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What affects your weekly unemployment benefits

There may be times when your Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits are reduced or put on hold until you requalify. If this happens, we’ll ask you for more information so we can determine if you’re still eligible to receive benefits.

Table of Contents

Weekly eligibility requirements

To qualify for Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits, each week, you must be:

  • Physically able to work
  • Available to work
  • Actively looking for work (3 work search attempts)

You may also be required to register with a Career Center to complete mandatory seminars to stay eligible for unemployment benefits.

If you physically can’t work, aren’t available to work, or aren’t looking for work, we will send you a questionnaire and place your benefits on hold. Your benefits will stay on hold until you are determined to be eligible again based on the information you provided on your questionnaire. If you are disqualified from receiving benefits, you may file an appeal.

Additional Resources

Going to school full time

If you want to go to school full time and receive UI benefits, you must apply to the Training Opportunities Program (Section 30).

If we approve your application, you will not have to search for work or be available for work, and you can receive benefits.

Additional Resources


Travel for work-related reasons

You may be eligible for benefits if you’re travelling outside your commuting area for work-related purposes. For example, if you’re a Massachusetts resident traveling to California for an interview, and plan on accepting a job there, you may qualify for benefits.

Travelling for non-work-related reasons

If you’re travelling outside your commuting area for non-work-related purposes, you’re not eligible for benefits. You can’t request benefits if you are outside the U.S., U.S. territories, or Canada.

Working while receiving unemployment benefits

In some cases, you may work and receive unemployment benefits.

  • If you find work, you may still qualify for benefits. The amount you receive may be adjusted based on how much you earn.
  • If you go back to work full time, you cannot continue to receive benefits. If you lose your full-time job again, you may qualify for benefits again.

Additional Resources

Receiving other income

You must report any income you receive while getting benefits. If you don’t report your income, you may be disqualified from getting any benefits at all.

Refusing, quitting, or being fired from a job

Refusing suitable work

If you limit the number of hours you can work or don’t accept offers for suitable work for any reason, you may not qualify for benefits.

Quitting or getting fired

If you quit or are fired from your job, you may not qualify for unemployment benefits. We’ll determine your continued eligibility by sending you a questionnaire for you to complete.


If you earn money from self-employment, your weekly benefits will be delayed. That’s because we need to review your employment situation first.

We may determine that:

  • You don’t qualify for future benefits
  • Your weekly benefits should be reduced based on the money you earn

Contact   for What affects your weekly unemployment benefits


Monday-Friday 8:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m.

Monday-Friday 8:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m.

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

To check your claim or benefit payment status

By appointment only. To make an appointment visit: mass.gov/RECappointment


Boston Re-Employment Center (by appointment only, to make an appointment, visit mass.gov/RECappointment)
2 Avenue de Lafayette, Boston, MA 02111

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