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Rhode Island Unemployment Eligibility

Eligibility rules vary from state to state in the U.S. Rhode Island uses the unemployment application process to collect information about every applicant so that their eligibility can be determined. Following are the eligibility criteria in RI.

Monetary Eligibility

To be eligible for UI benefits, a claimant must have earned no less than $9,300 during his/her base period or the alternate base period. If this is not true in your case, you may have to fulfill an alternate set of rules.

  • You earned at least $1550 in one quarter of your base period
  • Your total base period wages were at least one and a half times your highest single quarter earnings
  • Earned total taxable wages of $3,100 during your base period
  • If you had a previous claim, you must have held a job in between before restarting a new claim

Non Monetary Eligibility

Non monetary eligibility examines factors like reason for job separation, skill and availability of a claimant. Workers who were fired from their last job due to gross misconduct or lack of discipline are unlikely to qualify for UC. The primary eligibility criteria for UC is that the claimant must have lost their job due to no fault of theirs. Additionally, applicants who quit their jobs voluntarily are also less likely to qualify for unemployment compensation.

Eligibility Questions

If I was fired from my last job, will I still qualify for UC?

If a claimant was fired from his last job, it is unlikely that he/she will qualify for UC. However, this should not stop you from filing a claim. Our suggestion is that you should apply for benefits anyway and see what happens.

If you feel that you were fired unjustly or if you feel that it was unfair to you, you may still get a chance to qualify for UC. If you get a notification saying that the state has denied your claim, you may get a chance to appeal this decision. During the appeals process, present your side of the case and get the Dept. of Labor to see that you were fired unfairly. If you succeed at that, you may qualify for benefits.

Will I be eligible if I was laid off from my last job?

Yes, if there was no mistake of yours in you losing the job, chances are quite high that you will qualify for UC. Unemployment insurance programs are social welfare programs that are designed to provide financial assistance to individuals who lost their jobs due to no fault of theirs. It is not your fault that you got laid off. This means there is a genuine chance that you will qualify.

However, this is not the only eligibility criteria. Unless and until you have earned minimum wages and worked minimum hours during the base period, you will not qualify for receiving benefits.

I plan to quit my job, will I qualify for UC if I do so?

In Rhode Island, all applicants who quit their jobs due to genuine and pressing reasons are given due consideration and they may even be deemed eligible for UI benefits.

Following are the reasons that are considered genuine enough to trigger you to a quit voluntarily.

  • Failing health/ serious medical conditions
  • Not being paid for the job they do
  • Hostile/ unhealthy or dangerous work atmosphere
  • Drastic change in responsibilities
  • Discrimination or other unfriendly situations at work
  • Family emergencies
  • Transfer of a spouse to a different job location

If your reason for quitting your job is any of the above, you stand a high chance to qualify UI provided you meet the other monetary and non monetary requirements.

Next Step – Calculate your benefit amount
Also check weekly claims requirements and job search requirements.

Questions & Answers

  1. Joel says:

    I have worked in RI for 3 years I will be moving to Florida for personal reasons will I be approved

    • Sam says:

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

  2. Melissa says:

    I recently was in a “quit or be fired” type situation. I have the letter of termination, and my letter of resignation. Will RI accept this as reasonable cause for a voluntary leave?

    • Sam says:

      It depends on multiple factors.

      I suggest you call the Unemployment Office and speak to a representative to find out.

  3. Mark M says:

    What are the rules regarding collecting unemployment while going to back to college or some other entity to further my ability to get a better job. I may lose my job due to asking for accommodations. I only have a high school education and am 40. The state is RI. Any help is much appreciated.

    • Sam says:

      If it’s an approved/sponsored course from the govt, you can be eligible to claim UI benefits.

      Please call the Unemployment Office for further details.

  4. Steven Gray says:

    Can I collect benefits if I retire? Filing for SSA benefits but don’t know when I will receive them.

    • Martin says:

      If you continue looking for employment and if the separation from the last job was involuntary, you should be able to collect.

  5. Ashley says:

    I was laid off for three weeks from my current employer, I applied for unemployment and was approved. However, my previous employer (who I have not worked for in almost 1year) called me to let me know unemployment had paid me through his account. I’m worried this is a mistake, shouldn’t it be coming from my current employer, who laid me off?

  6. Ron says:

    getting laid off for lack of production. mortgage industry

  7. james thompson says:

    will I be able to collect ui if im fired for losing my drivers license due to a dwi… I do not use a company vehicle but required to drive to the job sites

  8. marco caster says:

    Can I file an UI claim in your state, if I worked in two states, but neither was Rhode Island?

  9. sue says:

    I separated from Military Service after a 6 year stint in May. I moved back to my family home in RI. I found intermittent employment parking cars on a seasonal basis. I reported my part time earnings to UI in Rhode Island. Toward the end of the summer season, I moved to Massachusetts and had one assignment parking cars in Massachusetts through the same company. I was paid by check on a 1099. I enrolled in night school in Massachusetts. My unemployment benefits were cut off in Rhode island, as RI claimed I moved for personal reasons (school). I am appealing the decision. Is it true that I must remain in Rhode Island and work a part time seasonal job at a fraction of my previous earnings in order to continue to collect my benefit?

    • Ray says:

      I was laid off July 28 2017 working full time In RI and I live in CT and work part time as subcontract in CT 10hr a week.I do pay into UP on this part time job. I was given a severance agreement. I’m working a part time job now. This may end in May of 2018. I have not filed UP yet. How long do have to file on my full time job in RI.

      • Sam says:


        I am not really sure of a definite answer to your question. Please call the Claims Center and speak to a representative to discuss in detail.

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