely manner.  If you delay, you may be denied benefits for that particular week.

How to file a claim

Prior to filing a claim, you will need to gather several pieces of information, including:

  • Your Social Security Number
  • Address (home and mailing)
  • Telephone Number(s)
    Email Address
  • Alien Registration Number (if not a U.S. Citizen)
  • Military Form DD-214, member 4 copy, if in the Military during the past 18 months Form SF-8, if worked for the Federal Government during the past 18 months
  • Your work record for the past 18 months, including:
  • Company name and job location
  • Employer’s telephone number(s)
  • Date you started work
    Last day you worked
  • Reason for separation
  • Rate of pay
  • Details regarding any expected separation pay

Filing an initial claim

You can file an unemployment claim online from any computer with internet access.  This can be done at home, or on a public computer, such as at a library.  You can also use free computers at any New Hampshire Employment Security Local Office. 

To file, log on to https://nhuis.nh.gov/claimant/.  It will take you approximately 20 to 30 minutes to complete your application. 

After you complete your application, NHES will mail you a Determination of Unemployment Compensation.  This document will provide you information on your potential weekly benefit amount and the details about the employment used to establish your claim.  You may receive subsequent letters regarding some eligibility conditions.  You may need to provide additional information to ensure you meet these conditions so that your eligibility can be confirmed. 

Once approved, your claim will be active for one 52-week period.  You may collect up to 26 weeks of unemployment insurance benefits during that timeframe.

In New Hampshire, all initial claims are required to go through a Waiting Week.  This is the first week determined to be payable for any claim, and although you will not be paid for this week, you are still required to file a claim.

Filing weekly claims

After you file an initial claim, you will also need to file weekly claims for every week that you are unemployed and seeking benefits.  If you do not file continued claims each week in a timely manner, then you will not be paid any benefits.  You can log on and file weekly claims here.

How much will I be paid?

The amount of your unemployment insurance benefits are based on how much you earned in the months prior to your first claim.  NHES establishes a Base Period which is the four-quarter period prior to when you filed your first claim.  Your benefits are based on wages earned during that Base Period.  If you do not qualify for benefits based on base Period wages, then NHES will look at wages earned during an Alternate Base Period which uses the last four completed quarters before the effective date of your first claim. 

During these 4 quarters, you must have at least two separate quarters where you earned at least $1,400 in each to be monetarily eligible.  The chart below shows how much you can expect to be paid as a Weekly Benefit Amount (WBA), and what your overall Maximum Benefit Amount (MBA) will be.

When will I be paid?

After your initial claim is completed, it is immediately transmitted to the NHES Benefit Adjudication Unit for processing. Your monetary eligibility is determined and a Determination of Unemployment Compensation mailed that details your potential WBA (weekly benefit amount).


Depending on the number of questions about your claim, if any, you can expect to be contacted and/or receive a Determination of Eligibility within 30 days. If you are unemployed for any reason other than lack of work, more time may be needed to process your claim.

If you are found eligible, checks will be issued for any timely weeks filed at the same time the final non-monetary eligibility determinations are made.

Keep filing for weekly benefits while you are waiting for processing. You will only receive payment for continued claims that are filed timely.

Looking for a job while collecting benefits

To maintain your eligibility to collect benefits, you are required to be available and actively seeking a new job.  NHES does not require you to complete a specified number of job seeking activities in a particular week, but you will be expected to provide proof that you engaged in job seeking activities by keeping an accurate log of your efforts. 

You do not have to use a special form, but there is a pre-designed Job Search form to assist you under NHES website’s Forms and Publications section.

In addition to conducting your own job search, by law, you are required to register for the the New Hampshire Job Match System (JMS).

The JMS allows job seekers to conduct a job search using Internet spider technology to view jobs posted by employers and match skills to positions posted on national job boards and private industry web sites.  The JMS features a resume and letter builder to generate a new resume to be sent to employers.  Job seekers can also explore the regional labor market for information such as the average weekly earnings for a position or the fastest growing occupations.

NHES also maintains several local offices across New Hampshire which are part of the NH Works system.  Each office has a resource center that assists job seekers with a wide range of services, tools and resources.  Some of those resources include:

  • Computers to be used in your job search
  •  Job Match System
  • Internet access for use in connecting to employment related sites
  • Copy machine and Fax
  • Job search workshops
  • Telephones available to call local employers.
  • Television with DVD player
  • Hearing Helper Assistive Listening Device and other assistive devices
  • Staff to help with your job search and computer use

If you don’t live in New Hampshire but you are filing and collecting benefits from New Hampshire, then you must register for work in the state where you currently live.  However, if you live in another state, but you are still within 25 miles of a New Hampshire Local Office, you are still required to register with JMS. 

NHES Local Office Locations

BERLIN

151 Pleasant Street, 03570-2085

Telephone: 752-5500  

CLAREMONT

404 Washington Street, P.O. Box 180 03743-0180

Telephone: 543-3111

CONCORD

45 South Fruit Street, 03301-4857

Telephone: 228-4100  

CONWAY

518 White Mountain Highway, 03818-4205

Telephone: 447-5924

KEENE

149 Emerald Street Suite Y, 03431-3662

Telephone: 352-1904

LACONIA

426 Union Avenue, 03246-2894

Telephone: 524-3960

LITTLETON

646 Union Street, Suite 100, 03561-5314

Telephone: 444-2971

MANCHESTER

300 Hanover Street, 03104-4957

Telephone: 627-7841

NASHUA

6 Townsend West, 03063-1217

Telephone: 882-5177

PORTSMOUTH

2000 Lafayette Road, 03801-5673

Telephone: 436-3702

SALEM

29 South Broadway, 03079-3026

Telephone: 893-9185

SOMERSWORTH

6 Marsh Brook Drive, 03878-1595

Telephone: 742-3600

Mandatory workshops

During the time you are claiming unemployment benefits you may be required to attend one or more mandatory workshops. Failure to attend a mandatory workshop that you have been scheduled for may result in delayed or denied benefits.

Benefit Rights Interview Workshops assist claimants with the Unemployment Compensation process. NHES conducts group orientations on individuals’ rights and obligations under NH Unemployment Law, and a description of the services that are provided. This one-hour session is mandatory for all applicants who do not have a date to return to work within two weeks of becoming unemployed.  

Reemployment Workshops are designed to assist you in your work search efforts. There is a series of workshops including:

  • Job Search, Resumes, Job Application Do’s and Don’ts
  • Interviewing Workshop
  • Re-Energizing Your Job Search

Re-employment Services And Eligibility Assessment (RESEA) Program:

Some claimants may be selected for the RESEA program. This program is a mandatory program designed to assist you in getting back into the world of work. If you are selected for the RESEA program, you will receive the orientation as part of the Job Search, Resumes, Job Application Do’s and Don’ts re-employment workshop. After the workshop you will be scheduled for subsequent appointments every three weeks for a total of three appointments to discuss:

  • Review your completed weekly work search efforts.
  • Discuss barriers to employment.
  • Review job prospects and interviews.
  • Review and update your goals and objectives of the Employment Plan.
  • Generate job referrals and job development.

One-On-One Eligibility Review Interview (ERI):  During these interviews, your eligibility to continue receiving unemployment compensation will be reviewed and the work search records you have supplied when filing weekly claims will be reviewed.

At this interview, you may also receive or be referred to various re-employment services designed to assist you in your search for work. Failure to attend these meetings or follow-up on referrals may result in disqualification from receiving benefits.  

What if I am denied benefits?

You have the right to file an unemployment claim at any time but must meet all eligibility requirements to receive payment.  Some of the reasons why you could be denied benefits include:

Are you receiving unemployment benefits from another state or the federal government?

  • Are you able to work, available for work and actively looking for work?
  • Have you registered for work or updated your prior registration for work?
  • Did you file your claim(s) on time?
  • Did you attend all scheduled mandatory meetings?
  • Are you not working because of a disciplinary layoff or suspension?
  • Why were you fired?
    • Were you fired for misconduct connected to your work?
    • Were you fired for intoxication or the use of a controlled drug?
    • Were you fired for theft, arson, sabotage, felony, assault which causes bodily injury, or criminal threatening?
  • Did you decline to accept suitable work when offered?
  • Are you currently self-employed full-time?
  • Did you leave self-employment or close your business?
  • Why did you quit your job?  Did you quit your job for good cause that is attributable to your employer? Did you quit your job due to compelling family circumstances?
  • Were you involved in a strike or company lock-out (labor dispute)?

If you are denied benefits, your determination letter will list appeal rights at the bottom of the letter. If you or your employer disagrees with the results of the determination or decision, an appeal can be filed.  A deadline for filing the appeal is listed in the appeal rights.

There are multiple levels of the appeal process and you have appeal rights at every level.

  • Appeal Tribunal Hearing
  • Reopen request
  • Appellate Board
  • Reconsideration request
  • New Hampshire Supreme Court

Your appeal must be in writing. It must list what you are appealing and why you disagree with the decision. If you file the appeal beyond the deadline, include the reason you are filing late.

You can review the Claimant’s Guide to an Appeal Hearing and you can seek help with your appeal by contacting a Claims Representative. This person helps claimants with unemployment claim problems. This person also answers questions and gives advice about making the best case for a re-determination or for an appeal hearing. Under special circumstances, the Claims Representative may accompany you in the appeal hearing.

The Claims Representative may also review Department determinations to make sure that benefits have been properly processed according to law and rule.

The Claims Representative is not a lawyer, and if you want legal advice or representation, you should contact an attorney or NH Legal Assistance.

To speak to a Claims Representative, call: 1-800-685-6588 or (603) 228-4017.

Key terms

Base Period – The 52-week period used to determine what level of unemployment benefits you will be paid.  In New Hampshire, it is the first four of the last five completed quarters.  There is also an Alternate Base Period that is used if claimants do not meet minimum wage standards during their Base Period.  It is the last four completed quarters.

Benefit Week – This is the seven day period that starts on Sunday at 12:01 am and ends on Saturday at midnight.

Benefit Year – The 52 week period that starts when you file an initial claim for benefits.  The amount of benefits you can be paid is framed within this defined period of time.

 NHES – New Hampshire Employment Security.  This is the agency that oversees unemployment insurance benefits in the state, as well as providing job search services and resources through the NH Works system.   

Waiting Week – The first week of your Benefit Year is called the Waiting Week.  Even though you will not collect benefits for this week, you will still need to file a claim for benefits.  

Weekly Benefit Amount – The amount of unemployment compensation you will be paid each week.  It is determined based on wages earned during your Base Period or in your Alternate Wage Period.  You must earn at least $1,400 in each of two quarters in your Base Period to be eligible to receive a Weekly Benefit Amount.

For more information

Web site: www.nhes.nh.gov

Telephone (603) 224-3311

Fax (603) 228-4145

TDD/TTY Access: Relay 1-800-735-2964

NHES Local Office Locations

BERLIN

151 Pleasant Street, 03570-2085

Telephone: 752-5500  

CLAREMONT

404 Washington Street, P.O. Box 180 03743-0180

Telephone: 543-3111

CONCORD

45 South Fruit Street, 03301-4857

Telephone: 228-4100  

CONWAY

518 White Mountain Highway, 03818-4205

Telephone: 447-5924

KEENE

149 Emerald Street Suite Y, 03431-3662

Telephone: 352-1904

LACONIA

426 Union Avenue, 03246-2894

Telephone: 524-3960

LITTLETON

646 Union Street, Suite 100, 03561-5314

Telephone: 444-2971

MANCHESTER

300 Hanover Street, 03104-4957

Telephone: 627-7841

NASHUA

6 Townsend West, 03063-1217

Telephone: 882-5177

PORTSMOUTH

2000 Lafayette Road, 03801-5673

Telephone: 436-3702

SALEM

29 South Broadway, 03079-3026

Telephone: 893-9185

SOMERSWORTH

6 Marsh Brook Drive, 03878-1595

Telephone: 742-3600