UI Glossary

Alternate Base Period

Is based on the wages paid during the three most recently completed calendar quarters, plus the time between the last completed quarter and the effective date of your claim. If you are not monetarily eligible for benefits using the primary base period, and would be eligible using the alternate, DUA will automatically use this method to determine your benefits. Also, you may elect to use the alternate base period if you provide credible documentation showing that your Benefit Credit would be increased by at least 10% by using the alternate base period.

Average Weekly Wage

Is calculated by using a formula established by law based on the total amount of wages paid during your base period.

Benefit Credit

Is the total amount of benefits you are potentially eligible to collect during your benefit year if you meet all the other eligibility requirements of the law.

Benefit Rate

Is 50% of your average weekly wage, up to the current maximum.

Benefit Year

Is the 52 weeks following the effective date of your claim.

Duration of Benefits

Is the maximum number of weeks you can collect. This is determined by dividing your benefit rate into your benefit credit. The maximum number of weeks you can collect full benefits is 30 weeks (capped at 26 weeks during periods of extended benefits).

Effective Date of Your Claim

In general, the effective date of your claim is the Sunday of the calendar week in which you initially filed your claim.

Interstate claims

Are claims filed by Massachusetts workers who have moved to another state.

Intrastate Claims

Are claims filed by Massachusetts workers who live in Massachusetts.


Is the four digit Personal Identification Number you select to access TeleCert.

Primary Base Period

Is the last four completed calendar quarters immediately preceding the date on which your claim is effective. Your claim is based on wages received during this period.

Social Security Number

Is the unique identifier to process your claim for benefits. DUA is required by the federal IRS Code of 1954, as amended in 26 USC 85; 6011 (a), 6050B, 6109(a) to use your Social Security Number in processing your claim for benefits.


Is the interactive telephone method for claiming weekly benefits. TeleCert is available in English or Spanish .

Waiting Period

By Massachusetts law, the first week of your claim for which you are eligible to collect benefits is your waiting period. Every effort will be made to pay benefits three weeks from the first week you filed your claim, if you are deemed eligible. The total number of weeks for which you are eligible is not reduced by this waiting period.


Is the online method for claiming weekly benefits. WebCert is available in English.