Alaska Unemployment Benefit Questions
How does unemployment work in Alaska?
Alaska unemployment benefits are provided to eligible workers who have lost their job through no fault of their own, such as due to layoffs or company downsizing. To qualify, jobless workers must have earned enough wages during a set period of time, called a base period, and be actively seeking new employment.
Once a claim is filed, the state will determine the individual’s eligibility for benefits, including the amount of weekly benefits and the duration of benefits. Unemployment benefits in Alaska are typically available for up to 26 weeks, but the exact duration can vary depending on the claimant’s work history.
To collect UI payments, you must certify every two weeks. The certification process includes completing work search requirements, attending meetings and seminars, and reporting any income you earned that week. You will receive your payment in the form of a debit card or direct deposit. Please note that unemployment benefits are taxable and must be reported as income on your tax return.
How to apply for unemployment in Alaska?
To apply for unemployment benefits in Alaska, visit the myAlaska website and navigate to the Unemployment Insurance area. You can choose to file a new claim or to complete your biweekly certification. You’ll have to create an account if you haven’t done so already. If you don’t have access to broadband internet, you can call one of the Alaska unemployment phone numbers for assistance.
How much is unemployment in Alaska?
In Alaska, the most you can receive per week in benefits is $370 and the least amount is $56. Your claim will be based on the wages you earned in the first four quarters of the last five completed calendars, starting from when you applied for UI benefits. You can receive an extra $24 weekly allowance per child, up to three children. Dependents must be your natural child, stepchild through marriage, legally adopted child, or court-appointed legal ward. Use the Alaska unemployment calculator to estimate your weekly benefit amount.
What is a base period?
The state of Alaska defines a base period as the 18 months before you applied. Your earnings from eligible employment during this time determine your eligibility. In Alaska, there are two types of base periods: regular and alternate. The regular base period is the first four out of the last five full calendar quarters before your new claim starts. If you’re not eligible for benefits under the regular base period, the alternate base period might work. It covers the last four full calendar quarters before your new claim begins.
How long does Alaska unemployment last?
Alaska unemployment lasts 16-26 weeks. The length of time that you can receive benefits depends on your previous earnings and work history. Extended benefits may be available during unusually high rates of unemployment caused by an economic recession, pandemics like COVID-19, and natural disasters like hurricanes, floods, or wildfires. Currently, Alaska does not offer any UI extensions.
What is the maximum unemployment benefit in Alaska?
In 2023, the maximum unemployment benefit in Alaska is $370 per week.
What disqualifies you from unemployment in Alaska?
In Alaska, there are several reasons why you can be disqualified from receiving unemployment benefits.
- Voluntary quitting: If you voluntarily quit your job without good cause, you will likely be denied unemployment benefits.
- Discharge for misconduct: If you were discharged from your job for misconduct or inappropriate behavior, you may not be eligible for unemployment benefits.
- Refusing suitable work: If you refuse an offer of suitable work, you will not be eligible for unemployment benefits until you become reemployed and earn wages equal to at least six times your weekly benefit amount.
- Being self-employed: If you are self-employed, you are not eligible for unemployment benefits.
- Not being able and available for work: If you are not able and available for work, you will not be eligible for unemployment benefits.
- Failure to meet Alaska eligibility requirements: To qualify for unemployment in Alaska, you must have earned enough wages during the base period AND be actively seeking new employment. If you do not meet these requirements, you will not be eligible for benefits.
When does Alaska unemployment get deposited?
After completing your biweekly certification, you can expect to receive payment within 3-5 days, as long as it is not a state or federal holiday, a banking holiday, or a weekend. You won’t receive payment for the first week that you file for benefits, even though you still need to certify. This is known as the Waiting Week.
What if I have worked in another state?
You may be eligible for a combined wage claim. Any work you have done in another state during the last 18 months may be combined to establish a claim. Usually combining wages will result in a higher weekly benefit amount. It is important to advise a claim representative of any work you have done in another state so these wages can be electronically transferred to Alaska. After a review of your work history, one of the representatives will be able to give you the best option on where to file your claim.
How will my pension affect my benefits?
Payments under any government or private retirement pension will be deductible from UI benefits if the pension is based on your work for a base period employer and that employer contributed to or maintained the pension plan. The amount deducted is based on the percentage of contribution made>
If you earn $50 or less there will be no reduction in your benefits. There will be a 0.75 cent deduction for each dollar that you earn, over $50. You must report your earnings in the week that you actually earn the wages, even if you have not been paid.
How will self employment affect my benefits?
To be eligible for unemployment insurance in Alaska, you must be able and available to accept full-time employment. You may be asked to provide information about your business and how much time you devote to your business. If you are self-employed, you must report your net earnings (subtract business expenses from your gross) for the week. Self-employment income is deducted on a dollar for dollar basis.
Is any income other than earnings deducted?
First and foremost, all income, with the exception of Social Security, Alaska Permanent Fund Dividend, and Income Tax Returns, must be reported when you are filing for benefits. Under certain conditions, severance or separation pay, pension, vacation or sick leave pay, bonus and back pay are deductible.
How will my pension affect my benefits?
Payments under any government or private retirement pension will be deductible from UI benefits if the pension is based on your work for a base period employer and that employer contributed to or maintained the pension plan. The amount deducted is based on the percentage of contribution made by the base period employer.