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Unemployment Insurance (UI) from the Department of Unemployment Assistance (DUA) offers temporary income compensation to unemployed Massachusetts workers while they are seeking new employment.

The Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development (LWD) has useful basic information to help residents who’ve recently lost their jobs file for unemployment benefits.

Eligibility for Unemployment Insurance

UI is available to Massachusetts workers who find themselves without a job through no fault of their own. Workers must meet certain eligibility requirements in order to qualify for benefits. Basic eligibility for the UI program is based upon employees’ earnings and the reason for their separation from their place of employment. Certain requirements and types of employment may affect eligibility for weekly benefits.

Employees ineligible to receive benefits include:

  • Workers of particular religious organizations;
  • Independent consultants;
  • Any representative of the judiciary or legislative body;
  • Elected officials involved in policy and decision-making;
  • Insurance agents and real-estate brokers working on a commission basis only; and
  • Workers involved in a training program administered by a public institution or nonprofit.

If you are determined to be eligible for unemployment benefits, DUA will calculate a weekly benefit payment based on your former income, the reason for separation from your former employer, and a number of other circumstances that may apply to your claim.

New Claims for Unemployment Insurance

Claimants can either use UI Online or call the TeleClaim Center to file a new UI claim. Depending on the area code from which they’re calling, applicants should use one of these TeleClaim Center phone numbers:

  • From the 351, 413, 508, 774, and 978 area codes, dial (877) 626-6800.
  • From any other Massachusetts area code, dial (617) 626-6800.

Claimants phoning the TeleClaim Center must adhere to the DUA call schedule, which is based on the last digit of their Social Security number. On Fridays, there are no restrictions on who may call to file new claims.

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Processing Claims for Unemployment Insurance

It typically takes two to three weeks for a claim to be processed after you apply for unemployment benefits.

If your past employer disagrees with your reason for separation, it may take extra time to gather the facts of your case and determine your eligibility and benefit. If your application for benefits is denied, you may appeal your case with DUA.

Requesting Weekly Unemployment Benefits

Beginning on the Sunday after you initially applied for unemployment insurance, you may request weekly benefit payments. You should continue to request benefits each week, even if your overall claim is still in process or pending appeal. Once your eligibility is determined, you will be back paid for those weeks. If you did not make a claim during a given week, you may not be paid for that week.

Requesting weekly benefit payments requires reporting, either by phone or via UI Online, whether you:

  • Actively looked for work;
  • Were available for and able to work; and
  • Worked that week (including any part-time employment).

Two benefit payment methods are available: debit card or direct deposit.

Unemployment Assistance from DUA

DUA’s goal is to help Massachusetts residents in need get back on their feet and back to work. Browse the agency’s resources on resolving issues with claims and how to avoid problems for more information, or contact DUA if you need help answering a question.

Seeking assistance with unemployment insurance information? Leave us a comment below or tweet us @MassGov.

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