Immigrants make up 15% of the Massachusetts population and 17% of the workforce. They come from all over the world and speak many different languages.
Like any other Massachusetts resident, working immigrants can be affected by layoffs and may need to file for unemployment benefits. Immigrants with limited proficiency speaking and writing English may find the process of filing an unemployment insurance claim more challenging, especially if there are potential issues with their claim.
This is where the Office of Multilingual Services comes in. A team of three job specialists provides dedicated services in 12 languages to help these claimants understand their UI rights and responsibilities, and explain how to file an appeal if they are disqualified for UI benefits.
What Should You Do If You Need Language Assistance
Language assistance is provided by phone and web, and through written translation. We encourage you to do the following:
- Call our toll-free number listed in the correspondence. Language assistance is provided in Spanish, Haitian Creole, Portuguese, Chinese, Russian, Italian, Laotian, Khmer, Vietnamese, Korean, French and Arabic. You can call with questions and other issues related to your unemployment claim. Before contacting the Office of Multilingual Services, please review all correspondence from the Department of Unemployment Assistance (DUA) carefully. Most correspondence has translation or babel in the 12 key languages.
- Request interpreter services in any of 100 or more languages if you’re filing a new claim or speaking with a DUA agent to resolve an issue.
- Access translated DUA publications in any of 12 languages at www.mass.gov/eolwd/multilingual to help you understand how Unemployment Insurance works.
- Review additional unemployment information and updates on DUA’s website www.mass.gov/dua in any of 40 available languages by selecting the language feature at the top right section of our website.
We strive to reduce language barriers impacting unemployment claimants every day with patience, sensitivity and compassion. If you need language assistance, please do not hesitate to contact us.
Catalina is typical of many customers with language barriers that we talk to daily. When I was called down to meet Catalina at the UI Walk-In Center in Boston, she looked lost and confused. I greeted her in Italian, “Buongiorno signora” and she beamed. “Parla italiano?” she replied, her demeanor changing. Catalina had never been unemployed before but now found herself laid off, and having to confront an unfamiliar procedure in an unfamiliar language. A hardworking fresh pasta maker, she explained that many businesses and restaurants nowadays use machines to make pasta, so her trade is disappearing. I listened to all her issues and concerns and gave her an informational sheet in Italian on how to request UI benefits by telephone, the address of a One-Stop Career Center near her home to help her look for a job and a list of English as a Second Language (ESL) classes near her home. Catalina called back in a few days later to thank us for giving her confidence and hope on her road to re-employment.
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