1. How do I know if I am eligible?
2. Will I be eligible for UI benefits if I am fired?
3. Will I be eligible for UI benefits if I quit my job?
4. I received severance pay. Can I collect Unemployment Insurance at the same time?
5. My work hours have been reduced. Am I eligible to claim unemployment benefits?
6. How does part-time work affect my unemployment benefits? 
7. If I take a full-time contract position after filing for unemployment benefits, will I be able to collect after the contract ends? 
8. If I leave my current company for another job, and get laid off shortly after joining the new company, will I be able to claim unemployment benefits?
9. My spouse is being transferred within the Military, necessitating a move to another location. Am I eligible for unemployment benefits if I leave my job to move with my spouse? 
10. Do Social Security benefits affect my Unemployment Insurance eligibility and benefits?
11. Do pensions and retirement payments other than social security benefits affect my Unemployment Insurance eligibility and benefits?
12. I am not a US citizen. Am I be eligible for Unemployment Insurance benefits?
13.I worked for a non-profit organization. Am I eligible for Unemployment Insurance benefits?
14.How do I know if I am entitled to receive Unemployment Insurance benefits?
15.What do I have to do to maintain my eligibility?
16. I am in the process of starting a new business as a sole proprietor but do not anticipate having any income from this business for a few months. I am currently receiving UI benefits.Would that affect my UI eligibility and benefits? 


1. How do I know if I am eligible?
Most workers are covered under law by the unemployment insurance program. However, workers in the following categories are not eligible to receive benefits:

  1. Workers who provide services performed for churches and certain religious organizations
  2. Children under 18 who work for their mother or father
  3. Individuals who work for their daughter, son, or spouse
  4. Students participating in work-training programs administered by a non-profit or public educational institution
  5. Workers who are part of a student financial aid assistance program provided by a school, college or university where the student/employee attends classes, or similar employment for the student’s spouse provided the spouse is notified at the time of hire that unemployment insurance is not provided
  6. Real estate brokers or sales people licensed by the state and paid solely by commission
  7. Insurance agents or solicitors paid solely by commission (except industrial life insurance agents)
  8. Sole proprietors and members of partnerships, including single member LLC’s or LLP’s
  9. Independent contractors (DUA determines the eligibility of workers who have been classified as independent contractors)
  10. Self-employed individuals working independent of the direction and control of an employer
  11. Certain employees of state and local governments, such as elected officials; members of a legislative body or of the judiciary; emergency employees hired during a disaster; inmates in custodial or penal institutions; and members of the Massachusetts National Guard or Air National Guard
  12. Government officials in policy-making and advisory positions

Generally, benefits are available for eligible workers who have become unemployed through no fault of their own, and who are able to work and are actively looking for a job. You must also have earned at least $3,500 during a specified period of time set by law.


2. Will I be eligible for UI benefits if I am fired?
Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 151A, governs the unemployment insurance program. According to the law, you may be eligible if you were fired for poor performance. However, if your employer is able to show that you were fired for deliberate misconduct or violation of a company rule, you may be disqualified.


3. Will I be eligible for UI benefits if I quit my job?
According to the law, if you left your job voluntarily with good cause (attributable to your employer) or for an urgent or compelling personal reason, you may be eligible. However, you must meet all the requirements of the law, including being able to work if a job were offered to you. If you are disqualified for any reason, you have the right to file an appeal.


4. I received severance pay.  Can I receive Unemployment Insurance at the same time?
In most cases you cannot collect severance pay and UI benefits for the same weeks. If you are disqualified from receiving UI benefits because of severance pay, your benefit year will be extended for the number of weeks for which you received severance pay. If your employer required you to sign a “Release of Claims” in order for you to receive your severance pay, you may be able to receive Unemployment Insurance benefits for the same weeks you receive severance pay
.


5. My work hours have been reduced.  Am I eligible to claim unemployment benefits? 
If your schedule of working hours is reduced, you are typically eligible. You can receive a full benefit for weeks when there is no work or a partial benefit for weeks when there is less than the normal full-time schedule. Generally, you must  experience a reduction of at least 1/3 of your hours/earnings in order to receive even a minimal benefit but a reduction of that much or more will usually qualify for receipt of some benefit. The greater the reduction, the higher the payable benefit. Your actual eligibility cannot be determined until you file a claim. 


6. How does part-time work affect my unemployment benefits?
Individuals who are receiving unemployment benefits often work at part-time jobs while receiving Unemployment Insurance benefits. In some cases, individuals file claims when they are separated from their primary or full-time jobs but continue to work at a part-time job. In other cases, individuals are able to obtain a part-time job after filing their claims. The law provides a mechanism for individuals to receive benefits while working in part-time employment.

Once the amount of your weekly unemployment benefit rate is established, a formula is used to determine how much is payable to you for any week in which you work part-time.  You can earn up to one third of your unemployment benefit rate (not including any dependency allowance) and still receive your full benefit.  Any earnings in excess of the one-third limit result in a dollar-for-dollar reduction in your benefit for the week.

For example, if your weekly unemployment benefit rate is $321.00, you could earn up to $107.00 ($321.00 / 3 = $107.00) and still receive your full benefit payment. If you earned $250.00 which would be $143.00 over the limit, your unemployment benefit of $321.00 for the week would be reduced by $143.00 and you would receive a payment of $178.00.

Be aware that if you accept part-time work and are subsequently separated from the job for reasons other than a layoff, your eligibility will be reevaluated. If it is determined that you were separated from a part-time job under disqualifying circumstances, your weekly benefit payment may be permanently reduced. 

You may continue to receive  unemployment benefits until the benefits available on your claim are exhausted or until the claim expires one year after it was originally filed whichever comes first. If your weekly payment is reduced because of earnings from part-time employment, then that money remains in your account and can extend the duration of your benefits.

If you are still unemployed when your claim expires, you will be required to file a new claim. If the wages you earned while receiving benefits and working part-time on your original claim were sufficient to establish a new eligible claim, you will receive benefits on the new claim. Your weekly benefit amount will usually be lower because it is based on your part-time earnings.

If you have any questions, you should direct them to the DUA TeleClaim Center at 1-877-626-6800 from area codes: 351, 413, 508, 774, and 978 or 1-617-626-6800 from any other area code. 
 

7. If I take a full-time contract position after filing for unemployment benefits, will I be able to collect after the contract ends? 
If your contract position ends before your benefit year expires (one year after you originally filed), you can reopen your claim. You then have the balance of the year to receive any remaining benefits.  If your benefit year has ended while you were working, you must file a new claim and a new determination on your eligibility will be made based on your more recent employment. In either case, you can use UI Online or call TeleClaim at 1-877-626-6800 from area codes: 351, 413, 508, 774, and 978 or 1-617-626-6800 from any other area code. 


8. If I leave my current company for another job, and get laid off shortly after joining the new company, will I be able to claim unemployment benefits?  
If you are laid off from your new company and apply for benefits, you will be asked to provide a list of your employers during the last 15 months. Your eligibility will be determined based on your most recent job but also any previous employment and earnings with other employers during the 12 to 15 months preceding the filing of your claim.  


9. My spouse is being transferred within the Military, necessitating a move to another location. Am I eligible for unemployment benefits if I leave my job to move with my spouse?  

An individual whose continued employment is affected by the transfer of a military spouse to another location may be eligible for unemployment benefits if: 

  • The transfer of the spouse was involuntary and for the convenience of the service branch. However, cases in which the spouse requested a transfer, retired voluntarily, or opted not to re-enlist and were transferred for discharge will be considered voluntary transfers, and hence the individual will not be eligible for unemployment benefits. 
  • The financial burden to the individual of maintaining the current housing or securing alternative housing along with providing housing for the service member at the new location will justify the individual in moving with the spouse.
  • The individual is required to move once the service member is transferred and the cost of securing alternative housing for the individual to remain in the area and preserve employment would likely be financially burdensome.
  • The individual’s rights to continued employment at the military facility is contingent on the spouse’s assignment at the current duty station.

If you are separated from your job, we encourage you to file a claim so that your eligibility can be determined.

10. Do Social Security benefits affect my Unemployment Insurance eligibility and benefits?
Receipt of a Social Security retirement benefit will have no effect on your eligibility.
However, you must be able to work, available for work and looking for work in order to receive unemployment benefits.


11. Do pensions or retirement payments, other than Social Security benefits affect my Unemployment Insurance eligibility and benefits?
Your benefits may be affected by any pension payments you are receiving.
You must report to DUA that you are receiving a pension and will also need to provide documentation to DUA including the amount and source of any type of pension or retirement payments when you file your claim. If your eligibility for benefits is affected, you will receive a Determination Notice explaining the law as it applies to you. 


12. I am not a US citizen.  Am I eligible for Unemployment Insurance benefits?
You must provide information that will be used to verify that you were legally authorized to work in the United States and you are still eligible to begin a job and you are still authorized to work.


13. I worked for a non-profit organization. Am I eligible for Unemployment Insurance benefits?
Most workers are covered under law by the Unemployment Insurance program. However, workers in the following categories generally are not eligible to collect benefits:
see the list in question #1. 


14. How do I know if I am entitled to receive Unemployment Insurance benefits?
You will receive a Benefit Determination Notice generated when wage information received from your former employers is processed. The amount of your total benefit credit, weekly benefit rate, weekly dependency allowance amount and the number of weeks you are eligible to receive benefits are listed on the form. The notice describes how the amounts were calculated.  Review the wage amounts listed to be sure they are complete and accurate.


15. What do I have to do to maintain my eligibility?
To remain eligible, you must actively look for work and be ready and able to accept a job. This means that you must let DUA know if you were ill, injured, or were unable to work during any week for which you are requesting benefit payment.

To show DUA that you are actively seeking full-time work, you must establish a work search plan, maintain records of your work search, and report this information to DUA when asked to do so. You must also report any earnings you have while you are receiving UI benefits.
 

16. I am in the process of starting a new business as a sole proprietor but do not anticipate having any income from this business for a few months. I am currently receiving UI benefits. Would that affect my UI eligibility and benefits? 
Eligibility for UI benefits is based on several factors. Among these is the requirement that you are able to work, available for work, and conduct an active search for work. If you are no longer available for other work or to conduct a search for work because of the demands of your own business, you may not be eligible for further benefits

Review additional FAQs related to:
 

>General Unemployment Questions
>Benefits
>Filing or Reopening a Claim
>Issues with Claims
>Disqualification due to the receipt of severance pay 
>Direct Deposit / Debit Card
>Assistance with Job Search