Unemployment timing and payment information

What to expect after you file your unemployment claim related to COVID-19.

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How long is it taking for payments to be issued?

In most cases, once you have successfully completed the initial claim process, you must certify for benefits each week thereafter in order to be paid (the claim certification process is available starting on Sunday until the following Saturday evening that you wish). If, based on your answers to the certification questions, you are eligible for benefits that week, typically you should receive your benefits on the Tuesday or Wednesday of that week. Due to the volume of claims currently going through the unemployment system, in limited circumstances, some payments for successfully certified claims may not arrive until Thursday. 

First payments may take a little longer. If you have selected direct deposit as your method of payment, you may not receive your first payment until after 9 days from the date of requesting this payment method.

Note: When the payment method is labeled as "PreNote Stage," this is the time for the banks to authenticate the direct deposit information. If you have selected debit card, you should receive the debit card in the mail in approximately 10 days. Once you receive and activate your debit card, you will have access to your first payment.

Is the first payment a paper check or has that been waived?

Because many banks have reduced hours or closed, we are aware that there may be difficulties going out to cash a check. For the current time, we have suspended sending paper checks and are making all payments electronically through the debit card or direct deposit option. Our concern is to make sure that your money is in hand and accessible to you regardless of your bank's in-person hours of operation.

Has the week waiting period been waived?

Yes, if your claim was filed after 3/8/2020 during the week that Governor Baker declared a State of Emergency in Massachusetts, the waiting period week was waived. This was a significant change to the system programming and our Systems Integration team has been working with the developers around the clock to implement this into the UI Online system. Almost all of the waiting period weeks from this time frame have already been waived and we anticipate that all of the waiting period weeks for claims in this time frame will be waived very soon.

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