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Unemployment Insurance – Calculating Weekly Benefit Rate

Updated : February 4th, 2021

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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  1. If I’m laid off and I go back to work for three or four weeks and get laid off again do I have to do the one week waiting period before I can collect again?

  2. I was informed by the automated phone system that my claim for last week 06/12/2021 was not processed due to an outstanding issue on said claim. I have tried for four days to reach a human to assist me in this matter. It’s been impossible! Please help.

    1. Anne,

      Wish we could do something for you. This is a private forum. Please continue following up regularly. You can perhaps write them an email.

  3. I am trying to request payments from aug 2015 up until 2017 I never received a debit card and just assumed that I was denied. So i did not request payment but would like to now

    1. Katrina,

      That period is past and you might not be able to claim retroactively. Please write the office an email if you wish to.

  4. Ive provided documents that were needed and i have not receive any type of response i have went without benefits for 6 weeks could someone please contact me

    1. Sondra,

      Please note this is a private forum and we do not have access to your claim. Please follow up with the office directly.

  5. To whom it may concern, Please what is wrong with the site to claim weeks? I am at the Career Source and they said it has been acting up for 2 days. I am frustrated so I can imagine how many others are like me. I was laid off 4/16/2021. My UI is showing active but still under review. Is there anything you need from me to get this going? I will give it to you. Please July rent coming up. I am tapped from asking from family to get me thru now. Please please please any answers for me? I am begging right now. I can not be late on rent or they will not renew my lease when it is time. I can not move, to costly. I have been here for 20 years. Please any suggestions. I will pay back July rent if my UI goes thru. No reason why it shouldn’t. Please help. Thanks again, Kay

    1. Kay,

      It must be a tough time for you. This is a private forum and we do not have access to your claim. Please chase the Office directly.

  6. I just filed for my first weeks benefit and am trying to change the payment method. It does not give me the verify who you are questions?

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