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Changes to unemployment services during the COVID-19 pandemic

The Department of Unemployment Assistance (DUA) is taking action to help workers with issues related to COVID-19.

Table of Contents

Changes to unemployment claims process

The Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development (EOLWD) and the Department of Unemployment Assistance (DUA), in coordination with the U.S. Department of Labor (USDOL), continue to take actions to assist workers with issues related to COVID-19. 

Claimants are urged to file unemployment insurance (UI) claims online.

Certain eligibility requirements for unemployment have been modified:

  • DUA may pay unemployment benefits if a worker is quarantined due to an order by a civil authority or medical professional, or leaves employment due to reasonable risk of exposure or infection or to care for a family member. The worker need not provide medical documentation and need only be available for work when and as able. 
  • DUA may pay unemployment benefits to a worker whose circumstances reasonably require the worker to take a leave of absence, reduce his or her hours, or quit work due to lack of child care, or other caregiver responsibilities.
  • While claimants are encouraged to look for work, including participating in seminars at the MassHire career centers, failure to  fulfill “Worksearch” requirements will not result in a disqualification from receiving benefits.
  • MassHire Career Centers continue to provide a full array of virtual reemployment and training services to assist you with all your reemployment needs. Don’t miss your opportunity to access these free services to prepare you for your next job  Find your local MassHire Career Centers (MCCs).  Reasonable accommodations can be addressed.

Changes to hearings

  • Deadlines for requesting a hearing may, in some circumstances, be excused under DUA’s good cause provision. After 30 days, stricter provisions apply. 
  • Most hearings will be held remotely by telephone or video conference. In some cases, particularly for identity verification issues, they will be conducted in person.

The changes above will stay in effect until further notice.

To assist individuals who cannot work due to the impact of COVID-19, the Baker-Polito administration enacted legislation allowing new claims to be paid more quickly by waiving the 1-week waiting period for unemployment benefits. This means that DUA is authorized to pay benefits without delay to persons who become unemployed because of layoffs or business shutdowns taken in response to the virus, because of quarantine orders or directives or illness that prevents them from leaving their homes, or because they must care for a sick or quarantined family member and are otherwise eligible for benefits..

Regulatory changes

There have been several legislative changes related to COVID-19.



Call Center (877) 626-6800

Open 8:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m., Monday–Friday. Multilingual call agents are available.

TeleCert Line (Automated system is operational*) (617) 626-6338

To request weekly benefits, daily 6 a.m.–10 p.m.

Payment Status Line (Automated System is operational*) (617) 626-6563

To check your claim or benefit payment status (*please do not transfer to an agent while in the system-this is not staffed at this time)