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. If you have questions about whether you’re eligible for unemployment benefits read our COVID-19 Unemployment Benefits and Insurance FAQ and check out New Hampshire's claimant handbook.
New Hampshire (NH) Unemployment Insurance Benefits
A guide to unemployment benefits in New Hampshire
In New Hampshire, unemployment insurance benefits are administered by New Hampshire Employment Security (NHES), 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.
- 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 for a qualifying reason, and that you meet all other requirements.
- Collect required documents and information. If you meet all benefit requirements, collect the necessary information before you start your claim:
- Social Security number
- Your home and mailing addresses, telephone number, and email address
- Alien Registration number if not a US citizen
- Military Form DD-214, member 4 copy, if you were 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:
- Company name and job location
- Employer’s telephone number(s)
- Dates of first and last days of work
- Reason for separation
- Pay rate
- Details regarding any expected separation pay
- Apply for unemployment insurance. You can apply online at the Workforce Connect website. You must file your claim during an assigned time frame based on the first letter of your last name. This schedule is listed on the Workforce Connect page.
- Wait for the determination 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 to 26 weeks of benefits during your Benefit Year plus additional weeks provided under federal programs. You will need to claim benefits each week that you expect to be paid.
- Conduct an ongoing job search. You’re required to look for full-time work while drawing benefits. You’ll 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.
- Note: New Hampshire has temporarily suspended the job search requirement due to COVID-19.
- 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.
You can submit claims online through the Workforce Connect portal. When you visit the portal page, you’ll see a schedule of when you should file your claims according to the first letter of your last name.
New Hampshire’s unemployment assistance hotline is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturday to Sunday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
For TDD/TTY access, call 1-800-735-2964.
After you complete your application, NHES will mail you a Determination of Unemployment Compensation letter. 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, and NHES could request additional information to ensure you meet eligibility conditions.
Once approved, your claim will be active for one 52-week period, also called your Benefit Year. You may collect up to 26 weeks of unemployment insurance benefits during that time frame (plus additional time allowed under federal guidelines).
Filing weekly claims
After you file an initial claim, you’ll also need to file weekly claims for every week that you’re 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 through Workforce Connect.
What are the eligibility requirements for unemployment benefits in New Hampshire?
To be eligible for unemployment insurance benefits in New Hampshire, you must meet all requirements as set forth by NHES:
- 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’re 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, or 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 fraud.
- You must be available to work 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’re 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’re 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.
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 the following:
- 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’re 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, answers questions, and gives advice about making the best case for a redetermination 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.
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 four quarters, you must have at least two separate quarters where you earned a minimum of $1,400 to be monetarily eligible. The maximum weekly benefit is $427, and the minimum is $32.
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 weekly benefit amount.
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’re waiting for processing. You will only receive payment for continued claims that are filed timely.
Do I need to look for a job while collecting benefits?
Update: New Hampshire has temporarily suspended the job search requirement due to COVID-19. If you’re still receiving benefits when the requirement is reinstated, you’ll receive a notification and follow the process outlined below.
When a work search requirement is in effect, 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.
In addition to conducting your own job search, by law, you are required to register for the New Hampshire Job Match System (JMS).
The JMS allows job seekers to view jobs posted by employers and match skills to positions posted on national job boards and private industry websites. The JMS features a resumé and letter builder to generate a new resumé 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 has offices across the state. Each office has a resource center that assists job seekers with a wide range of services, tools and resources:
- Computers to be used in your job search
- The 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’re 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.
During the time you’re claiming unemployment benefits you may be required to attend one or more mandatory workshops and programs. Failure to attend a mandatory workshop or program that you have been scheduled for may result in delayed or denied benefits.
Benefit Rights Interview Workshops: These 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 covering multiple topics:
- 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 certain topics:
- Your completed weekly work search efforts
- Barriers to employment
- Job prospects and interviews
- Updating your goals and objectives of the Employment Plan
- Generating 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.