Connecticut Unemployment Benefits
The state of Connecticut provides Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits as temporary income to help workers who have lost their jobs and are searching for new ones. Taxes collected from employers fund this compensation.
Read on to find out the eligibility criteria, the claim filing process, weekly benefit amounts, and other vital information to claim your Unemployment Insurance.
Eligibility Criteria For Connecticut UI Benefits
The state Department of Labor (DoL) oversees the UI process in Connecticut. It has set certain criteria to be met to qualify for the Unemployment Insurance. These come under monetary eligibility, job separation, and maintenance of eligibility throughout the benefit year.
You will be eligible to claim UI only if you meet the monetary criteria for eligibility in addition to the job separation requirements. The following are some essential words you will come across repeatedly when understanding your UI process.
Benefit Year: The benefit year refers to the 52 weeks after you have filed your UI claim during which it is valid. You can collect benefits for 26 weeks only in that year.
Base Period: You can qualify for benefits only if they have earned a threshold wage during the base period. The base period is a 12-month duration calculated in two ways based on your earnings:
- Standard Base Period
- Alternate Base Period
The standard base period refers to the first four quarters out of the five calendar quarters preceding the Sunday of the week of filing the claim.
Thus, if you filed your claim in the third quarter of 2019 (Jul-Aug-Sep-2019), the standard base period would be Jan-Mar 2019 and Apr-Dec 2018, skipping Apr-Jun 2019
If you have not earned sufficient wages in this standard base period, the state uses the alternate base period. This refers to the last four quarters out of the five calendar quarters preceding the Sunday of the week of filing the claim. This period applies when you have less than $600 in your total base period.
Thus, if you filed your claim in the third quarter of 2019 (Jul-Aug-Sep-2019), the alternate base period would be Jan-Jun 2019 and Jul-Dec 2018, skipping Apr-Jun 2018.
Wage Credits: The wage credits are the total wages earned by you during your base period. Your monetary determination letter will show your gross wages, i.e., wages earned before being taxed as well as details of your employers and the base period. These details are collected from your employers.
Weekly benefit amount: The weekly benefit amount is the weekly benefit rate added to any dependency allowance you are eligible to get.
Weekly Benefit Rate: The average of the wages earned in the two highest quarters of the base period is taken and divided by 26, which gives the weekly benefit amount.This number helps determine if your wage credits are enough to establish a claim in the benefit year. Your base period wages should be equal to or be over 40 times the weekly benefit rate to be eligible to claim UI.
The minimum weekly benefit amount in Connecticut is $15, while the maximum allowed weekly benefit is $649.
Maximum Benefit Amount (MBA): This is the total amount of unemployment benefits that an individual can be paid in a benefit year. As per the law, this amount is the weekly benefit rate multiplied by 26, the total number of weeks one can claim UI.
Once your monetary eligibility is established, the reasons for job separation become the next criteria. The Connecticut Unemployment Compensation Act provides benefits only if you have been separated from your jobs through no fault of your own. When an employee is laid off in CT, the employer gives a form UC-61 “Unemployment Notice” (pink slip) and an attached packet called “Application for Unemployment Benefits.”
The following jobs are not eligible to claim CT unemployment benefits
- News carriers for doorstep delivery, aged below 18
- Insurance Agents (Non-Life categories)
- Real estate persons earning a commission
- Sole partners and proprietors
- Children under 21 employed by a parent
- Anyone employed by his or her spouse
- Certain religious employment
- Railroad workers
- Outside sales representatives working at a for-profit travel agency
- Elected officials, legislators, members of the judiciary, some high-level and temporary employees of a political subdivision
The reasons for job separation come under the following heads in CT:
If you quit your job voluntarily, you must have a good cause, which is attributable to your employer. You should also be able to show that you took measures to resolve the issue with your employers and sought remedy for the problems.
It is considered a good cause if the conditions of working, hiring contracts, hours, wages, etc. are changed by the employer and/or adversely affecting your health.
Other reasons that would not bar you from receiving benefits are:
- Leaving the job to care for a family member with illness/disability and only if the employer did not offer leave for the said period
- Leaving work accepted during a layoff to resume your former job
- Returning to your regular occupation and leaving a different one
- Leaving part-time work to join full-time employment
- Forced to leave due to government regulation or statute
- Escaping from domestic abuse
- Loss of transportation to the workplace
- Leaving your job to follow a spouse stationed in the US Armed Forces
- Leaving your job because your spouse changed workplaces and the commute has become impractical
Under the following conditions, you would not be eligible to receive benefits. You would have to return to work and earn 10 times the weekly benefit rate in addition to all other conditions:
- Willful misconduct which includes disregarding the employer’s instruction, purposeful violation of uniform policies, unexplained absence from work
- Committing felonies, theft of property or service of value exceeding $25 aka larceny
- Failing drug/alcohol testing as mandated under a law
- Participating in illegal strikes
Retiring does not disqualify you from claiming Connecticut Unemployment Insurance unless you have also withdrawn from the labor market.
If your retirement is due to the employer attempting to close down the position or if the work has become unsuitable and there was no alternate offer from the employer, it is treated as involuntary and you would be eligible for UI. If you retired voluntarily you would have to return to work and earn wages that are 40 times the weekly benefit rate, to be eligible.
You will be eligible to claim UI only if you are not involved in a labor dispute and you are not a member of the groups involved in a said dispute.
Factory lockout situations are exempted from the requirement.
CT-DOL will contact the employer if the pink slip indicates voluntary termination or discharge. An informal hearing with an adjudication specialist takes place to determine if the cause of job separation is sufficiently attributable to the employer.
If you want to keep on claiming unemployment compensation throughout the 26 weeks of your benefit year, it is important to maintain your eligibility. Benefits may be reduced or taken away altogether if you fail to do so.
The following are the factors to be remembered if you want to continue to claim unemployment compensation in CT :
- A necessary condition for UI eligibility is that you should be physically and mentally able to work, available for work and looking actively for work
- You have to be registered with an American Job Center and participate in reemployment services if selected
- You must maintain a record of the efforts made to find employment. It is considered a reasonable effort to find work if you have made three employer contacts on two days of the week. Remember, the Labor Department’s Benefit Accuracy System randomly picks people filing for benefits to audit their UI claims
- CT-DOL selects some of the claimants for UI Re-employment Services and Eligibility Assessment (RESEA) through the American Job Center. Participation is mandatory
- You are permitted to wait for employment based on your highest skill level that can offer you wages equivalent to what you were previously receiving, for the first few weeks after you apply for UI
- After a reasonable period, you have to be available for other jobs and areas which may pay less
- Weekly filing of benefit claims
You can claim UI benefits for part-time employment only provided you satisfy the following conditions:
- You have a mental or physical impairment, which is either chronic or permanent or will last a long time
- You cannot work full-time because of it
- You can be part of the labor force despite your limitations
You can collect UI benefits if you are a college or university student or join one after becoming unemployed, only if you are available for and searching for full-time employment, not conflicting with your classes
Our eligibility calculator can help you figure out whether you are eligible for benefits with respect to your reasons for job separation:
How To Apply For UI Benefits In Connecticut?
The following documents are required to apply for benefits in the state of Connecticut:
The state of Connecticut has the Unemployment Insurance CT Direct Benefits online system to help you with filing new and continuing claims. There is also a Telebenefits line to help you file weekly claims and clear your doubts regarding UI.
To use the CT Direct Benefits online system for filing claims, go to www.FileCTUI.com and click on the blue button which says ‘File or Reopen Your Unemployment Claim.’ You can do this at any hour of the day.
Prior to filing your initial claim, you have to create an account with CT Direct Benefits by entering the information asked for.
After this, you must file claims weekly to keep getting the benefits. If you fail to do so you could be denied the missed benefits.
Filing Weekly Claims
You should log into the CT Direct Benefits system and then click on the green button called “Manage Your Unemployment Claim and File Your Weekly Claims.” Upon filling in the requisite information, you will have created an account with Connecticut Tax and Benefits System (CTABS).
This system also allows you to request the payment history and any other general information about your claims. You can modify the payment method of getting your benefits which is via direct deposit or debit card.
If your weekly claim has been completely processed then the system shows a ‘thank you’ message. If it says, ‘Continued Claim Pending’ then your benefit will not be paid and you should approach the American Job Center nearby. You can also log into www.FileCTUI.com and access the Weekly Filing Issue form.
Our eligibility calculator can help you figure out whether you are eligible for benefits with respect to your reasons for job separation:
Connecticut DOL makes it convenient for those who cannot use the online system by offering the Telebenefits phone line. There is a local number for each area which you can call to get information and prompts to file a weekly claim.
|New London||(860) 443-2041|
|New Britain||(860) 566-5790|
Residents of Salisbury, Sharon, North Thompson, Westport, Stafford Springs, Wilton, or Kent can call the toll-free number, 1-800-354-3305.
The Telebenefits line helps you establish a PIN when you first call. This number has the same legal validity as your signature and identifies you. Make sure that you are the only one using it.
The system asks you seven eligibility questions every week when you call to file continuous claims. You must listen carefully to all the information and questions and answer as instructed.
UI Benefits Amount
Unemployment Insurance is a system of protection for those who have gotten laid off their jobs for no fault of their own. It is meant to provide partial wage replacement until the worker has been able to find a new job. Using the UI Benefits Calculator, you can find out approximately what amount of benefits you may be eligible to draw.
Things To Know After Filing An Application
To maintain your eligibility, you should carefully follow all the rules and regulations so that you can continue to claim benefits throughout the 26 weeks.
Some of the obligations upon a claimant are as follows:
- The reporting requirements must be stringently adhered to
- You must report accurately, the hours you have worked whether or not you were paid and all wages earned by you
- You may be eligible for benefits even as a non-citizen of the USA if you are a legal alien during the base period and time of filing claims
- You may be denied benefits if as a legal alien, you refuse to provide the personal information which would be verified by SAVE, the federal database
- You should review the accuracy of your monetary determination letter and report any discrepancy in wage credits to the local American Job Center or file an appeal
Overpayment- When Is It Fraud?
Overpayment is said to have occurred when you are paid benefits you were not entitled to. If the Labor Department determines you as ineligible after having approved initially or you lose your appeal, you have to repay the benefits received.
There will be a hearing with an adjudication specialist after you have been deemed as overpaid to determine the amount, how it would be repaid and whether repayment can be waived.
If you intentionally claimed more benefits than you would have been eligible for, by misrepresenting facts, it will be deemed fraud. Making false statements is also considered fraud.
UI Fraud is an offense punishable by law. Violators can face consequences ranging from penalty payments up to $5000 to jail time of 1-5 years.
Violators have to pay a penalty of 50% of the overpaid amount for a first-time offense. The penalty is to be paid immediately while the overpaid amount may be offset with future unemployment benefits.
If you repeat fraudulent practices, you will have to pay a penalty of 100% of overpayment in addition to returning the amount. An interest of 1% is also charged on the remaining overpayment balance.
If you owe far more than the deduction from your UI benefits can cover, the DOL would make a repayment plan for you and/or deduct from your wages when you begin a new job.
To keep from being hauled up for fraud, you should immediately report any accidental overpayment or incorrect details. Make sure to report:
- All work is done and gross earnings, even tips
- Factors making you unavailable for work such as self-employment, illness or confinement.
- Job refusal
Your claims and information would be cross-verified several times to detect any fraud. If there is a possibility that you have committed fraud unwittingly, you should log into www.FileCTUI.com and go to the Overpayment Assistance Section.
Job Training Assistance
Connecticut Dept of Labor strives to assist the unemployed workers in moving out of their situation ASAP. Therefore many training programs to help workers upgrade their skills to get more suitable jobs are available.
You can be exempted from having to be available for work and actively searching, accepting offers and referrals if you have signed up for such training. The conditions to be satisfied are:
- Training should be in a skill that is in demand in the current labor market and will help you find a job
- Reasonable employment opportunities for you at your present highest skill level have diminished
- The training facility has certified you as qualified for the course
If you choose your own training program then you should have the agency determine its acceptability by Approved Training Questionnaire from the website. Programs under Workforce Innovation Opportunity Act (WIOA) or Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) are considered as approved training.
You would not be able to get unemployment insurance while you are in training. However, you can receive Trade Readjustment Allowances (TRA) if your program is TAA-approved.
You may also be eligible to receive federal or state financial aid for such training.
The American Job Centers in CT, offer various services to assist in reemployment such as
- Assistance in filing an Unemployment claim
- Career guidance and career counseling
- Help with Résumé preparation
- Reemployment of Veterans and training programs
- Provision of Labor market information
Additionally, you can explore the following resources:
- UI-RESEA: This program from the US-DOL gives you an eligibility assessment, a review of work search efforts, a tailored reemployment plan and of course, information about all the services available at American Job Centers. Participation is mandatory.
- CTHires: This is a website run by the government which serves as a job bank. It offers help in resume creation, follow-up letters, and notifications when jobs matching your criteria are posted.
- Labor Market Information is a website helping you find out what the job trends are in the market along with average salaries.
- Connecticut’s Apprenticeship Program is a training program for earning while you learn skills. There is classroom teaching along with working hands-on on your trade of choice. Wage subsidies, stipends and other financial aid is available.
- Connecticut Reemployment Portal: It displays occupations requiring similar knowledge areas, general activities, and technology as your selected occupation.