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Massachusetts Unemployment Eligibility

In order to collect unemployment benefits, you must meet the following requirements.

Non Monetary Eligibility

  • Must be unemployed through no fault of your own
  • Must be able, available and willing to work
  • Must not quit or fired from a job until it’s a just cause
  • Must not attend school, college or training full-time without obtaining DUA approval
  • Must not Receive vacation pay, Workers’ Compensation
  • Must not be self-employed
  • Must not have a previous overpayment
  • Must not apply for or receive UI benefits from any other state or federal program

Monetary Eligibility

The “monetary” amount of your unemployment insurance (UI) claim is determined by the earnings paid to you over a period of time of up to 52 weeks, as defined by Massachusetts law. This is known as your “base period.”

  • You must have worked in Massachusetts and earned at least $3,500 during the last four quarters (base period) and at least 30 times the amount you would be eligible to collect weekly in UI benefits
  • Your benefit credit is $18,381 or less

After you initiate a claim, you will receive a Benefit Determination Form indicating your weekly benefit rate.

Note: The benefit credit is the total amount of benefits you are potentially eligible to receive during your “benefit year” if you meet all the other eligibility requirements of the law.

Your “benefit year” is the 52 weeks following the effective date of your claim.

The maximum “benefit credit” is $20,220—$674 for 30 weeks.

Eligibility Questions

Can I get unemployment benefits If I am fired?

Massachusetts General Laws administers the unemployment insurance program. As per the law, you may be entitled if you were fired for poor performance. However, if your employer is able to show that you were fired for intentional misconduct or breach of a company rule, you may be disqualified.

If you feel like you were fired unjustly, or there were justifying circumstances, be sure to tell your unemployment counselor about them. If your unemployment application is denied because you were fired, you also have the right to appeal the decision.

Will I be eligible for UI benefits if I quit my job?

There are circumstances under which a worker can leave a job voluntarily and receive unemployment. If the law determines that the claimant quit for good reason, and that this was the fault of the employer, unemployment compensation may be granted. The worker would still be subject to all other eligibility requirements, however, including availability to work.

If you are disqualified for any reason, you have the right to file an appeal.

Can I get UI benefits if I am Laid off?

In general, in Massachusetts you have to have lost your job through no fault of your own in order to collect unemployment. When you get laid-off, it is not your fault.

In almost all cases, this means that if you get laid-off, you are qualified to receive unemployment benefits.

If you get laid-off from your job, you must directly apply for unemployment benefits.

Getting laid-off doesn’t mean that you did something wrong or you were fired. It simply means that the company with which you worked did not have sufficient work for you and could no longer pay you.

Want to know about how much you will receive?? —–> Calculate Benefits

  1. I am struggling with performance issues at my job. I have been threatened with firing if mistakes continue. I am trying hard but may just not be capable of this job. If they fire me for performance my understanding is in Massachusetts I still should be able to collect unemployment because I am not deliberately and willfully making mistakes. True or not true? I am also the oldest person in my department 60 years old and working for and with Gen X and Millennials I feel they are impatient with me because I don’t fit in with them.

    • Buzz,

      I can understand how it feels. UI benefits are only extended to claimants who lose employment due to involuntary reasons such as “Layoff”. I suggest you work out a deal with your employer.

      • Wrong Answer Sam.

        Massachusetts General Laws administers the unemployment insurance program. As per the law, you may be entitled if you were fired for poor performance. However, if your employer is able to show that you were fired for intentional misconduct or breach of a company rule, you may be disqualified.

  2. I worked in mass from for 4 years and in the beginning of this year I left my mass job in may of 2019 and started work in new Hampshire in may of 2019 do I calm in mass or new Hampshire

  3. can I collect unemployment if I quit due to severe anxiety from a previous HR case that I filed against a coworker that the HR team closed?

    • Joanne,

      It depends on how the office treats the exit. I suggest you go ahead and call the Unemployment Office for advice and file accordingly.

  4. I have been working too many hours demanded by my employer recently on my current job of ten years. working 12-14 hour days 5 days a week which causing a lot of health problems such as much joint pain and poor eating habits as I am never home to eat dinner til ten at night. I cannot take this too much longer. Would I be eligible for UI if I were to quit due to these circumstances.

    • Darrin,

      A claimant can be eligible to quit and claim under hostile working conditions. However, that is subjective. Before making a decision on employment, please call the Unemployment Office to clarify.

  5. I have a broke arm, and my job can hold it for 12 weeks, I am not going be on time to back to work and going loose my job, they going to fire me. I am able to collect unemployement?

    • Joserci,

      Unemployment Insurance benefits are extended to claimants who’re able and available for work.

      Hope you get well soon.

  6. I left a job that I had for 3 months (1 quarter) to take a new job and then worked for 3 full quarters at the new job. that job now has no hours for me for 2 months so I am laid off. Do I qualify?

  7. I currently work for a dentist who lost her license in 2013 for frauding Mass Health. She had lost her license for a year and was banned from ever being a provider for Mass Health. She has now returned to treating patients. And again been caught treating Mass health patients and I was at work when they came and took all computers and files. We had no work for a week and 2 days. 90% of her patients were Mass Health so she doesn’t have too much work. And I’m supposed to get a paycheck tomorrow and she said I won’t because I didn’t give her my hours yesturday. And that I can’t file a clam because she had no work as well. I am in th proces of looking for another job but until then what was my fulltime job looks like it will be a part time job what do I do?

  8. My husband has worked in NJ for the last 15 years but will be leaving his job to move to MA because of my job relocation. Will he be eligible for unemployment? Which state would he apply for unemployment in?

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

  9. I have worked in mass since may 2017, prior to that I worked in new Hampshire. I will be applying for ui in October 2017. Will mass still pay me benefits even though I worked in new Hampshire for part of the base period four quarters

    • Nick,

      You will be eligible to apply for and claim only from one state. Please apply from the state where your employment was based.

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

  10. I am a part time outpatient Clinician working at a nonprofit agency for six and a half years. In order to continue working I needed to pass a licensure exam. I failed the exam and was offered two other jobs within the agency that I’m not able to do because of not having child care for afternoons and weekends. I will lose my job in six weeks due to not passing exam. Will I be elegible to collect unemployment benefits in mass?

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

  11. I was a contractor for a temp agency in Mass but worked in NH. I worked for 11 months and was laid-off. I collected UI in Mass. I was called back to the same company and worked for three years, now they are saying I have to collect UI in NH. Do I have the right to collect UI in Mass?

    • You must be filing and collecting from the state where your employment was based.

      Please inquire further by calling the Unemployment Office.

  12. My company was sold 3 years ago to an International Company. I have been with the company for 13 years and haven’t had a raise in 12 years. I am now working without a compensation plan/contract with the new company. I have asked for one but they just ignore the request. If I leave, can I collect UI until I find another job. I am VP of Sales and the compensation contract would outline what they will pay me in commissions.

    • There should ideally be no restrictions on the hours worked as long as sufficient wages are earned.

      Please call the Unemployment Office in your state for further information.

  13. I recently gave my two weeks notice due to finding a job closer to my house. unfortunately the job i applied to has told me two days before i can start that he didn’t have any work for me, also the job i am finishing at this week will not let me stay nor will he let me stay long enough to find a job. Can i file for unemployment?

  14. Last October, I left a job of 12+ years to start a business. I can now see that this venture has a low chance of success and I will need to close and begin searching for employment. Will I be able to claim unemployment benefits on my previous employer’s insurance until I can find employment?

    • I am not sure if you will be able to make a claim since they look at your employment in the last 4 to 5 quarters and you seem to have been self employed during this period.

      Please contact the labor authorities in your state for further instructions.

  15. was injured on the job 14 months ago. i have been working with limitations. they want me to transfer 30+ min away to accomadate my permant workers comp restriction ( i am at a medical end) if i dont take the position am i eligible for unemployment (i live in nh but my company office is out of mass.)

    • You may not qualify as UI is only extended to those who lose their job due to involuntary reasons such as “Lay offs”.

      Please inquire further with the labor authorities in your state.

  16. I have been at the same co mpany for 13 years. my company was just bought out. The new employer is asking us to take a pay cut and work more hours. I have a family with a six year old child. I am unwilling to work the sixty to seventy hours that my new emplyer requires. Would i be eligible for unemployment if i am unwilling to work the sixty to seventy hours a week that my new employer is asking for?

    • Please try to work out an arrangement. If the work hours violates any of the labor laws in your state, raise a grievance.

      If you quit voluntarily, you will not be eligible to receive unemployment benefits.

  17. I have lived in Maine for the last 8yrs but originally am from Mass.I lived with my dtr.and her family.They relocated to New Hampshire and I was forced to leave my job in the hospital and move back to Mass.I am now living with my brother and his family and cannot find a job.I have applications everywhere.Am I elegible for unemployment.I am 58 and worked my entire life.Thank You

  18. Can I look for a job in another country and still collect Mass unemployment benefits? This job search would require that I go there to be available for interviews and to start work, but the employment prospects are much better than in Massachusetts so it’s worth it. I can’t go back and forth as the plane tickets are around $1000.

    I tried calling DUA, and they said this hasn’t really come up before, so there is no written policy, but they sounded dubious that this would be okay.

  19. I was on unemployment starting in June 2013. I accepted a new position the end of November. At that time I was told I may have to work one day during the weekend, however, now they have decided that I must work the entire weekend, which is a hardship on my family.
    Can I quit and begin to collect again, while searching for another job?

    • Depends. Generally, UI benefits are extended to those who loose job involuntarily.

      In your case,its difficult to say. Why don’t you speak to a senior manager in your organisation to seek relief? Before deciding to move out.

  20. i receive a pension & social security, work part time theres talk of letting me go will i be able to collect unemployment benifits ?

    • As per question above, I am on social security and have been working part time since last September. I will be off as per the school schedules and wonder if I am eligable to collect unemployment during summer or vacation weeks.

      • Depends.You’ve two sources of income.

        Social security and income from your job. Seasonal and school jobs are generally not considered for UI as these are known to come with a rider.

  21. My husband didn’t work for 7 years and finally got a full time job on August 12, 2013. Now his company is talking about layoffs. If he gets let go in the next couple of weeks, would he be eligible to collect unemployment? If not, when would he qualify to be eligible for unemployment? Mass is law is very confusing to try to figure this out. Thank you!

  22. I am a 40 per worker at a hospital. I been losing 8 to 16 hours per pay period due the number
    of patients on the unit. I have been using my PTO to make up the difference but now out of PTO.
    Can I get unemployment ?

  23. I have been with the company for 3 years at 40hrs a week, they have just reduced my hours to 28hrs @ week, I can not survive on this. My question is can I quit and get unemployment until I find a full time job, as I don’t have time to look for a job when working, or can I get unemployment for the hours I lost (12 hrs)?.
    Please respond!! Thanks

  24. I receive social security disability (since 2006)due to a mental illness. For the past two years, I have been able to work part-time on a seasonal basis for a hotel in housekeeping. I will be laid off this Fall till next Summer. Am I eligible for unemployment benefits?

  25. My position for a company located in Canton. MA. called for me to travel from my home in Basehor, KS. around the country. I have since developed a medical heart condition that due to restrictions defined by Cardiologist, will not allow me to perform the same duties. This resulted in termination of employment. My question is, does that qualify me to receive unemployment benefits?

    • I have worked for 5 years and 7 months at my current company. Over 4 years ago the CEO reduced my salary by $11,000 and told me to work from my home office 100% of the time. Over the past 4 years I had periodically requested a raise in salary and was informed that because I work from home I would not get a raise in my salary. Abruptly this week my CEO wants me to work at the office 100% of the time. My company office is a 2hr commute and costs an average of $30 per day to commute. I asked if I would get the $11,000 back in my salary to offset commuting costs and I was told “no”. Can I quit and collect UI? I cannot afford to commute each day without compensation. This is without question a tactic by my company to get me to quit.

    • If you are able (according to a doctor) and willing to work you may be approved. Have you looked into FMLA? Do you have short or long term disability insurance?

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