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Check eligibility for unemployment benefits

Find out if you may be eligible for unemployment benefits. Learn about the requirements for staying eligible and discover what can affect your weekly benefits.

Most Massachusetts workers are covered by the unemployment insurance (UI) program, although workers in some jobs may not be eligible for benefits.

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 benefits, you must:

  • Have earned at least:
    • $4,300 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 made on 3 separate days)

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

Who is not eligible

You may not be eligible for unemployment 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 government official in a policy-making and/or advisory position
  • 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

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