Hawaii Unemployment Benefits
The UI Division of the State Department of Labor and Industrial Relations runs the Hawaii unemployment benefits program. Qualified workers who have lost their jobs through no fault of theirs, can get temporary financial aid through this program until they can find new suitable jobs. Employers pay taxes on their payrolls to fund the system with no contribution from the employees.
Read on to know how you can file claims, whether you are eligible to do so and the nitty-gritty of unemployment compensation in the gorgeous island state of the USA.
Eligibility to Apply for UI Benefits in Hawaii
Qualifying for unemployment insurance requires you to meet the conditions set by the Hawaiian government, which take into account your work history. The eligibility conditions are classified as monetary which has to do with wage criteria, job separation i.e. why you lost your job and some general non-monetary conditions.
To qualify for UI applicants should have earned wages for insured work in at least two-quarters of their calendar base period. The Base Period refers to the first four calendar quarters out of the five preceding the effective date of a UI application.
What this means is that if you filed your first UI claim in February 2019, your base period would be October-November-December 2017, January-February-March 2018, April-May-June 2018 and July-August-September 2018. The October-December 2018 quarter would skip.
If your wages are insufficient in this period, the Hawaii DLIR would consider the alternate base period, which is the last four calendar quarters preceding your claim. So, if you filed for UI in February 2019, your base period would be January-February-March 2018, April-May-June 2018, July-August-September 2018 and October-November-December 2018.
The wages earned for insured work should be at least 26 times the value of your weekly benefit amount. The weekly benefit amount is calculated by dividing the wages in the highest-earning quarter by 21. It should not exceed the maximum weekly benefit amount allowed for the calendar year.
Your claim remains valid for one benefit year, the 52 weeks after the effective date of filing it. During this period, the maximum benefit amount you can get is your WBA multiplied by 26.
After you have applied for unemployment benefits in Hawaii you will be mailed a “Notice of Decision on Unemployment Insurance Claim”. There is an “Unemployment Determination of Insured Status” form which mentions:
- The wages you have received from past employers during the base period and the total base period wages
- Your weekly benefit amount
- Your maximum benefit amount
- Benefit year
This form determines your monetary eligibility status. If you have been deemed as ineligible or invalid, you can request the DLIR to reconsider the determination using an alternate base period with proof of your wages.
Unemployment Compensation is only meant to support those workers whose layoffs are not their own fault. Therefore you may get disqualified if your loss of employment was due to the following:
- You quit voluntarily and without good cause.
- Your employer can prove that you were terminated for misconduct or suspended for reasons connected to work.
- You have not accepted suitable work and your reasons are not compelling enough.
- You were embroiled in a labor dispute and there was a stoppage of work.
There can be random Quality Control Audits where your provided details would be reviewed. Claims are randomly selected to verify the employment record and history, present and past eligibility status, your wages and any determinations given. Your job contacts as mentioned in your claim applications can be contacted for verification.
To know more about your eligibility status with respect to job separation, try out the eligibility calculator to know whether or not you are eligible for benefits.
UI sustains people who have been laid off while they look for new jobs. Thus it is important to meet certain requirements from that perspective.
You can keep drawing unemployment assistance only if you maintain your eligibility by fulfilling the following requirements:
- You should be totally or partially unemployed. If you work part-time, you should earn less than your WBA and work less than full-time hours.
- You should file claims weekly or on a bi-weekly basis. Payments may be discontinued if you fail to do so.You should register with the State Workforce Development Division (WDD) by signing your resume up on the HireNet Hawaii portal within 7 days of filing a claim.
- You have to participate in Reemployment Services such as RESEA or if you are referred to any orientation or placement or assessment services.
- You should be searching actively for new employment by making 3+ job search contacts per week. Maintain a record of these efforts on Form UC-253.
- You must not fail to respond to the UI department or WDD if it schedules an interview for you. The same goes for any fact-finding telephone messages left for you.
- Your earnings reports should be accurate.
How to Apply For UI Benefits in Hawaii
You have to submit the following documents to qualify for unemployment benefits in Hawaii:
You can apply for benefits in Hawaii by two methods- apply online or by placing a phone call.
Online: This is the most convenient way for you to file UI claims. If you do not have access to personal computers, you can use the computer kiosks at your local UI claims office. There are aids available for people with disabilities.
You can visit http://uiclaims.hawaii.gov and select the ‘Login as a Claimant’ option. As a first-time claimant, you need to make a new personal account
The same website can be accessed if you want to reactivate a previous UI claim that has not expired.
The website accepts claim filings only from 6:30 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. (HST) on Monday to Friday and 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. (HST) on weekends and holidays
Remember to print the confirmation page you are shown at the end and all the forms you need to submit
When you file an initial UI claim, the first week after filing is a waiting week. The claim does not become effective from when you become unemployed, but from when you file it.
Telephone: Applicants can also file claims via telephone. The Hawaii Tele Claim is a voice response system that is computer-based and easy to use. To file a new claim, added claim, or reopen a claim call 643-5555 from anywhere in the state. If applicants do not live in the state call the toll-free number 1-877-215-5793.
Applicants can call anywhere between Sunday to Thursday from 6:30 a.m to 12 at midnight. On Friday applicants can call anywhere between 6:30 a.m to 4:30 p.m. if by any chance Friday is a holiday then Thursdays timings will be applicable between 6:30 a.m to 4:30 p.m.
How to File Weekly Claims
Applicants can file their weekly benefits or bi-weekly claim online at http://uiclaims.hawaii.gov. If applicants do not have access to a valid working internet connection, applicants can visit their local claims office and avail the facility of the computer kiosks. Claimants can also visit public libraries and request to use computers with a working internet connection to gain access to file for UI claims.
Weekly claims must be filed inside seven days of the end of the certification period. If claims fail to do so weekly benefits may be denied for late filing.
UI Benefit Amount
Use our UI Benefit Calculator to know how much weekly benefits you may generally earn in the State of Hawaii
Things to Know After Filing An Application
Once claimants file the application to receive weekly benefit amounts. Claimants must understand particular rules and regulations associated with Hawaii unemployment insurance. Following these rules and regulations is vital throughout the benefit period. If applicants fail to follow the set rules and regulations they may be disqualified.
Overpayments and Fraud
Overpayments take place when UI benefits are paid to claimants which are later on determined to be ineligible to receive UI benefits. Overpayments may occur in the state of Hawaii for the following reasons
- The claimant fails to reveal that he/she received earnings accurately while filing for UI benefits
- Weekly UI benefit changes due to incorrect wage information provided by the claimant when the claim was filed
- A mistake from the Department of Labor and Industrial Relations in Hawaii may result in overpayments
Fraud: A fraud occurs if you do not share certain information or present any false documents to the Department of Labor and Industrial Relations in the state. Wrong information about your job status or willingly collecting unemployment benefits based on false information provided by applicants when filing or receiving benefits constitutes fraud.
In the state of Hawaii, the Department of Labor and Industrial Relations classifies fraud as several types which are as follows:
- Applicants receiving UI benefits but not reporting that they are working and being paid a certain salary
- Claimants accepting UI benefits but not looking for employment or lying about work search updates
- Individuals filing for UI benefits using another person’s name or identity
- Claimants filing for UI benefits who receive a job offer and decline the offer
- Accepting a job offer and not reporting to work
Claimants who commit fraud face several serious penalties which are as follows:
- Returning UI benefits, plus penalties
- Jail orders
- Blockage of prospective wages
- Won’t receive UI benefits in the near future
If claimants are found committing fraud, depending on the enormity of the offense applicants may be subject to criminal prosecution. If an applicant is convicted he/she can be fined or put in prison for a period of five years or both
Currently, there are no benefits extensions available programs in the state of Hawaii. Unemployment benefit extension programs are only available in periods of high unemployment. It is recommended that applicants call or visit the concerned authorities to get a better idea assistance plans for reemployment
Job Training Assistance
The state department of Labor and Industrial Relations provides several opportunities for job seekers. Listed below are some of the services provided by the department to help job seekers meet potential employers and so:
One-Stop-Centers – present a range of services to potential job-seekers and employers. The services include job search support and help, occupational planning services, and a bunch of training opportunities.
HireNet Hawaii – provides a range of employment tools to job seekers, such as resume building training and improving on your current skill set.
Job Fairs – help applicants connect with potential employers, and understand what employers are looking for in candidates. This also is a great time for potential candidates to secure a job.
Volunteer Internship Program- offers job seekers who are receiving unemployment insurance benefits to gain steady workforce training.
One-stop centers are committed to providing free and efficient services to jobseekers. Click here to locate a center near.