Massachusetts State Unemployment Benefits Q&A

Posted by ttolliver on

Massachusetts

Massachusetts Department of Unemployment Assistance

Phone:            860-263-6975 or 203-455-2653 (for information but not for filing claims)

Website:         https://www.mass.gov/how-to/apply-for-unemployment-benefits

Who qualifies for unemployment?

Most workers will qualify for unemployment benefits, and during the COVID-19 emergency, eligibility will be determined on a case-by-case basis.  

When should I file for unemployment?

You should file as soon as possible.  Massachusetts has waived the normal requirement that you continue searching for work during the COVID-19 emergency.  You can only file for unemployment benefits online at the website listed above.

What if I don’t live and work in the same state?

You should file for unemployment in the state where you work.

What percentage of my pay will be replaced by unemployment benefits?

Your benefit rate will be approximately half of your average weekly wage up to a maximum of $823.  You also get $25 per dependent child up to an amount that is half of your UI check.  For a personalized estimate of your benefits, you can use this benefit calculator:  https://www.mass.gov/info-details/how-your-unemployment-benefits-are-determined#unemployment-benefits-determination-calculator-.  During the COVID-19 emergency, if you are eligible for benefits you will also receive an additional $600 per week until July 31, 2020.

What if I didn’t lose my job but am being scheduled to work fewer hours?

You can still apply for unemployment.  You will likely receive at least partial unemployment benefits if you are working part-time when you usually work full-time.

I have a different question about unemployment benefits.

You can look at this page answering some frequently asked questions for additional guidance: https://www.mass.gov/info-details/employee-unemployment-faq-covid-19#my-employer-has-shut-down-because-of-the-coronavirus?-should-i-apply-for-unemployment?-.

Who qualifies as an essential employee in Massachusetts?

For a list of essential workers and businesses in Massachusetts, please visit this website:  https://www.mass.gov/info-details/covid-19-essential-services.

What kind of paid sick leave or paid family leave do I get under state or federal law?

The new federal law requires your employer to provide 14 days of paid leave if you have coronavirus or if you are placed in quarantine to care for a family member who has coronavirus.  You must receive at least two-thirds of your wages during that 14-day period.  Some workers in Massachusetts have additional earned sick leave rights under state law.  For more information, please visit https://www.mass.gov/info-details/earned-sick-time.