How Long Do I Have to Work For to Collect Unemployment in Minnesota?

Minnesota has two methods in determining eligibility for unemployment insurance, but considered whichever method results in the higher amount.

Either a total base period earnings of $2,400 is used or 5.3%  of Minnesota’s Average Annual Wages (AAW) [rounded to the lower $100] is used.

As of May, 2013 the AAW of Minnesota is $47,370

5.3% of this is $2,510.61

Therefore, to qualify for unemployment insurance in Minnesota, your total base period earnings must have been at least $2,500. You also must have worked during at least one quarter of the base period.

Minnesota’s regular base period is different from the majority of other states. The last four completed calendar quarters are used provided that the effective date of the unemployment insurance claim is not during the month before the fourth completed calendar quarter (whereas most states use the first four).

MN offers both an extended base period and an alternate base period. The alternate base period considers the first four of the last five completed calendar quarters. The extended base period is available for those who qualify. To qualify, you must have received worker’s compensation [due to being disabled/injured/sick]. If you qualify, then your base period may be extended up to four quarters. The amount your base period can be extended [up to four quarters] depends upon the length of time you spent receiving worker’s compensation.

In Minnesota an employer or employing unit is covered under unemployment insurance if it paid at least $1,500 in wages during any calendar quarter in the current or previous calendar year. Further, an employer/employing unit is also covered under unemployment insurance if it paid wages to at least one employee and employed said worker at least one day per week during the 20 weeks of the current or previous calendar year.


  • Eric

    I worked in North Dakota from 4-25-17 thru 7-29-17. I started a job in Minnesota on 8-6-2017. If I’m laid off in the next couple weeks will I qualify for unemployment ? I averaged approximately 2000$ per week pay

    • If you have no earnings prior to April 2017, you don’t qualify in ND at all. You won’t qualify in MN until October 1 when MN can review wages October 1, 2016-September 30, 2017 from both MN and ND. You would apply for a combined wage claim.

      You should try to apply over the phone, if possible, requesting MN use both MN and ND wages. If you can’t apply over the phone, MN won’t check ND wages which means you get a smaller claim or none at all.

  • kevin

    I have been approved and the state paid training via the dislocated worker program which will last until around end of November. My weekly UI claims does no longer ask whether I have been looking for work.. It only says did you go to training Monday to Friday. Furthermore, I just got a job offer which i accepted and which will start in two weeks. I will be taking the dislocated training classes in the evenings and weekends while i work in my new job. My question is, if I report i found a new job, would I be in trouble? or do i even need to report i found a new job?

    Thank you,

    • You report the new job. Training benefits are paid to those not working – the presumption is you are training for a job and need the financial support in lieu of wages. If you collect both training training benefits and wages, you could be subject to repayment of all benefits received plus fraud penalties. Report the job. Let your state determine your continuing eligibility for these benefits. They’ll find out about the job eventually, because the income reported to your state will be cross-checked with your SSN and benefits paid. Don’t let it come to that.

  • Jack Brice

    Almost exactly a year ago I lost my job and was drawing unemployment benefits until 5 months ago when I found a job which I started 3/20/17. Well I’ve now lost that job.

    When I apply it says my estimated benefits are $0. Am I disqualified?

    • No, you are not disqualified. Because you’ve worked for over three months, you are definitely eligible for another claim when the current benefit year expires. However, you may have applied too soon. Check the expiration date of the first claim. Be sure not to apply before that date.

      MN needs to examine earnings through 6/30/17 to determine new claim eligibility. It’s database may not yet be up-to-date. You will probably need to provide proof earnings.

  • Jess

    I was fired from a job that I worked 04/2013-01/2017 without unemployment due to misconduct. I started a new job 06/21. I have already made enough $ to qualify for benefits… this job is seasonal and will only be another 4 weeks or so. Have I worked enough to reset my benefits?

    • You need to have earned at least $2,700 on or before June 30, 2017 in order to establish a claim now. Otherwise, you will need to wait until October 1 to file a claim, at which time earnings through 9/30/2017 can next be considered.

      • Jess

        Great, I only made $1000 by June 30th. So if I apply in October, will the 7 weeks I worked even be enough? (I’ve already made $4375) (I assume the 04/2013-01/2017 work does not count since I was denied…)

        • MN determines benefits on earnings, not weeks worked. Divide 50% of total wages by 52 to arrive at an estimated benefit.

          I don’t know if MN will zero out the wage credits or not. Your decision letter detailing the penalty should have so stated if MN was doing that.

          If you’ve already earned enough to purge the MC penalty, apply when you lose the job. If MN won’t use the earlier wages at that time, then you’ll need to reapply in October when MN can use wages through 9/30/2017.

  • Emily

    I was laid off today July 4th from a job I started in April, weekly pay of $1404. Do I qualify for UI?
    Reason stated was downsizing.
    Received a week pay as severance.

  • Joe

    I was making 62K and my employer laid me off two weeks ago. I also had a part-time supplementary job making $14 an hour.. I told my part-time employer, I need to to focus on getting a job in my specialty field and that I need to take some time off. Would I qualify for UI benefits for a leave of absence from my part time job to get a job in my specialty field making 62K a year?

    • You are eligible for benefits from the $62k/year job. Quitting a part-time job while collecting benefits from the $62k job to look for better work is not good cause. If you now quit your part-time job, MN will render you disqualified. The time to have quit that job was at least three months before losing the full-time job.

      You need to continue to work that part-time job or lose your benefits. When claiming benefits from the full-time job, MN will deduct 50% of your part-time earnings from your weekly benefit and pay you the difference.

      • Joe

        I didnt quit. I took a month off ‘leave of absence’ to search for a better job in my field of training. I will be back within a month to the part-time Job. Would they still disqualify me or would they pay me UI?

        • Assuming you’ve been reporting this part-time income on your weekly certifications, when you no longer report, MN will discontinue benefits to investigate why the income stopped and will suspend unemployment benefits for the period of time you are on the LOA. Once you return to work part-time, benefits should resume.

          • Joe

            Thank you.

          • Joe

            Sorry Final question…What if i enroll in one of the training programs UI is willing to pay for. Do i still need to go to my part time job. I think it would make sense to quit the part time job to focus on the studying UI is willing to pay for which costs around $7K. Thanks in advance!

          • CTB program parameters vary by state. I don’t know much about CTB. Generally, what I do know is that, for most people (with certain exceptions), you have to be collecting unemployment benefits and apply for CTB within 16 weeks of when you established the claim. I wouldn’t think MN would allow you to quit a part-time job, but they might. You definitely should inquire about that. Sorry, I can’t give you a better answer.

  • I was hired and started work at Fey Industries in Edgerton MN on April 5, 2017. I was told today that 6/8/2017 that I was terminated due to unsatisfactory work. After only two weeks of work and I have never done plant assembly line work before in my years of working! I decided to work for two weeks and will be done on the 23rd.
    In total of all my paychecks, I will collect 7 paychecks with my pay being $800.00 before taxes. I am wanting to know whether or not I will be eligible. When I was hired Fey Industries was told of the fact that I have never done plant work. Please let me know!

    • Earnings and time worked at your recent job isn’t what matters. What matters is your earnings Jan-Dec. 2016 or, in the alternative, Apr 2016-Mar 2017. If you have no work history in those periods, wait until July 2nd to apply for benefits at which time MN will consider earnings through 6/30/2017. You only need $2,700 to qualify.

  • Dave

    I am thinking about applying a higher paying job that lays off in the winter. If I get the job would I get full unemployment benefits in MN?

    • You shouldn’t have a problem if your work history up to this time has been good. MN has a very low earnings requirement and will look at ALL wages going back 18 months. If you’re laid off between Oct-Dec, MN will review wages July 1, 2016-June 30, 2017.

  • Russell Bantin

    For the previous 19 years I worked as a teacher for a church school that did not pay into unemployment. However, last year I worked for a different school that paid into it but the school is closing this year. My contract was for 10 months. I will be unemployed at the end of May. Can I apply?

  • Charity


    I was fired due to being late for work too often at a full time job I’ve held for the past 8 months as a restaurant server.. Am I eligible for unemployment benefits?

  • Kathy

    I have lived in MN for the past 5 years. The company I worked for was located in NY. I worked out of my home office as an employee. Would I apply to MN or NY for unemployment insurance ?

  • b folkerts

    I started a new job this year as a tax preparer I eligible to collect unemployment when the tax season is over

    • Depends on your work history and earnings. You need total earnings in your base period of at least $2,700, or 5.3% of MN’s average weekly wage. Base period will depend on when you file for benefits. MN base periods explained, here:

      • b folkerts

        I started a new job this year as a tax preparer I eligible to collect unemployment when the tax season is over

        I have worked a full time job in minnesota before this for 5 years .. what im concerned about is next year when I dont have that full time job .. how many months or hours will I have to work to qualify for unemployment. Also when on unemployment what happens if I work a part time job part time job

      • b folkerts

        I have worked a full time job in minnesota for 5 years before starting this job my concern is next year when I don’t have the full time job how many months or hours will I have to work to qualify for unemployment also when on unemployment what happens if I work a part time job

  • NSV

    My mom was employed for 19 years and was laid off in June 2016. She finally was approved for unemployment benefits after a month. Now, she said that her unemployment benefits will be denied because the system says she’s maxed out her available benefits. Can someone please explain and elaborate? It doesn’t seem to add up at all. Please and thank you in advance.

  • Jody

    I was fired from my job today. I started on 12/26/16 and today is 3/2/17. Do I qualify for MN, unemployment?

  • Ferrol

    I started working full time 5/2/2016. I suffered a brain aneurysm that hospitalize me over 3 weeks. Four days later, suffered a stroke and back into hospital for 2 more days. I did not have any type of short/long term disability, nor was I there long enough for FMLA. My neurologist will not release me because I am having many problems. I also lost my driving privileges. I got a call from the boss’s wife who wanted to know if I was going to come back and when. Also asked if I would consider resigning. If my employer ends up letting me go because I can not tell them a date of return, would I qualify? My last day I worked was November 28, 2016. Employer also said would be dropped from my health insurance the last day of February.

  • Samuel

    I have worked full time for 2 months. Can i apply for unemployment?

    • Generally two months’ work, without any prior earnings history, won’t provide much of a benefit, if at all. Know that MN will only use earnings through December 31, 2016. Anything earned Jan-Feb. 2017 will be excluded from the base period.

      Further, MN’s benefit calculation is somewhat convoluted. If you want to do the math, MN requires you earn at least $2,700 before 12/31/2016 and that your weekly wage be at least $54, or 5.3% of its average weekly wage of $1,026. The benefit is based on the higher of 50% of 1/52 total base period wages up to 66⅔% of the state average weekly wage of $1,026, or 50% of 1/13 of your high quarter up to 43% of the state’s average weekly wage of $1,026.

      Let MN figure it out.

  • leland miller

    I was fired after 8 months of employment due to medication I was taking that made me extremely tired .and last employer never had to pay unemployment taxes due to being a farmer .also was promised 1dollar raise that ended to be 21cents

  • daesha

    I am 8 months pregnant and want to take time off before it have the baby from being so tired. If have been at my job for 8 months can i apply for unemployment?

    • No. If you take a leave of absence because of disability/pregnancy, unless your state has a disability program such as exist in California and New Jersey, there are no paid benefits available. Per this link, MN does not offer an SDI program, but suggests you talk to your employer.

  • David Thompson

    I just started working in Minnesota 3 weeks ago. If they fire me in the next two weeks. Can I file for unemployment?

  • I have work for five months almost full time in a training program. Was never had a evolution, and the stoped scheduling me, for no reason has been given, am I eligible for unemployment benefits ?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *