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 $12,600 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 $2,100 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 $4,200 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.

  1. The company I work for is being sold. My position is being eliminated. The new company has offered me a different position but it is not comparable to the one I had. If I turn down the job can I file for unemployment and look for another job?

    • Hi, JoJo – you should probably visit with someone in the Rhode Island unemployment office about the specifics of your case. If your company has an HR department, they also might serve as a helpful resource. It may depend on how the new position differs from your old one and/or whether the unemployment office reviewers would classify it as comparable. It’s also worth visiting with your HR representatives to find out how the company will classify your termination. If they list elimination of your position as the reason for your termination, then you should have no trouble being found eligible for benefits, as long as you meet other eligibility criteria.

  2. I have worked for my employer for almost 20 years. Over the past year I have been getting documentation stating that I am under performing. I was diagnosed with ADHD, Depression and Anxiety, which does interfere with my performance. The final written warning stated that I will be terminated within the next 30 days if my performance does not improve. Since my mental health issues have not improved, can I take a leave of absence and get paid TDI, until I can improve my health. I just turned 62 and am tempted to retire. However, I really can’t afford it right now. So confused as to what to do.

  3. Hi there,
    I understand how incredibly busy and unprecedented this time is. Of course delays in responses to problems with claims will take more time.

    The reason I am emailing however, is a month ago this past Sunday I sent a help request through the covid pandemic app that you have set up for various issues. My own issue is that although I have been able to successfully certify for my weekly payment via teleserve, I have not received my last four payments. The last one I received was in early July. I filed an inquiry and called numerous times but it’s near impossible to get through to the call center. I’ve yet to receive any correspondence or paperwork in the mail of via email in regards to this matter.

    • Gary,

      Please be patient and continue chasing until payments normalize. There will be a delay considering the number of applications that are being processed.

  4. If I was already collecting unemployment before January will I still get the financial help from govt.Nobody is really interview ing for jobs

  5. My job of nearly three years recently eliminated hourly wages and is offering commission or rental only. I am not able to provide for my family or pay bills without guaranteed wages. I also found an advertisement for new employees to rent where there are no spaces available in our business to rent out causing me to believe this is intentional to force us to quit. If I do so, am I eligible for benefits?

    • Sara,

      I am guessing you might be eligible under these circumstances. Please call the Unemployment Office for clarification.

    • Norena,

      Seasonal workers are not generally eligible to claim UI benefits since employers’ don’t remit Unemployment Taxes. Please clarify with the Unemployment Office.

  6. I am about to be fired because they are demanding unrealisting expectations from me. And come next Friday when I do not meet their quota I will be fired. I was previously called their “work horse” until they hired a new manager. She hasn’t liked me from day one. We have had multiple meetings and I feel like they put all this workload on me so they could fire me. Would I be able to get unemployment. I just got a raise and a promotion and was considered a high performer until this new manager. This is so unfair I am being pushed out of the company.

    • Shannon,

      If you’re fired and you can prove it was not your fault in case of a dispute, you can be eligible to claim UI benefits until you find employment.

  7. My company is offering a voluntary layoff with severance. Would I qualify for Unemployment benefits when the severance runs out?

    • John,

      UI benefits are only extended to claimants who lose their job due to involuntary reasons. Please call the Unemployment Office.

  8. I was laid off, with severance package – 6 months pay. Before severance expired, I was able to get a PT job. will I still be able to collect working the PT job before my severance expired?

  9. I currently work full time and part time jobs
    If I quit my full time job due to the effects it is having on my health, will I qualify for unemployment

  10. Care New England bought the medical office that I work in. Our staff was cut from 7 people down to 4 employees for 2 doctors. My job has been changed drastically.I worked the back desk, but have been moved to the front desk where there is a whole new set of responsibility and not enough time to accomplish it. We can not stay late to finish. We no longer have a nurse who did the referrals and now that is our job as well. Because we have a new electronic medical records system, it is my responsibility to pre-register every patient, while the phone lines are ringing, the referral line constantly lit up. Other offices have referral coordinators. We are no longer allowed to turn off the phones during our lunch break, but the time is taken out of our pay regardless if we take a lunch and a 15 minute break (which we never take, too busy) Care New England claims they have no extra employees to add to our medical group. If I quit, would I qualify for unemployment benefits? Thank you for your anticipated help.

    • Nancy,

      You may not be eligible since unemployment insurance is only extended to those who become unemployed due to involuntary reasons.I suggest you call the Unemployment Office and take their opinion before making a decision.

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

  11. 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?

    • It depends on multiple factors.

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

  12. 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.

    • 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.

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

  13. 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?

  14. 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

  15. 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?

    • 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.

      • Ray,

        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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