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Hawaii Unemployment Eligibility

Hawaii Unemployment Eligibility

Hawaii unemployment insurance benefits are available to support workers who are currently unemployed. However, claimants must satisfy the eligibility criteria set forth by the State of Hawaii’s Department of Labor and Industrial Relations Department in order to receive benefits.

Hawaii Unemployment Eligibility Calculator

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How to qualify for Hawaii unemployment benefits

Hawaii’s eligibility requirements for unemployment include:

  • Earned enough qualifying wages during the base period
  • Be totally or partially unemployed
  • Be physically and mentally able to work full time
  • Be ready and willing to accept a full-time position
  • Submit an initial claim application
  • File weekly or bi-weekly claim certifications
  • Serve the one-week waiting period
  • Register for work with the State Workforce Development Division
  • Partake in Reemployment Services
  • Participate in any required interviews

Monetary eligibility requirements

In order to qualify for unemployment benefits in Hawaii, you must have earned wages during at least two quarters of your base period. Additionally, wages paid should be at least 26 times your weekly benefit amount. Because the minimum state weekly benefit amount is set at $5, this means you must have earned at least $130 in one quarter. If you are filing a new claim after a prior claim expires, the wages paid for work during the prior claim should be at least five times your weekly benefit amount.

It is possible to combine wages earned from out-of-state work with your Hawaii wages to either qualify for a valid claim or increase your weekly benefit amount. This applies to those who have worked in multiple states within the 18 months prior to filing a claim in Hawaii.

Your base period is the 18 months you worked before filing for benefits—the first four out of the past five calendar quarters. If you do not qualify for benefits based on wages earned during this period, you may still be eligible for benefits using an alternate base period, which comprises the four most recently worked calendar quarters.

To determine whether you meet Hawaii’s monetary eligibility requirements, and to estimate your weekly benefit amount, visit our Hawaii Unemployment Calculator.

Wage credits

A wage credit refers to any income earned during employment. To be eligible for unemployment benefits in Hawaii, you must have received wages in at least two quarters of your base period.

Non-monetary UI benefit eligibility requirements

Unemployment compensation is reserved solely for individuals who are jobless through no fault of their own and are willing and able to pursue full-time employment. The determination of your eligibility can only be made after you apply for Hawaii unemployment and provide details about yourself and your previous employer.

Hawaii unemployment claimants are also required to register for work with the State of Hawaii Workforce Development Division and post a resume to HireNet Hawaii.

How many weeks of Hawaii unemployment do I qualify for?

Unemployed individuals in Hawaii are entitled to receive 26 weeks of unemployment benefits during the one-year period that their claim is active. This is known as the benefit year, and it is the 52-week period that starts the week you file your initial application.

Maintaining Eligibility

Filing claim certifications

After submitting an initial application, it is necessary to file a weekly or bi-weekly claim to continue receiving benefits. This involves reporting all work and gross earnings, regardless of whether you have received payment yet. Additionally, it is mandatory to contact three employers and document the results of these contacts.

Neglecting to file a claim certification may lead to a denial of benefits, delayed payments, or potential overpayment and penalties.

Upload and Maintain HireNet Hawaii Resume

You must upload a resume to the HireNet Hawaii portal and maintain it while receiving unemployment benefits. We suggest logging into the HireNet Hawaii system on a weekly basis to search for jobs and check for any messages from potential employers. Failure to do so could result in a denial or termination of benefits.

What is considered suitable work?

The term “suitable work” refers to work that aligns with an individual’s regular occupation or work for which the individual possesses adequate qualifications. To evaluate the suitability of work, the Department of Labor and Industrial Relations will take into account the claimant’s previous earnings, training, and experience, the duration of their joblessness, the proximity of available work to their place of residence, the potential hazards of a particular job to their health, safety, and morals, and other relevant factors.

If you decline a valid job offer for suitable work, you must demonstrate that you had valid reasons for doing so.

Can I work part-time and receive benefits?

Yes! There are two ways you can receive unemployment benefits while working part time in Hawaii.

If you are working part-time or on an intermittent basis, you may be eligible for what’s known as part-total unemployment benefits. You must be registered and able to work full-time, and you must report any income you receive from working with your claim certifications.

If you work part-time for an employer you previously worked full-time for, you can still receive unemployment benefits. This is known as a partial claim. Your employer must verify that you have a return-to-work date, and you must accept any work offered by the employer while filing claim certifications.

Can I receive benefits while self-employed?

Wages from self-employment, freelancing, and gig work do not qualify for unemployment compensation. You must have worked for an insured employer to meet the monetary eligibility requirements.

What would disqualify me from the Hawaii UI benefit program?

Several factors could lead to your application for benefits being denied. These factors include, but are not limited to:

  1. Voluntary resignation without good cause: If you resign from your job, you must demonstrate that you had compelling reasons and tried reasonable alternatives before doing so.
  2. Discharge or suspension due to misconduct at work: If your employer terminates your employment, they must provide evidence of work-related misconduct.
  3. Refusal of suitable work without good cause: If you decline a valid job offer for suitable work, you must justify your reasons for doing so.
  4. Unable or unavailable for work: If you are not physically capable of working and the medical waiver is not applicable, you are not eligible to receive benefits until the condition is resolved. If you are partially employed, rejecting work from your employer or requesting time off may result in the denial of benefits.
  5. Labor dispute: If there is a labor dispute at your workplace that directly impacts you, eligibility for UI benefits is dependent on the existence of evidence of work stoppage.
  6. Receiving other unemployment benefits: You cannot receive UI benefits concurrently under more than one state or federal law.
  7. Unemployment fraud: Making false statements or omitting material facts to obtain benefits intentionally may lead to a two-year disqualification and the repayment of all overpaid UI benefits plus a 15% penalty. Depending on the severity of the unemployment fraud, you may be subject to criminal prosecution, which could result in a fine of up to $10,000, imprisonment for up to 5 years, or both.

If you believe you have met all the eligibility criteria and your claim for benefits was denied in error, you can request a hearing to review the decision by going through the Hawaii Unemployment appeals process.

What can affect my claim for benefits?

Anything that impacts your ability to work or accept a full-time job could affect your claim for benefits. This includes things like losing child care, attending school, going on a trip, getting sick, or starting a self-employed venture. If any of these situations apply, you must immediately notify your local claims office.

When do I no longer qualify for Hawaii Unemployment Insurance?

Once you return to work full time or max out your 26 weeks, you no longer qualify for unemployment benefits.

If you have returned to the workforce, make sure you report your employment details in your next claim certification, including the number of hours worked and gross earnings (even if not yet paid). If you earned an amount less than your weekly benefit amount during the week you resumed working (assuming you didn’t work full-time hours), then your unemployment insurance (UI) payment will be equal to your weekly benefit amount minus gross earnings over $150.

  1. Delta Airlines are offering voluntary leaves in lieu of furloughing other people. They said in a memo they won’t contest it. Does this qualify for UI in the state of HI?

    • Gordon,

      I suggest you call the Claims Center and speak to a representative for clarity and to understand if there’s anything you can do to appeal the determination.

  2. I was let go and the reason “unintentional Termination” Would this disqualify me for unemployment?

      • My 4 weeks was disqualified, how come?? then I got paid for 5 week..
        I was told to claim
        week 9/15-9/21
        Week 9/22-28
        Week 9/29-10/05
        On 10/09/19,
        Then I checked claim on 10/15/19 seen
        Week 10/06-10/12
        Then filed claim on 10/15/19,
        Realized after I believe I was suppose to file
        Filed week 10/13-10/19 and got paid but only for these last week..

      • Gordon,

        It depends on multiple factors. If you believe you have been denied on irrelevant grounds, make sure to present a strong case based on facts and supporting documents.

  3. 5 times your weekly benefit amount. That means if your benefit amount is the max , in Hawaii it is $619. When you earn 5 times that amount you requalify. If you make $45 an hour, you would have to work 9 days to requalify. 9x$360=$3240. You made more than the $3094 necessary.

  4. I was promised full time hours as a bartender at a restaurant and now i only work 2 days out of the week. Would i qualify for unemployment?

    • Meagan,

      If you’re on full-time rolls of the restaurant and if your employer pays Unemployment Taxes into the system, you can be eligible to claim partial UI benefits. Please check with your employer.

  5. my father in-law is has terminal cancer, brain tumors, due to pass-on in a few weeks,went to be by his side, help with needed care for him, passed away 12 days after i arrived,……
    Asked for time off from Employer and asked if i was required/should i file for F M L A,…..response was not nessassary ….. Can i file my claim for Unemployment Benefits for this time….Thank You

    • Belmar,

      I am sorry to hear about the loss. Please call the Unemployment Office in your state to inquire about eligibility.

  6. I will be terminating my full time job due to job stress and unable to continue to work a 40hr work week. Do I qualify for unemployment?

    • Catherine,

      It depends on multiple factors which include your preparedness to prove a “hostile” work environment in case of a dispute from your employer.

  7. I have a 2-month-old baby to take care, I can’t go work since no one takes care of my baby. Am I qualify file for unemployment?

    • Unfortunately, personal reasons are not considered. You will not be eligible since unemployment insurance is only extended to those who become unemployed due to involuntary reasons.

  8. I was recently let go from my job. I had asked to go back to school and still work full time, which was agreed upon on both sides. Then my boss tells me that I’m not doing the same amount of work and “let me go.” I am in Hawaii and want to know if I can file for unemployment.

  9. If a individual receive VERA/VSIP buyout from civilian service to retire early can they apply for unemployment here in Hawaii?

  10. My husband has accepted a job on Oahu. We live in Florida. I had to quit my job in order to move. Can I collect unemployment or partial unemployment?

    • If you voluntarily quit the job,you will not be immediately eligible for UI. Please make sufficient job searches and applications before filing.

  11. I just received a letter (3 days ago) from the UI office stating I am disqualified from benefits. And in the first paragraph its says:

    Disqualification is until you have been paid wages in covered employment of five times your weekly benefit amount after the week in which you separated from work.’

    Please help me to understand what that means – I am totally clueless!

    Does it mean (my interpretation) I would have to wait 5 weeks and then be considered for benefits or do I go straight
    to the reconsideration process or appeal this case?

    Your thoughtful and helpful response is greatly appreciated.

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