Massachusetts Unemployment Benefit Questions

How much am I eligible to draw in weekly benefits?

You may collect about 50% of your average weekly wage, up to a maximum of $674 per week.  There’s an additional dependency allowance of $25 per dependent child if you provide whole or main support for your child/children.  You must have worked in Massachusetts and earned at least $3,500 during the last four quarters and at least 30 times the amount you would be eligible to collect weekly in UI benefits. After you start a claim, you will receive a Benefit Determination Form indicating your weekly benefit rate.

Do Social Security benefits, pensions and other retirement payments affect my Unemployment?

Receipt of a Social Security retirement benefits will have no effect on your eligibility or reduction in weekly benefits.

Your benefits may be affected by any pension benefits you are collecting.  You must report to DUA (Department of Unemployment Assistance) that you are receiving a pension. You will also need to provide documentation to DUA.  The DUA service representative who makes a determination on your claim will explain the law as it applies to you.  You will be asked to provide the amount and source of any type of pension or retirement payments when you file your claim. The DUA service representative who makes a determination on your claim will explain the law as it applies to you.

In all cases, you must be able to work, available for work and looking for work in order to collect unemployment benefits.

If You Have Moved from Massachusetts, When, Where, and How to File an Interstate Claim?

When you move out-of-state, you must contact the nearest unemployment insurance office in your new state of residence to file a claim against Massachusetts.

Some states let you to file your claim by telephone, while others require you to visit an office in person. In order to make sure that you obtain the full benefits to which you are entitled, it is suggested that you file your claim during your first week of total or partial unemployment, just as you would in Massachusetts.

Instead of calling the DUA TeleClaim Center, you will have to contact the DUA Interstate Department with questions about your claim. The telephone number is 617-626-6140.

      • My employer cut my pay and the amount of work I do by half 6 months ago. Now, they have laid me off. After working 12 years for the same pay, I am now collecting on half that amount. Is there anything I can do about this?

        • Hi, Jeri – in Massachusetts, your qualifying base period is the last four completed calendar quarters before the effective date of your claim (typically the Sunday of the week that you filed your claim). So that would go farther back than the six months you mention to incorporate your previous earnings when determining your benefit amount. It looks like Massachusetts also may recognize partial UI benefits for workers whose hours are reduced. Have you already filed a claim and received a determination that you feel is inaccurate? If so, you can appeal the determination.

  1. If I live in New Hampshire but work in Massachusetts would I be eligible to collect Massachusetts Unemployment?

  2. My job at the high school will not be replaced. I am unemployed effective June 17, 2021. My salary has been calculated over the entire year so that I have money in the summer. I will be receiving part of my salary up until August 13, 2021.
    Will I still qualify for unemployment benefits?

  3. I was collecting a pension before being layed off at my recent job. I somehow remember that when I applied for benefits I answered a question about pension. It asked what date I started collecting it, which was over a year before starting a new job. It indicated that I did not need to claim it. Did I misunderstand it and I should be claiming it? I’m confused.

  4. I filed my Unemployment on 10/31/2020 and according to the UI website I am still on Hold and Pending and there are no wages showing or Monetary amount? In November I sent a copy of my wages to Unemployment. I spoke to Louis at Unemployment about 3 weeks ago and was told that a supervisor would be calling me back. Needless to say I have not heard from anyone and I have not been able to get trough to Unemployment at 1-877-626-6800. I have called since I last spoke to Louis 3 weeks ago, 152 times once every hour during the business day. Each time I was disconnected after going through all of the prompts with the statement that all representatives are assisting other callers. I don’t know where to go from here any help would be appreciated. it has been almost 18 weeks since I filed

  5. 2020 fiscal year ends in March and the new benefit rate is $120 less for 2021 .That’s not fair because 80% hrs worked in 2020 was part time wages due to covid 19 .. tried calling the UI office and system hangs up on you stating too busy numerous times

  6. I’m confused on the Corporate officer/Shareholder questions. I have 45 shares in the company, and there are 419,000,000 shares. So I really have nothing involved in the company in the big picture. the questions on this area are all about the corporate officers, etc. I’ve got nothing to do with any of that. What am I supposed to put into this section?

  7. My dependents added after I submitted the paper work but my weekly amount didn’t change. It says my weekly benefits then under says dependents allowance $ will it be added together when I receive payment? Or was the allowance applied to my weekly benefits when I applied for them before it was approved? So confusing.

  8. I am 67 currently working in Massachusetts as a Sr. Quality Management Consultant, Contractor and file a 1099. I know under normal conditions I would not be eligible for Mass Unemployment Benefits. I did go on the state unemployment web site and it says if the President has declared a Disaster Employment Declaration I am able to collect.

    Do you think this could happen and I would be able to collect.

    • I was receiving benefits and had 2 2wk left on it. They wanted proof of identification sent so got that to them which they received. I haven’t received any payment since December 22,2020.When I go into the portal it’s saying I have 26wks in there.Im not sure what to do??

  9. I work for a non profit agency and am trying to help a man with developmental disabilities get his due unemployment. He is already in the system but the man who used to help him with this (his home share person) is very elderly and doesn’t feel up to it. He has been eligible for a month and I wanted to speak to someone to find the best way to help. I do not want to get involved with his monies. Ideas?

    • I cannot get through on the link constantly getting error message when I try to access my password. I tried emai, text, and voice and still cannot get through

    • Donna,

      You can either call the Unemployment Office or ask the claimant to visit the nearest Unemployment Office if feasible.

    • Carol,

      Please login online and look out for the relevant option under your account. If you’re having trouble locating the option, please call the Claims Center for assistance.

  10. I am 67 and collecting a Hampden country pension. I am now working a seasonal full time job and am layoff during the winter months. Can I collect unemployment during those 4 months?
    Note: because I have worked nights and weekends for the last 30 years or so I do get a small social security check.

  11. Hi,
    I was recently laid off from a seasonal/golf course job.
    I picked up a job for the winter, after 2 weeks I realized its not going to work out. if I leave now, did I lose my opportunity to collect?

    • Jim,

      Seasonal workers are generally not eligible due to the nature of employment. Please check with your employer if they remitted unemployment taxes and apply accordingly.

  12. I live in Massachusetts and put in for unemployment 6 weeks , but the claim is still pending. I am behind on my rent and have received shut off notices for both my internet and phone. I already exhausted all means of finances and need to know what to do next. I may get evicted and my credit is going to be ruined.

  13. I left my job in Mass for a job in Illinois. I left my Mass job voluntarily but I was laid-off from my Illinois job. Unemployment in Illinois is telling me to file in Mass but unemployment in Mass is telling me to file in Illinois. I am being told there are exceptions for bon-a-fide work that would qualify me for Mass UI. However, I can’t find them anywhere. Can someone help?

    • You should be claiming from the state where your employment was based since employers’ remit taxes in the state of employment.

  14. I was let go supposedly for performance reasons, but I was offered to continue part-time (25% cut in hours) for a set period, after which I will no longer be employed – I have to accept this, for fiscal reasons. Should I file now (since I did receive an official email) or should I wait until my total employment ends after the part-time is up?

    • You may not be eligible since unemployment insurance is only extended to those who become unemployed due to involuntary reasons.

  15. How do I get a letter stating I do not receive unemployment benefits. Any help or direction would be appreciated thank you

  16. Hi, am trying to complete the questionnaire for first week Massachusetts unemployment and I need advice. I am being prompted that my reason for discharge is Discharge – Other. Can you tell me what that means? Also, there is a provided link with a 10 numbers – I am told to go to the link to review my employer’s document. I try to access the link and it is impossible. Any guidance? I tried the telephone number but the choices don’t seem aligned to this situation. Any guidance is greatly appreciated. Will

    • Will, I believe the 10 numbers is the code from your job you had last. You will need to get that from your previous employer.

    • Will,

      I am not sure what that means. The best way to get an answer around this would be to contact the Unemployment Office. You can visit the official website to find out additional ways to contact and also to get an answer to your questions under various ‘Resources’.

  17. I was told I have to change shifts and will be losing 60 dollars in shift differential. I live pay check to paycheck and this is going to be a huge difference. What can I do about lost wages? Thank you for any help.

    • Joann,

      The state pays UI compensation for partial loss of employment (cut hours). I am not sure if they will compensate for income loss. Please call the office for clarification.

  18. Hi I had a phone hearing on 2-05-19 it is now 3-13-19 and haven’t heard anything back what is going on?? I Have a 4 year old another on the way in a month I’m past this months rent and behind on all credit cards and currently drawn all blinds staying quiet cause I think Rent a center’s coming for my TV. I been looking for work that pays my worth cause I don’t want to get myself in a position where I work to still come up short and have no home life with my family. This whole system is destroying what little faith I had left in Humanity and I am starting to have thoughts I will not mention. Please Help.

    • James,

      Please note this is a private forum and we do have access to your claim details. I strongly recommend you keep chasing the office at regular intervals until payments normalize. It’s a govt. office and there might be a delay in processing hundreds of files.

  19. I am being treated for cancer. My employer shifted me off payroll to Short Term Disability this week for the next three months at 60% of my current salary. I will also be responsible for paying my own insurance for the next three months. It’s a Massachusetts company. Am I eligible to collect unemployment during this time?

    • Kevin,

      Unemployment Insurance benefits are only extended to claimants who lose their employment due to involuntary reasons. Please call the Claims center for clarification.

      Hope you get well soon!

  20. I missed the deadline to file for an extension on my claim because of 1. looking for work and 2. moving can I still apply and have a chance of being approved even though it is past my filing deadline?

    • Kenny,

      As much as I am aware, there is no extension available. Please call the Claims Center for clarification.

  21. I was told my current position is being posted and will be filled with someone else other than myself. I will be let go. Am I eligible for unemployment bennifits?

    • Shawn,

      If you’re being asked to leave due to involuntary reasons (not performance related), you can claim UI benefits until you find another job.

  22. Do you I need to claim lottery winnings with UI as unearned income? Will this effect my benefits? AND if I have to claim with UI where & how do I do that online?

    • You’ll be required to declare all types of income during the application process. Please call the Claims Center for further assistance on how it affects your benefits.

  23. I live in Massachusetts My pay check comes from Toys R US Delaware Inc. One Geoffrey Way Wayne, NJ 07470-2030. I worked for Babies R Us for almost 15 years in their store in Salem New Hampshire. The company went out of business and my store closed on June 30, 2018 and that was my last day worked. Do I file for unemployment in Massachusetts?

    • Ann,

      Please consider filing from the state where your employment was based. You may want to check with your employer once before filing.

  24. My daughter moved from Florida did not work there. got a job at smith and Wesson was laid off after 5 months because of low sales. Applying for jobs no luck yet can she collect unemployment

    • Bill,

      She may not be eligible since unemployment insurance is only extended to those who become unemployed due to involuntary reasons. Performance issues are considered voluntary.


  26. I am currently employed full time in Massachusetts age 61.
    I have a pension benefit from a previous employer, who is offering an incentive to convert to an annuity at this time – “early retirement”
    My current employer is re-organizing and I expect to be involuntarily laid off before I am 66 1/2.
    Will the pension Payments from my previous employer impact my ability to claim unemployment compensation when my current employer closes my division and lay’s me off.

    • Peter,

      The earnings from your pension will have a say in UI benefits. For further details, please contact the Unemployment Office in your state.

  27. For last three years, I have lived (localized) and worked overseas and was layed off end of April. I was required to pay MA taxes during this period. I have returned to live in MA.
    I can only collect benefits in the foreign country via residing there but without job it becomes difficult.
    What is my status for possibly collecting in MA?

    • You should be able to collect UI benefits from the state where your employer pays taxes.

      I suggest you contact the Unemployment Office in MA and get further instructions.

  28. Hi my employer is in MA and I pay MA withholding taxes but I work in NH – am I eligible for MA unemployment?

  29. I have a 3yr old that was diagnosed with a type of cancer and I was fired For lack of work and I made about $2500.00 can I apply for unemployment?

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

  30. I am collecting UI benefits in MA, while attending college full time. Can I request benefits while on break between semesters?

    • If you’ve not notified the Unemployment Office about your job, please do so since full time college ceases you from being considered qualified.

      Please speak to the authorities over the phone.

  31. I left a contract job that I worked from 5/19/14 to 6/30/14 since it was due to end 7/19/14 because of lack of work. My next contract was in NH where it’s contract just ended. I am trying to qualify an UI claim on the weeks worked in Mass from 5/19/14 to 6/30/14 but the online claim says I am probably not eligible but can go forward with the claim? I live in Massachusetts.

    • That is strange. Please call the claims center/customer service for further details on your eligibility.

      The phone numbers would be available on the official website.

  32. I retired 2 years ago on a voluntary reduction in workforce. I am currently collecting a pension. My former employer has asked me to come back to work as a pensioner rehire. Once rehired, if I am let go after a 3 to 6 month stint with the company, am I eligible for unemployment in Massachusetts?

    • Some states allow provision of both pension and unemployment. Not sure of how it works in MA.

      You can contact the Unemployment Office and get further details in this regard.

  33. my benefits should have started 1st week of September. I have not received a ck yet. Will I get the money retroactive?

    • Please call the claims center/customer service of the labor dept. in your state for further information.

      We’re not associated with the labor authorities in your state.

  34. I qualified for Massachusetts UI last year because I worked there the year before. I do not reside in Massachusetts but I believe the company I work for is based there. The actual job was in Louisiana this past year. Will I be able to qualify for an interstate claim through Massachusetts if I did not perform any work in Massachusetts?

    • You should be able to.

      Please call the claims center/customer service of the labor dept. in your state for further information.

  35. Having trouble figuring out how to get me and my two children health insurance recently lost my job and stil waiting to recv unemployment but don’t understand the insurance

  36. My company is offering a Voluntary Retirement Program. The package includes salary for a year plus. Am I eligible for unemployment under Massachusetts law, during this time or after it? Thanks.

    • After the severance package payout is over, you can qualify for unemployment insurance if you are actively looking for employment.

  37. I applied for unemployment March 17th, I still have not received any checks, I was unemployed for 4 weeks, found full-time employment the 5th week. When will I received a check for the 4 weeks I was laid off.

  38. My company is moving a couple of towns over. I live in NH and drive 45 minutes one way. Once we move my commute will increase to over an hour. I would like to ask my company to lay me off so I can look for another position. Would I be able to collect?

  39. If I was working full time and my hours got reduced to part time, can I collect unemployment insurance for the difference in pay?

  40. My job will be eliminated and I will be receiving a pension. How will this pension affect my weekly unemployment benefits.

    • In some states, pension may be a hurdle when you apply for UI benefits. Please discuss this with the customer service team of the labor dept in your state to check how it is treated there.

      Remember, you need to be actively looking for a job and must be ready to accept a suitable job offer.

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