Most Massachusetts workers are covered by the Unemployment Insurance (UI) program, although workers in some jobs may not be eligible for benefits.
When you apply for Unemployment Insurance (UI), your initial eligibility for benefits is based on your earnings and your reason for leaving your job. Ongoing eligibility requirements include being able to work, available for work, and actively searching for work.
Who is eligible
To be eligible for Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits, you must:
- Have earned at least:
- $6,000 (rounded down to nearest hundred dollars) during the last 4 completed calendar quarters, and
- 30 times the weekly benefit amount you would be eligible to collect
- Be legally authorized to work in the U.S.
- Be unemployed, or working significantly reduced hours, through no fault of your own
- Be able and willing to begin suitable work without delay when offered
Weekly eligibility requirements
To qualify for 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 MassHire Career Center to complete mandatory seminars to remain eligible to receive unemployment benefits.
Who is not eligible
You may not be eligible for Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits if your only source of employment is from working as:
- An employee of a non-profit or religious organization
- A worker trainee in a program run by a nonprofit or public institution
- A real estate broker or insurance agent who work only on commission
- A consultant working independently
- A student in a work-study program
- An elected official
- A member of the legislative or judiciary body
What affects your weekly unemployment benefits
Your eligibility for weekly benefits may be affected if you:
- Aren’t able, available, or actively seeking work
- Refuse, quit, or are fired from a job
- Receive other income
- Attend school or training full-time without Department of Unemployment Assistance (DUA) approval
- Become self-employed
- Travel for non-work-related reasons
- Work while collecting unemployment benefits
Learn more about what affects your weekly unemployment benefits.