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Unemployment Insurance – Calculating Weekly Benefit Rate

You might have landed here because you want to find out how much money you will receive from your Unemployment Insurance program or simply out of curiosity. If you belong to the former category we are extremely sorry to hear that you are currently unemployed. But don’t worry, you’ll land a job soon and everything will be alright again!

Let’s begin with a quick recap about the UI aka the Dole. These are social welfare plans organized and run by the state or federal bodies to provide temporary financial assistance to those citizens who qualify for the program. The eligibility criteria are often stringent and are decided by the laws of labor of that particular state.

The benefits amounts are often small and funded by the taxes levied on the employed section of the nation and designed to cover the basic needs. They can be availed only after you register and qualify for the program.

Benefits Criteria

Typically, the criteria for a person to qualify for the UI are as follows.

  • You must be determined to have lost your previous job due to no mistake of yours.
  • Candidate must meet the state requirements for wages earned during the base period.
  • Should be actively seeking work.

For further assistance, you can try Unemployment eligibility Calculator tool. It is basically a quiz in which you answer a few questions to determine if you qualify for the benefits or not.

Let’s move on to the most important part now. How much will you receive as benefit?

For this, you need to know what the base period means.

The base period is often a one year period, the earliest four of the last 5 complete quarters of that calendar year. i.e., if you apply for Unemployment Insurance in the March of 2014, your base period will be October 1st 2012 to December 31st 2013.

Weekly Benefit Amount (WBA)

The WBA is the amount of benefits you will receive each week as long as you are eligible. The rate is different in different states. Approximately, this figure is about 50 to 60% of your average weekly earnings during the base period. Many states use some kind of formula to determine your benefits, and even this formula is subject to change with each passing year.

Confusing? Don’t worry, we have simplified it for you.

Try our Unemployment Benefit Calculator to get an estimate of the benefit amount you may receive. This tool gives you an approximate amount that you may receive based on the data you provide. You have to provide details of your state and the wages earned during the base period.

If the WBR is lower than the amount you qualified for, you can sometimes obtain Dependency benefit. If so, you may be entitled to receive and additional 7% of your weekly benefit for your first dependant. And 4% each for the next two dependents. Again these are rough numbers and vary by state. Terms and conditions apply for this, of course.

Maximum Benefit Amount (MBA)

The overall amount of benefit you may receive is called as the Maximum Benefit Amount. The MBA is obtained by multiplying WBR with the total number of weeks in the duration of UI. The maximum duration is 26 weeks. However, this can be extended in some cases.

You have to register and qualify for the program before you can receive any financial assistance. Benefits usually arrive within a week or two post registering for the Dole.

Keep in mind that these benefits are subject to taxes and you must inform the same to respective authorities. In addition to all this, stay calm and positive and actively search for a new job. Some states may mandatorily ask you to sign up for employment services thereby improving your chances of securing a new job.

Hope you found this informative and all the best to you!

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