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Updated : December 15th, 2020

State: Massachusetts (MA)
Phone Number:617-626-6560; TDD/TYY number : 800-439-2370; Unemployment check status 617-626-6563 ; Unemployment claim wages : 617-626-5039;
Major Towns:Boston, Worcester, Springfield, Cambridge, Lowell, Brockton, Quincy, New Bedford, Fall River, and Lynn
Current Unemploymnet Rate in Massachusetts

Massachusetts Unemployment Questions

Will I be eligible for UI benefits if I am fired?
You may be eligible if you were fired for poor performance. However, if your employer is able to show that you were fired for deliberate misconduct or violation of a company rule, you may be disqualified.

Can I collect Unemployment Insurance if I have received severance pay?
In most cases you cannot collect severance pay and UI benefits for the same weeks. If you are disqualified from receiving UI benefits because of severance pay, your benefit year will be extended for the number of weeks for which you received severance pay. If your employer required you to sign a “Release of Claims” in order for you to receive your severance pay, you may be able to receive Unemployment Insurance benefits for the same weeks you receive severance pay.

My work hours have been reduced. Am I eligible to claim unemployment benefits?
If your schedule of working hours is reduced, you are typically eligible. You can receive a full benefit for weeks when there is no work or a partial benefit for weeks when there is less than the normal full-time schedule. Generally, you must experience a reduction of at least 1/3 of your hours/earnings in order to receive even a minimal benefit but a reduction of that much or more will usually qualify for receipt of some benefit. The greater the reduction the higher the payable benefit. Your actual eligibility cannot be determined until you file a claim.

How does part-time work affect my unemployment benefits in MA?
Individuals who are receiving unemployment benefits often work at part-time jobs while receiving Unemployment Insurance benefits. In some cases individuals file claims when they are separated from their primary or full-time jobs but continue to work at a part-time job. In other cases individuals are able to obtain a part-time job after filing their claims. The law provides a mechanism for individuals to receive benefits while working in part-time employment. Once the amount of your weekly unemployment benefit is established, a formula is used to determine how much is payable to you for any week in which you work part-time. You can earn up to one third of your unemployment benefit amount and still receive your full benefit. Any earnings in excess of the one-third limit result in a dollar-for-dollar reduction in your benefit for the week.

Am I eligible for Unemployment Insurance benefits if I have worked for for non-profit organization?
Most workers are covered under law by the Unemployment Insurance program. However, workers in the following categories generally are not eligible to collect benefits: employees of churches and certain religious organizations; worker trainees in a program administered by a nonprofit or public institution; real estate brokers or insurance agents who work on a commission basis only; consultants working independently; elected officials and certain government officials in policy-making and advisory positions; and members of a legislative body or the judiciary.

I worked in another state. How do I file for Unemployment Insurance benefits?
If you worked solely in another State you will need to file your claim against that State. Some states allow you to file your claim by phone or Internet, while others require you to visit an office in person.

I was laid off twice in a year. Can I file twice?
Once your claim is filed, it remains the same for one year. Your claim can be opened and closed during that year depending on your employment and availability status. It is available until you exhaust all your benefits or until your benefit year has expired, whichever comes first.

Questions & Answers

  1. I am receiving severance payment for a few weeks – when I claim weekly benefits, how do I report the severance payment? I understand this will disqualify UI benefit for a given week, but that I should file a weekly claim to be on record in order to extend benefit period after the payments are done, if I still have not found a new job. I didn’t see any way in the weekly claim form to report the severance payments for the week in which I didn’t perform work, but receive d the severance payment.

    1. Eric,

      There should be an option in your account (after logging in) to report additional income including severance pay. Please check thoroughly.

      1. I did not see any option – only to enter number of hours worked, and if I enter 0, I can not enter any additional income.

      2. There was no option to enter severance amount. The form first requested the number of hours worked. If I entered 0, then I could not enter any additional earnings amounts.
        Since the request has now been processed, but the severance earnings were not correctly reported, how can I revise the request?

        1. Eric,

          Please check for relevant options after you login. Please also consider writing an email.

  2. In March 2020 I applied for unemployment assistance and was denied for lack of income. I applied to PUA and was receiving benefits until a letter on June 1 said I needed to reopen my original unemployment case and get a new determination of ineligibility. That is not possible as they do not have that option. PUA benefits were suspended and both UA and PUA want the other office to do something but neither knows what to do. I am unable to reach a supervisor as each time I am disconnected. Any advice on how to reach a supervisor. Any one have contact information for supervisor Hal Bent.

  3. I live in Massachusetts.

    I got laid off thru no fault of my own in April 2019.
    I was eligible for a pension but did not apply for a pension from my base period employer.

    In Massachusetts, does eligibility for a pension (as opposed to collecting a pension) reduce or disqualify you from collecting unemployment benefits ?

  4. Sam,
    Is it unusual to have to wait more than a month for an Adjudicator to review a case/claim in Massachusetts? I took some seemingly bad advice by correcting a net zero error on the first few weeks that I claimed unemployment back in August (I failed to report part time “earnings” thinking that I only needed to report the amounts I was paid on the weeks I received payment). The amount I earned for each of these weeks was under the maximum allowed before they would have had to deduct anything from my weekly UI benefit. However, I was instructed to rectify this (by updating those claims to reflect the earnings) by my MassHire employment adviser, even after expressing my concern that it might unnecessarily open up a can of worms. So I called UI in Boston and they made the changes manually on their end (as it could not be done through the website). I was told (by Boston UI) to fill out the online forms they sent me while on the phone with them (which I promptly did). However, this put all my future claims on hold (no pay outs). My UI account says I have done all I need to do, but need to wait for resolution by an Adjudicator. It’s been over 3 months without a check! I continue to look for work and file my claim every week, but I can’t afford to be waiting much longer. What should I do?

    1. Clarification: The earnings that I failed to report were part-time self-employment. Thanks.

      P.S. I just hope that UI uses the FIFO (First In First Out) system for their order of claims review and is possibly just understaffed at the moment …because if not, it sure feels like my claim has been buried/lost, with no telling when it will get resolved.

    2. Scott,

      Thank you for writing to us. All I can ask you to do is keep chasing the adjudicator at regular intervals until they get to the end of it. It might be they have too many files on their system. Also subtly lookout for escalating the matter.

  5. I was live in Massachusetts and was collecting unemployment from Massachusetts. i worked on a temporary basis in Rhode Island. That assignment ended after a month. What state do I now collect from? Do I re-open my claim with Massachusetts, or do I now have to apply for unemployment benefits from Rhode Island.

    Thank you,


  6. I was forced to resign my position due to recent health issues Actually having surgery in a couple days. I was told I’d be fired if I didn’t resign. I now have no income. I’m fortunate to have state insurance. Will I be able to collect benefits after my recovery? Only couple weeks and I just resigned yesterday from a four week notice.

    1. Virginia,

      This is a tricky situation for you. I suggest you call the Unemployment Office to find out about your eligibility post-recovery.

      Wishing you good health!

  7. I filed a claim 9 weeks ago and have not heard anything. I can not get through to a live person on the phone, What should i do?

  8. I took a temp to perm job and it was not a good fit. I reopened my claim and I have not been paid for over 10 weeks.

    What is the policy on a temp to perm job that dose not work out and you reapply for benefits?

    1. Brian,

      Please go ahead and chase the Unemployment Office right away. It should not take so long. You can call the Claims Center over the phone until you have a concrete update.

  9. My job is being eliminated 5/3/19. I was offered a severance package. Can I apply for UI if receiving severance in MA? Also I have a part time also? How does this enter into the equation? Unable to get though to the UI office in Plymouth MA. Phone message just keeps looping – tried numerous times!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Need a resource or someone that can answer these questions. Thank you.

    1. Christine,

      If the severance payout is a one-time payment, please consider applying for UI benefits immediately after the payout. When you get to the application process online, there should be an option to declare your income from a part-time job.

  10. What do I do if offered a job but it doesn’t start for a month or certain time period out? Do I keep applying?

    1. Kim,

      Good question. Please call the Claims Center and report the current situation. They’ll advise you further.

  11. I was informed on 2/5/19 that my plant was closing on 4/5/19 I was informed a week later by a representative from unemployment that the benefit length was 30 weeks I have since been informed that if a claim is not opened by 3/31/19 that the term is now being cut to 26 weeks
    is this true and can I open a claim early or be grand fathered in to take advantage of the 4 addl. weeks if needed since this has been in the works for the state mandated 60 days notice and unemployment has been aware of the situation ( we had a rep on site )

    1. Ted,

      As much as I am aware, it’s up to 26 weeks in any state. You may call the Unemployment Office for clarification.

  12. I applied for benefits January 28th 2019. I reported severance pay and paid time off pay I received. I was told to claim every week after that which I have. last week I received my monetary amount but still have not been been approved. I called today and was told it can take a while but its going on 5 weeks already!! has this happened to anyone else? is this normal? im behind in my rent and bills now..

    1. Margaret,

      It’s a government office and there might be a genuine delay. All I can ask you to do is to chase at regular intervals until payments normalize.

    2. Hello Margaret…I am in the same boat. I applied on 2/14/19 and was told today it could be another 3-4 week before they even tell me if I am approved or not….very frustrating!


  14. Can someone in Massachusetts collect unemployment if they only worked at their job for 1 week?

    Debbie McDonald

    1. Debbie,

      To qualify as a claimant, one should have active employment and earnings in the last 4-5 calendar quarters. Please use the “Benefits Calculator” available on this website.

  15. The unemployment benefits calculator estimates a weekly benefit amount of $962. However, the Massachusetts Profile on this same webpage states Maximum Weekly Benefit Amount: $679. Which one do I believe?

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