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Need some help staying on your feet while you look for a new job? If you’re out of work and able to work, you may be eligible for temporary income called unemployment insurance (UI). If you qualify, you receive weekly payments to help cover your living expenses. The amount is based on what you were paid in the last year.
The program is managed by the Department of Unemployment Assistance (DUA).
If you lost your job through no fault of your own and can start a new job as soon as you’re hired, you’re probably eligible for unemployment benefits. However, you might not qualify if:
You also need to meet 3 requirements:
To apply for unemployment, you need to provide personal information including your Social Security number, birth date, home address, email address, and phone number.
You also need information about your employment history from the last 15 months, including:
You may need additional information in certain situations:
To receive payments by direct deposit, you’ll also need your bank account details and routing number. Otherwise, DUA will send you a debit card.
You should apply as soon as you lose your job, because you’ll only receive unemployment starting from the date you apply. There are 2 ways to apply for unemployment benefits.
To apply online, you can create an account on the UI Online portal. The website will walk you through filling out your application. Once you file your initial application, you’ll be able to log into your account to check your status.
Don’t have a computer? Visit a One-Stop Career Center where you can use one of theirs to file your claim and get help finding a job.
You can file for unemployment benefits or get help with your application by calling the TeleClaim Center. The number you call depends on your area code:
The TeleClaim Center hours are 8:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m. Monday–Friday.
You should only call DUA on the day that corresponds with the last digit of your Social Security number or Friday:
Once you’ve applied for unemployment benefits, DUA will review your application and confirm with your last job how much you earned and why you no longer work there.
After DUA has confirmed your income with your former employers, they’ll send you a letter called a “Monetary Determination” that tells you how much you’ll receive in unemployment. The letter will detail:
Next, you’ll get a letter called a “Determination Notice” that tells you whether you’ve been approved for unemployment benefits. This letter is sent after DUA confirms that you’ve left your job for an approvable reason.
If either part of your application is denied, you can appeal the decision within 10 days.
Note: It can take a few weeks to process your claim. You should continue with step 4 as soon as you apply, even if you haven’t heard back from DUA yet.
You can start requesting weekly benefits on the Sunday after you apply. Every time you request weekly benefits, you’ll be asked 3 questions for the previous week, Saturday to Saturday:
You have to complete this step every week to make sure you get your benefits.
You can request weekly benefits:
Log in to your UI online account and select “Request Benefit Payment” on your account home page. Follow the prompts to file for benefits.
To request weekly benefits by phone, call the DUA TeleCert line at (617) 626-6338. You can do this any day of the week between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m.
You should start requesting weekly benefits even if your application hasn’t been approved yet.
To stay eligible for unemployment benefits, you have to look for a job or do something related to your job search on at least 3 days each week. Activities that meet this requirement include:
You have to provide your job search activity if DUA asks for it. When you request your weekly benefits, you can choose to keep track of what you’ve done each week on UI Online or a paper work search activity log.
Monday-Friday 8:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m.
For filing weekly benefits, Monday-Friday 6 a.m.-10 p.m.