Your base period

The amount of benefits you may be eligible to receive if you meet all eligibility requirements is determined by earnings paid to you during the base period.  The base period is defined by Massachusetts law. 

How your base period is determined

The primary base period is the the last four completed calendar quarters prior to the date on which your claim is effective. The primary base period is usually used to calculate how much you are eligible to receive.  

The alternative is the the last three completed calendar quarters and the period of time between the last completed quarter and the effective date of your claim. The alternate base period can be used under certain circumstances:

  • If you don't meet minimum eligibility requirements using the primary base period.
  • If using the alternate base period will increase your entitlement by 10% or more.

How your base period wages are determined

Massachusetts employers are required to report wage information to the Department of Unemployment Assistance on a quarterly basis. This wage information is used to determine your potential monetary eligibility for UI benefits.

Your benefit year

Once your claim is established, it is good for one year, which is called your benefit year.  

Your maximum benefit amount

Your maximum benefit amount is the maximum number of weeks you are eligible to receive benefits multiplied by your weekly benefit amount.  The maximum benefit amount is available to you for the duration of your benefit year. Once your benefit year expires, any unpaid benefits will no longer be available to you. 

If you do not agree with the wages reported

When you receive your Benefit Determination Notice, if you do not agree with the amount of wages reported to DUA by a former employer, you can provide proof of the wage amounts you are disputing and DUA will attempt to resolve the discrepancy.  

If it is determined that you do not have enough wages under either the primary or the alternate base period to establish a claim, or if you continue to disagree with the amount of wages reported, you have the right to file an appeal and to have a hearing.