The process of obtaining information, examining and weighing documents and testimony used to make a determination/decision of eligibility for UI compensation.

Alternate Base Period
In Massachusetts, the last three completed quarters plus the period of time between the last completed quarter and the effective date of the claim (lag period) is considered to determine if a claimant is monetarily eligible to receive unemployment benefits.  If a claimant is not monetarily eligible for benefits using the primary base period and would be eligible using the alternate base period, DUA will automatically use this method to determine benefits.  Also, claimants may elect to use the alternate base period if they provide credible documentation showing that their maximum benefit amount would be increased by at least 10% using the alternate base period.

An Appeal is a request for a hearing or review on a determination.  It may call into question either the amount of benefits being provided to the claimant or the eligibility of the claimant to collect benefits.

Approved Illness
In Massachusetts, claimants can collect benefits for up to three weeks if they are verifiably ill and no work was available to them for the same time.  The able, available, and actively seeking work requirement is waived.  This requires the approval of a DUA adjudicator.

Assistive Content
In UI Online, this is blue, clickable text with a question mark either above or below the text that displays additional information about this field on a new page.

Average Weekly Wage
The amount of money a claimant was earning on average during the highest two work quarters prior to filing a claim. It is derived by several methods.  The most common is 1/26 of wages earned during the two highest quarters of the base period.

Base Period
Timeframe used to establish entitlement to compensation, as well as the amount and duration of UI compensation. 

Benefit Credit
Total amount of Unemployment Insurance compensation to which a claimant is entitled to receive during his/her benefit year.  The claimant does not necessarily receive the full entitlement (e.g. he/she returns to work or otherwise becomes ineligible).

Benefit Balance
The unpaid portion of the potential benefits payable to a claimant during the benefit year.

Benefit Year
The Benefit Year is a 52 week period starting with the claim’s effective date.  During the benefit year, claimants may receive their maximum potential benefit amount.  The benefit year must expire before a subsequent claim can be filed in the same state.

Benefit Year Begin (BYB)
The BYB usually begins in the week in which a claim is filed; it is also known as the effective date.  In Massachusetts, it is the Sunday immediately preceding the filing of a claim.

Calendar Week
This is a consecutive seven day period used as a unit of measurement of employment and unemployment.  In Massachusetts, the calendar week runs Sunday through Saturday.

Claimant ID
This is a unique number assigned to each user by the UI Online system.

Combined Wage Claim
A claim based on covered employment in two or more states during the base period of the state in which the claim if filed.  Claimant must have at least one Massachusetts employer in the base period if he/she wishes to file a Massachusetts combined wage claim.

Compensable Week
This is a week of total unemployment or partial unemployment if earnings are less than the Earnings Over Benefit Rate (EOBR).

Consecutive Claims
Interstate claims filed against 2 different states one after the other.  Claimants, who have worked in more than one state, sometimes elect to file in more than one state with consecutive claims instead of a combined wage claim to maximize the length and/or total time of their UI benefits. Claimant must meet the qualification requirements in both states and must exhaust the benefits of their first claim before filing the second.

Constructive Deduction
If a claimant is separated from a subsidiary, part time employer in the four weeks prior to filing a claim or from a newly obtained part time employer in the benefit year (after the claim has been filed), they may be assessed a constructive deduction.  A constructive deduction is a partial disqualification based on the average amount of earnings the claimant had with the subsidiary part time employer that will be assessed against the claimant for any claimed week of benefits.  This is only a partial deduction as opposed to a total disqualification when the claimant would not receive any benefits.

Covered Employment
Employment for which an employer (subject employer) is required to pay state and federal unemployment insurance taxes.

Official document received by U.S. military service members at the time of their discharge.  The DD214 certifies the nature of discharge, rank, etc.

Deductible Income
Income received by the claimant that results in total or partial ineligibility.  It can include earnings from pensions, Workers’ Compensation, severance pay and part-time employment.

Dependency Allowance
Special allowance provided by Massachusetts UI law to claimants with family support responsibilities.  In Massachusetts, children under 18, children between 18 and 24 attending school full time, or physically or mentally impaired adult children for whom the claimant provides support, qualify as dependents.

A decision made regarding a claimant’s eligibility for benefits or the amount of benefits to which he/she is entitled.

This is a postponement or cancellation of benefits for a specified period of time or until a certain condition is met.  Some reasons for disqualifications are severance pay, separation through claimant’s fault, overpayment, etc. Some disqualifications such as partial employment, pensions, and constructive deduction cancel only a portion of the claimant’s benefits.

Drop Down Menu
Presents a choice of options that appear when the user clicks on it.

D.U.A (Disaster Unemployment Assistance)
Disaster Unemployment Assistance provides benefits to individuals who become unemployed as a direct result of a major national disaster declared by the President.

Duration of Benefits
In Massachusetts, the maximum benefits duration is 30 weeks; in most states it is 26.

The money claimant earns during the benefit year.

Earnings Disregard/Earnings Exclusion
A percentage of the weekly benefit amount that an individual may earn in part time work without reducing the weekly payment (in Massachusetts, it is 1/3 the weekly benefit amount).  This is sometimes referred to as the ‘earnings exclusion’.

Effective Date
This is the date on which the benefit year begins.

Employer Account Number
A unique identification number assigned by the Massachusetts Department of Unemployment Assistance to employer accounts to control reporting and accounting functions.  These numbers are different from the Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN) assigned by the Internal Revenue Service for federal reporting and control purposes.

EOBR (Earned Over Benefit Rate)
Partial income reported during the weekly certification by the claimant that is over his/her weekly benefit amount plus earnings disregard. A break in the continuity of a UI claim from such earnings requires performing a reopen transaction.

Extended Benefits
A supplemental Federal state benefit program provides UI to claimants who have exhausted regular UI benefits during specified periods of high unemployment.

An overpayment of benefits with a finding that the claimant knew or should have known that information given or withheld would impact eligibility.

Federal Unemployment Tax Act (FUTA)
This 1939 Act provides the framework with which all state unemployment laws must comply.  It also imposes an excise tax on employers to pay for unemployment insurance.

This is a finding of fault which results in compensable week penalties.

Full time
Generally full time hours are considered to be 35 hours or more, but never less than 25 hours per week.  However, the claimant’s work will be considered to be full time if he or she worked the normal full time hours of the occupation in which the claimant was employed, regardless of the amount of money earned.  For example: a bus driver may be considered to be employed full time if they work 25-28 hours per week; an operating room nurse may be considered to be full time if they work 28-30 hours per week; a school system employee may be considered to be employed full time if they work 27-30 hours per week.

Initial (New) Claim
An application for UI benefits by an individual who does not have a current benefit year claim.

Interested Party Employer
In Massachusetts, any employer for whom the claimant worked during his/her last 8 weeks of actual work.
Note:  The claimant does not have to work during these 8 weeks; he/she could have been on a Leave of Absence.

Interstate Claim
A claim filed in one (transferring) state against wage credits earned in another (liable) state.

Intrastate Claim
A claim filed in the same state in which the individual’s wage credits were earned.

A question raised regarding the applicant’s potential eligibility for benefits.

Lag Period
This is the time between the end of a base period and the effective date of the claim.

Manage Debt

This is functionality in UI Online that displays information about money that has been paid to a claimant for which he/she is not eligible.

This is movement from one page of a website to another.

Left Nav (Left Hand Side Navigation Bar)
Lists the options available to the user and presents a drill down list of options available under the listed functions.

Maximum Benefit Amount (MBA)
This is the maximum amount of benefits that an individual may receive during a benefit year. 

Maximum Weekly Benefit Amount
The maximum weekly benefit amount that can be paid on a UI claim.  This amount is re-calculated annually during the first week of October.

This is a list of options displayed to a user on a web page.

Minimum Weekly Benefit Amount
This is the smallest amount of benefits an individual may receive during a benefit year under state of federal UI law.

Monetary and Issue Summary
This function displays the monetary information and any issues that might impact the claimant from receiving unemployment benefits. This information can be found under the View and Maintain Account Information link.

Monetary Eligibility
Claimant’s eligibility for UI compensation is based on wages and/or the length of time the claimant was employed during the base period.

New Employment Requirement (Section 31)
Requires the claimant to have performed services for wages after the effective date of the previous claim.  The wages from this “new” employment must be equal or exceed some multiple of the weekly benefit rate of the previous claim.  (In Massachusetts, the claimant must earn at least three times his/her previous benefit amount.)

Non-monetary Eligibility
Claimant’s eligibility for UI compensation is based on non-monetary factors such as separation reason, ability and availability to work and residency status.

Non-Subject Employer
This is an employer who is not required to pay into the UI Fund.  Employees of non-subject employers are typically not eligible for UI benefits.  Some non-subject employers are church workers, self-employed individuals, and commission based sales people.

Benefit payment in excess of a claimant’s legal entitlement. 

Payment History
A function in UI Online that allows user to view all payment activity associated with his/her claim.  It is located under the View and Maintain Account Information link.

Payment Method
The way you choose to receive your unemployment benefit payment.  All first payments must be processed by check.  For all other payments, you must choose either debit card or direct deposit.

Payment Rate
This rate is composed of weekly benefit payment plus any dependency allowance less any deductible income or payments.

Partial Benefits
Benefit payments of less than the full weekly benefit amount resulting from reductions for part-time earnings or other deductible income.

Partial Unemployment
Work that is less than regular, full time hours (usually 40 hours/week) and/or employment that provides earnings less than the amount normally paid for a week of full time work is considered to be partial unemployment. 

Personal Identification Number (PIN)
An electronic signature used by claimants to access information about their claims over the telephone.

This is usually a small window that suddenly appears on a web page.

Assigning an earlier than normal effective date on a benefits claim.  In Massachusetts, most predates result from partial unemployment the week prior to filing.

Primary Base Period
In Massachusetts, wages earned during the last 4 completed quarters preceding the claim’s effective date.

A program that identifies claimants who are permanently separated from their jobs and likely to exhaust UI benefits prior to finding new employment.  This program provides intensive reemployment services.

Qualifying Employment and Wages
The amount of covered employment and/or wages an individual must have within a specified period of time to be entitled to compensation under a specific UI program.

Radio Button
A circle on a web page that user clicks with the mouse to choose one of a predefined set of options.

Reopened Claim
A claim filed during the benefit year after a break in signings or upon a potential change in eligibility status.

Reason for Separation
This is the reason why a claimant became unemployed.

Release of Claims
An agreement signed by an employee releasing the employer of any legal claims usually in exchange for some type of payment or benefit issued to the employee.

Request Benefit Payment
This is the process through which a claimant applies for subsequent weeks of benefit payments after the initial claim filing.  Essentially, the claimant attests to the fact that he/she is still unemployed (or working part time or for reduced wages) and is able, available and actively seeking work.

S.A.V.E. (Systematic Alien verification of Entitlement)
A program developed by INS (Immigration and Naturalization Services) to verify non-citizen immigration status.

Search Box
An area on a web page where information can be entered and the computer will do a search and find.

Seasonal Employment
This is employment that by contract lasts for a period of 20 weeks or less in a calendar year due to climactic conditions or the nature of the product of service provided, where the employee performs service in a functionally distinct occupation within the business.  Seasonal employers must be registered with DUA (Department of Unemployment Assurance) and have been certified by DUA as a seasonal employer.  If the employer has been certified by DUA as a seasonal employer, then wages earned for the seasonal employer cannot be used to file a claim for UI benefits when the customary seasonal period ends.

Section 30
A program that allows a claimant to submit a plan for vocational training or study to enhance his/her chances in the job market.  If approved, Section 30 exempts the claimant from the usual work search requirements.  It may also extend the benefit year for up to 26 weeks or until the training program ends, whichever comes first.

Separation Pay
Pay received as the result of an employee’s separation from work.  It can include severance pay, early termination pay, pay in lieu of notice, continuation or dismissal pay.  Separation pay may or may not be potentially disqualifying.

Social Security Number (SSN)
A Social Security number is a nine-digit number issued by the Social Security Administration to U.S. citizens, permanent residents, and temporary (working) residents as a national identification number for taxation and other purposes.  DUA is required by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to request Social Security numbers when processing benefit claims.

Subject Employer
An employer mandated under the state unemployment compensation law to pay into the UI Fund and pay FUTA taxes.

The interactive telephone response system used for requesting weekly UI benefits.  TeleCert is available in English, Spanish, Portuguese and Chinese.

Third Party Administration (TPA)
This is an individual or business that acts on behalf of an employer.  One area of employer support is providing employee wage information as requested by DUA.

Timely First Payment
This is the length of time between the end of the first compensable week and the date of the first payment.  In Mass., this time period is 21 days.

Total Unemployment
This is a week in which individual does not work and earns no wages or has less than full time work, but earns no more than the allowable earnings prescribed by the state’s UI law.

TRA (Trade Readjustment Act)
A federal benefit program administered by the Commonwealth, which provides benefits to those who have lost their jobs due to foreign competition.

Transferring State
In a combined wage claim, this is the state that transfers wage credits to the paying state.

Transitional Claim
A new claim that establishes a new benefit year when the claimant is filing a continuous claim series after the previous year ends.  The new claim has an effective date within the 7 day period immediately after the previous BYE (benefit year end) date.

Unemployment Insurance
Employer funded temporary financial income assistance provided to workers who are involuntarily separated from their jobs (established by the Federal Government in 1935).

Unemployment Compensation for Ex-Service Members (UCX)|
This is a federal program providing benefits to ex-military service personnel.

Unemployment Compensation for ex-Federal Employees (UCFE)
This is a federal program providing benefits to ex-Federal employees.

View and Maintain
UI Online functionality that allows the user to view information and then take some action, such as update, delete, etc.

All remuneration received from an employer including salary, bonuses, lodging board, and payments in any other medium than cash.

Wage Credits
Wages earned by persons working in employment covered by state UI laws.

Wage Reporting
Quarterly reporting required of a subject employer listing the wages of each individual worker in employment during the quarter.

Waiting Period
This is the first week of the UI claim of unemployment for which a claimant does not receive compensation, but must meet the same eligibility requirements that are necessary to receive UI benefits during the benefit year.

Weekly Benefit Amount (WBA)
The claimant’s weekly benefit amount for a week of total unemployment, excluding any allowance for dependents.

Weeks Compensated
The number of weeks claimed by claimant that have been paid.

Wildcard Search
Allows user to search for information without knowing all of the search criteria.   Ex:  enter partial name.  System will return a list of all names that have that partial information in them.

Worker’s Compensation
A program where workers are paid benefits for having suffered a work-related injury or disability.

A DUA certified program that helps employers retain their skilled workforces by reducing a company’s or unit’s work hours instead of reducing staff.  Employees receive a percentage of their UI benefits equal to their reduction in hours.