Massachusetts Unemployment – Learn your Rights Today

  Last Verified: March 2017  

The Labor and Workforce Development (LWD) and the Department of Unemployment Assistance (DUA) are responsible for administering unemployment benefits in Massachusetts. These benefits provide temporary financial relief to workers in Massachusetts who are out of work through no fault of their own but Seal of Massachusettsare able and willing to work. In an effort to improve the unemployment program in the state, the DUA created a new online system to handle claims, payments, and to make public assistance more accessible.


To qualify for unemployment benefits, you must have earned enough money during a 12-month period from an employer covered by Massachusetts unemployment law. Additionally, the state requires that you:

  • You currently live and worked in Massachusetts
  • Lost your job through no fault of your own
  • are able and available to work suitable employment
  • be a US citizen or legally authorized to work in the country

The state may also require that you register with the Massachusetts Career Center. The DUA will inform you if that is the case.

Eligibility Requirements Explained

Lost Job Through No Fault of Your Own

To be eligible for benefits, your actions or decisions cannot cause your separation from work. Workers laid off or workers whose plant shut down are usually eligible for benefits. If you quit, it must be for a “good cause connected to work.”

Able and Available

You must be mentally and physically able to work when you file your initial claim for benefits. You must be available to accept offers of suitable employment. “Suitable employment” can be a job similar to one you are trained to perform at pay in line with what the market offers. The longer you are out of work, the less “similar” the job has to be.

Legally Authorized

You must be a US citizen to receive benefits or be able to prove that you are authorized to work in the US.

Wage Requirements and the Base Period

To qualify for benefits you must earn enough money from a covered employer within a 12-month period called the base period. The base period is the first four of the last five quarters prior to your filing an initial claim.

unemployment base period

This chart shows the base period.

You must have earned at least $4,300 during the base period to be eligible. The total wages must be 30 times the amount you would be eligible to receive each week, your weekly benefit amount (WBA).

The DUA may use an alternative base period if you:

  • Don’t qualify using the standard calculation, or
  • You would receive at least 10% more in the WBA

The alternative base period is the period between the last completed quarter and the effective date of your initial claim plus the previous three quarters.

Calculating Your Benefit Payments in MA

The DUA also uses the base period wages to calculate how much you may receive each week. The WBA is 50% of your average weekly wage during the base period.

To find the average weekly wage, take your two highest earning quarters and divide that sum by 26. If you only have two quarters or less with wages in your base period, take the highest quarter and divide by 13.

Now, take your average weekly wage — the figure from the previous step — and divide that by two. Round the answer down to the nearest dollar. That will be your WBA.

The maximum WBA allowed by law in MA is currently $742.

The maximum you can receive during a benefit year depends on your maximum benefit amount. The maximum benefit amount is your WBA X 30 or 36% of your total base period wages, whichever is lower. The DUA will then divide your maximum benefit amount by your WBA. The answer will tell you how many weeks you can receive benefits.

The maximum number of weeks anyone may receive benefits is 30 weeks.

Claiming Dependents

You may claim children that you financially support. This will add to your WBA. You may receive an additional $25 per child, as long as that figure is not more than half of your WBA. If you have two kids you take care of and your WBA is less than $98, you will only be able to claim one child.

Extended Benefits

When unemployment is high, the state may approve additional weeks of benefit payments for all benefit recipients. Also, the federal government may approve additional funding. While there are currently no extensions available, the maximum benefit week cap is reduced to 26 weeks, down from 30 weeks. This is so that the state can add additional periods of payments (e.g. 13 weeks on top of 26).

How to apply

You can file your claim for benefits by phone or through the DUA’s new online self-service system, UI Online. The online filing system is available seven days a week from 6AM to 10PM. Before you apply, you will need to ensure that you have the following information readily available:

  • Your social security number
  • Your mailing address, phone number, birthday
  • Your alien registration number if you are not a U.S citizen
  • Employer information for the past 15 months (names, addresses, phone numbers, reasons for leaving, start and end dates)
  • The social security numbers and birthdays of any dependents
  • Military employees may need your DD-214 Member 4
  • Federal government employees may need your SF8

You can file your claim over the phone by calling the TeleClaim Center:

  • 1-877-626-6800- For people calling from area codes 351, 413, 508, 774, and 978
  • 617-626-6800- For all other area codes
  • 711- Voice relay

You can call the DUA TeleClaim Center 8:30AM-4:30PM from Monday through Friday. For shorter waiting times, it is recommended that you call later in the week and after 2PM. In order to ensure that all claimants are able to get their calls through, the DUA has set the following Call Schedule in place based on the last digit of your social security number:

  • Last digit 0,1: Monday
  • Last digit 2,3: Tuesday
  • Last digit 4,5,6: Wednesday
  • Last digit 7,8,9: Thursday
  • Anyone: Friday

Requesting Benefit Payments

Once the DUA approves your benefits claim, you will have to request a benefit payment each week. This is sometimes called “weekly certifications” or “filing a weekly claim.” Filing a weekly claim is the most accurate description of what happens. You will have to show that you maintain your eligibility status each week to receive payments.

You will request a payment using the online claims system or the Teleclaim system, the same as when you filed the initial claim. You will have to answer certain questions to show that you are eligible. The questions will try to discover whether you:

  • Are able and available to work
  • Are making a good faith effort to find work
  • Have started or quit a new job
  • Have earned any wages or income that you need to report
  • Have refused an offer of suitable employment

You can file online or by telephone seven days a week between 6PM and 10AM.

Part-time Work and Benefit Payments

You may work part-time and receive unemployment. You may file a claim if your employer reduces your full-time hours to part-time work.

Part-time work will affect your WBA. You can earn up to 1/3 of your WBA before the DUA deducts from your benefit amount. Once you earn more than 1/3 of your WBA, the state will make a dollar-for-dollar deduction. Of course, you will be able to keep your earnings.

If you work full-time during any benefit week, you are not considered “unemployed.” You won’t receive your WBA even though your wages are less than your WBA. If you devote 40 hours a week to a self-employment enterprise, you will be considered unavailable for suitable employment.

You must report wages or income during the week you earned them, not the week you received payment.

Work Search Requirements

The DUA requires that you make a good faith effort to find work while you receive benefits. There are three steps that will help you satisfy this.

  1. You will have already registered with the Career Center prior to receiving benefits.
  2. Make three job searches per week (each on a different day).
  3. Keep detailed records of all job search activities.

The DUA may ask to see evidence of your job searches at any time, so keep good records. Record dates, times and contacts that you’ve made. Ultimately, you should apply for a job rather than simply search want ads.

If a DUA audit shows that you have not been looking for work, you may lose your benefits.

The state also offers training programs and targeted assistance for workers who qualify. If the DUA sends you a notice that you have been selected to participate in one of these programs, you must respond or the DUA may stop your benefit payments.

Reasons for Denial of Benefits

If you fail to meet the wage earning requirements, you will not qualify for benefits. You may be able to request a redetermination of your wages by request. If the state denies benefits based on base period wages, contact the DUA as soon as possible.

Separation Issues

If you meet the wage requirements, the DUA’s examiner will investigate the reasons for your separation from work. If the examiner finds that your actions or decisions caused the separation from work, the DUA may deny your claim.

If you quit without a good cause connected to your work, the state may deny your claim. If you quit because you wanted to return to school full-time, you quit for personal reasons. If you quit because you had trouble finding after-school care for a child, it may seem a good cause, but you quit because of something unconnected to your job.

For dismissals, the DUA will investigate whether you were fired for misconduct connected to work. “Misconduct” in an unemployment context is behavior that shows a disregard for the employer’s interests. Fighting on the job is a clear example, as is repeated policy violations.

Other Issues

Some applicants are ineligible by law, like those unauthorized to work in the US. People paid by commission or students in a work-study program may not be eligible.

If you fail to maintain eligibility requirements, the state may find you ineligible. If you fail to look for work or respond to certain communications by the DUA, the state may end your payments.

Quit and Still Eligible

You may be eligible for benefits despite making a decision to quit work. If the employer does something or fails to do something to cause you to quit, you may receive benefits. If your employer forces you to work in unsafe conditions, you may receive benefits. You must be able to show that you make a good faith effort to fix the problem (to keep your job) before quitting.

Fired and Still Eligible

Your employer may discharge you for many reasons. However, if the DUA doesn’t consider the reason to be “misconduct connected to work,” you may receive benefits. A mistake in judgement, inability to perform the duties or a one-time policy violation may not be considered misconduct.

Often a one-time violation meets the definition of misconduct if the action is severe. Failing to show up for work during your first week on the job or insubordination may well result in a denial of benefits.

What Happens if MA Denies Benefits

If your claim for unemployment is not accepted, you will receive a “Notice of Disqualification” in the mail. If you have been denied and you feel the decision was incorrect, you have the right to appeal and request a hearing. It is extremely important that you act quickly. Your request for a hearing must be mailed within 10 days of the notice being issued.

If you want to know more about the process of filing an unemployment benefits appeal, you can read our page on filing an unemployment appeal in Massachusetts.


If your claim was approved, you will receive a “Benefit Determination Notice” that will state how much you are eligible to receive each week, and the duration of your benefits. It can take up to 3 weeks to process your claim. During these 3 weeks, you should request your weekly benefit payments. Unlike some states, Massachusetts will pay benefits retroactively from the date you filed as long as you requested payments during the weeks that your claim is being processed.

Payments are issued via direct deposit or a DUA Debit Mastercard. You must request direct deposit, otherwise you will be issued a debit card.


TeleClaim Service


Department of Unemployment Assistance

Charles F. Hurley Building
19 Staniford Street
Boston, MA 02114
Tel: 617-626-6560

DUA department phone numbers

Accounts Control Division 617-626-6893
Audit 617-626-6820
Certified Assessments 617-626-5750
Employer Liability Registrations 617-626-5050
Experience Rating 617-626-6893
Fair Share Contributions 617-626-6080
Refund Unit 617-626-5090
Revenue Enforcement 617-626-5750
Reimbursable Unit 617-626-5790
Reports Processing 617-626-5243
TeleClaim 617-626-6800
UHI Department 617-626-5243
WorkShare 617-626-5521




  • Sean

    I Filed for MA UI last week which was my waiting week. I received a Monetary Determination with my weekly benefit amount and other information involved with that. This week I requested my first weekly benefit. When clicking on the Monetary and Issue summary it shows under Monetary Determination as active. Below determination of eligibility it shows an issue with ID number being “completed” with an issue type being “earnings”. I click on the ID number it says for determination “ineligible not denied”, but next to view determination it says determination not available, On my UI home page if I click on weeks claimed it says current week status is “hold”. What does this all mean? Does it mean I’m not getting benefits for that week or are they still processing my claim?

  • Glen Gaines

    Hey I worked (paid internship) from April 2017 – Sept 2017. I made more then 4,300 at 15/hr and $525.00 per week, $1150 biweekly. Would I be eligible for benefits?

    • You qualify monetarily for about $86/wk. However, the internship may be a disqualifier. Even if MA approves the claim, keep in mind, if you are collecting benefits, you are expected to search for and be willing to accept work if offered. Further, if you are returning to school, MA will need to approve your class schedule. If you are not able to quit school, drop classes, change your schedule to accept work, MA will disqualify you.

  • Melissa Rich

    My husband got laid off back in July. We were getting unemployment and his year was up so we had to reopen his claim. We did this on July 30th. We have been claiming each week. We got our monetary determination letter saying we would get 684 a week.

    I have claimed for 3 weeks now. The first week I got a notice saying it was our waiting week so we wouildnt get benefits. I have called 2 times since and it didn’t say we were getting anything and online shows our 2 weeks for far with no $$ listed and “hold”. Are we just in the waiting time for initial checks or are we getting denied?

    • When, exactly, is “back in July?” Was it July 2016 or July 2017? Assuming he’s worked again at some point since July 2016, eventually you should be getting benefits under this new claim. MA is doing a new investigation on this most recent 2017 layoff, similar to when he applied a year ago. MA is very slow in processing claim applications, so, no, there is no denial. You need to wait for claim approval.

      If, otoh, he has not worked since July 2016, then there will be no benefits at all.

  • Michelle Cote

    My eligibility determination says “ineligible, not denied”. What does that mean? Am I entitled to receive UI benefits?

  • Jon

    I was terminated from my job after I was in a car accident and they would not allow me light duty and due to not being able to return to full duty they let me go. I opened my claim, but I am now going on the 9th week of waiting and seeing message online of due to high volume keep claiming weekly benefits. I emailed state rep, but going on a week now with no response. Any help/advice?

    • Email your rep again, also your state senator’s ofice, and followup with phone calls to their offices. Nine weeks is too long. You were discharged because of medical reasons. If you are now able and available to search for and accept work if offered and have a medical release saying so, you should be eligible for benefits.

      MA have questions about your A&A immediately following the discharge which may account for the holdup – but that’s no excuse. Contact your state representatives, again.

      • Jon

        I am able to return, however I never got a return to work release cause I had no job to return to, the questionnaire I filled out originally I just put the no light duty and was discharged after a few weeks cause they wouldn’t allow me to return. Not sure if I went back to Dr and they filled one out if the dates would be past when I originally opened claim and that will delay it more? I will also email them again and hopefully someone will get back to me. Do I need to include any personal info or can I just give my name when contacting rep?Thank you.

        • You provide the rep with a clear explanation of your situation and how long you’ve been waiting. You give the rep your MA claim no.-that must be on your correspondence or online somewhere, your name, tel. no., address, so rep can get back to you. Most reps telephone the claimant. If you didn’t provide contact info, that may be part of your problem.

          Any statement from doc on your fitness for work will help MA process the claim. But, first, you need to start the communication going with MA.

  • Kjh

    I am a preschool teacher in MA and I am eligible to receive unemployment benefits currently during summer break. If I receive a letter to return to the job in August, but I choose not to return because of a commuting issue I have to and from the job, could I still collect benefits like I normally would each week, until I find a more suitable job for myself? Hope my question was clear. Thanks!

    • If MA has been paying you benefits as an educator, you should be entitled to collect this summer, as well. The problem arises if you remain unemployed in the fall. You’ve been offered a suitable job and have refused. MA may render you ineligible when the new school year begins.

      • Kjh

        If my job sent me a letter saying that my hours changed for the new school year and it poses a hardship on me to do those hours, especially because I live a far distance from the job & there’s no way they can change my hours back to what they were you think I will still be eligible to collect if I have to leave?

        • You will need to first attempt to preserve the employment relationship by requesting a change to your old terms of employment. If employer can’t accommodate that, when you apply for benefits you will need to assert employer made a material change to your employment contract, effectively discharging you and offered new unsuitable employment as to hours. The issue is covered under a USDOL Program Letter, here:

          Nonetheless, yours is a subjective issue. MA may not agree that the hours change was material.

  • Rene Payzant

    I was terminated after 4 years of employment because I was told that I was hanging up on providers. I worked in the call center and never hung up on anyone intentionally. I was fired over the phone and shown no proof that I did this. I filed for unemployment and was denied by my employer for the reason being Negligence. After 7 weeks of waiting for a decision the Determination stayed Indefinitely ineligible. Can they fire you over the phone? With no documentation or proof?

    • Employers can fire you in any manner they choose for good reason or none. Think Comey. He learned about it on TV.

      If you are still within the timeframe to request an appeal, hearing do so. Employers lie all the time. Whenever an employer alleges misconduct to the unemployment agencies there is a denial. These denials are NOT cast in stone. The interviewers are not authorized to determine the evidentiary value of these statements.

      You only recourse to make them PROVE their allegation is an appeal hearing. At that hearing, they will need to provide evidence of these ‘hangups’ – are there audio tapes. The statement of a manager who is not an eyewitness to the event is inadmissible – if you challenge it.

      Request an appeal hearing. Claimant appeals are won all the time.

  • amarielis santos

    Hi i am from rhode island and i have been waiting on my claim since february almost 4 months and it still says on hold , what can i do

  • Jill Manning

    I was working part time for 17 years when I was laid off. Am I still qualified for Mass unemployment benefits if I’m looking for part time work and report as such or do you have to be available for full time work only to claim benefits?

    • You are not required to work full-time to collect benefits. You were laid off from a long-term part-time job, your benefits will be based on those wages, you are only required to look for “suitable” work similar t0 the work you had. MA will not ask what type of work you are searching for, only that you have searched for work.

      • Jill Manning

        Thanks for your quick response. What I mean to ask is do I have to be available for full time work only? All the questions I have to answer to claim benefits ask if I looked for work full time and when am i able to work full time, etc. I am only able to work part time, so would that disqualify me from collecting? Does this show I am not available for work because I am limiting myself to part time only? I completed the questions to claim my 1st week and wrote several times I am able to work part time when I had to write a reason for not looking for full time work. Now it says my claim is not active and I can select to reopen the claim.

        • You need to contact MA about a waiver allowing you to search for part-time work. This is a 2002 source, which states:


          The Bay State’s regulation on eligibility for part-time workers requires both

          (1) a history of part-time work and

          (2) a demonstration of good cause for limiting availability to part-time work.

          A claimant must “establish to the satisfaction of the commissioner” good cause for searching only for part-time work and this must be the same reason the claimant previously worked part-time

          (430 Code Mass. Regs. 4.44 and 4.45(1) and (3)). These two requirements of work history and good cause make Massachusetts’s eligibility for part-time workers narrower than California’s.

          It is possible, that MA no longer allows part-time work searches but, given the liberal political bent of your state, not likely. Call MA, cite the above reg, ask about getting a waiver.

  • Robert

    Filed for unemployment due to layoff I was not fired as my boss puts it but on 4 weeks no work all he says is we are trying I am now facing eviction and shut off bills I’m in my 4th week of requesting benefits I do my job search and I give everything they ask for I know a few ppl who filed and already for their retro deposits how long does it usually take this is killing me what if any can I do to speed up the process

  • Cathy

    I am getting laid off. I used to work 35 hrs a week, My boss wants to pay me for a 2-3 hours every 2 weeks. Can I apply for unemployment?

    • Absolutely, apply for benefits. The weeks you work an hour or two, you report the GROSS earnings when you submit your weekly certifications. Do this ASAP. MA can take a very long time to process a new application. So, apply immediately upon layoff.

  • Kim

    I applied for my claim to be reopened four weeks ago. I have had no response and I am aware there is a time delay in getting paid when opening a claim. What is the time frame on reopening? . I file every week and the message says “Not Paid-Disqualified Non Monetary”. I have no idea why I would be denied but should I expect a denial or is it just that they are backlogged in making the payments?

  • CarrieLee

    12 weeks awaiting unemployment benefits, contacted my representative and worked with them as an adjuster determined my claim. I had stated fired and work said i quit, the adjuster determined I was indefinitely ineligible.
    I am appealing as I am a RN who frequently advocate d for my safety, my clients and home health aides and nothing changed. Also I was constantly bullied, and reported it.
    Now what? I’m claiming weekly. What does this mean for my case ? Clearly all the facts have not been reviewed. Thanks.
    Losing everything: Bankruptcy.

    • He said/she said can never be adjudicated by an initial claims review. If employer says you quit or committed misconduct and were fired for cause, that’s what the state will go with 99% of the time, no matter what you say. That’s why it’s important not to let claims languish and get state rep intervention at the four-week mark. You need a decision as soon as possible so you can get the appeal process going. Unfortunately, MA takes far too long to render a decision. Most states manage to do this within six weeks at the outside, and your appeal would be heard about a month after that.

      Your only chance for a thorough review of the circumstances is to appeal. Sorry to say, there is no other recourse. Visit your social services people for assistance, if you haven’t already.

    • Ces

      Question. I’m an out of state claimant. Live in NJ but was employed in MA. I applied for training with the NJ career one stop center. Took 13 weeks to see counselor, took TABE test, visited 3 schools. Then had to send Ma a TOP section 30 application. There is a 20 week time limit. My limit was at 20 weeks Jan 7. I mailed my top application Jan 9 & input into system Jan 12. I was denied abt extention since I was 4 days late. After all I went thru to get the training and $4000 wioa grant I’m denied benefits. I’ve appealed but wanted some feed back. What do you think?

      • If you can prove you were not able to acquire the documentation needed by 1/7 – despite your best efforts – you have a remote chance of approval. States are pretty strict about these deadlines. You need good documentation of exactly what you did when and when responses were received to prove that the 1/7 date was not possible in your case. Good luck.

  • Nicole

    I opened my claim 4 weeks ago and received monetary eligibility. I’ve been claiming every week and my weekly payment are on “hold” and one says “denied” (I may have mad an error entering that week)

    I contacted my state rep and he replied within 2 minutes. Hoping to get somewhere with that

    How do they expect people to pay bills with no money coming in?? Especially when we pay into this.

    Also called and requested a call back from DUA at 10am tomorrow.

    What is going on with DUA? Gees I’ll take a job with them and answer some calls.

    • Most states cannot process a claim and pay benefits until at least 3-4 weeks after application, earliest. A wait of four weeks in any state is not at all unusual.

      That said, MA pays a very high benefit but can be quite slow in processing – and can take up to ten weeks to approve a claim. It is early days, yet, in MA for your claim, but the rep should get them moving.

      • Nicole

        Thanks. I spoke to state reps office and DUA reached out to me telling me that my claim is going to be forwarded to an adjuster and they will be in touch to fill out a new questionnaire (error on the initial one)

        They said my employer never filled out their questionnaire.

        Hopefully I won’t have to wait 10 weeks

        Thanks again!

        • Nicole


          I spoke to the state reps office again last week and DUA called me within an hour however they are now telling me that because I had to fill out a new questionnaire; the employer has till the 24th of March to fill it out and submit.

          My employer told me that they aren’t filling out the form so I’ll be waiting till the 24th

          Then after that an adjuster will look at my claim to decide if I’m eligible

          I had a quit in lieu of discharge. This is why I had to fill out a new questionnaire.

          My claim had said discharge prior.

          Now it will most likely won’t be approved or denied till the end of March

          I think the system is very slow and I’m not sure how anyone can go 5-6 weeks without pay.

  • Brittany

    Hello, I have been waiting 10 weeks for DUA to make a determintaion. when I go into the monetary and eligibility section the status changed from pending to determined. It does not say though what the determination is. There is no button for appeal so it’s not even like it was denied. I had to call my state Rep and they got in touch the same day and unemployment called me within two hours of me speaking to the state reps office. payment is still on hold. Does this mean I was denied and they won’t tell me until I recieved a letter????? I’m so frustrated!

    • Judging from the MA statement of no answer and the “determined” – it sounds to me there is a denial coming. Normally, if you had been approved, the rep would have so said. “Hold” means no money. Contact your state rep again. Tell him MA was NONRESPONSIVE – essentially ignoring you. You don’t know any more now than you did a week ago. You are entitled to an answer. If you are not getting paid anytime soon, you need to know that now, not when and if MA gets around to mailing you a letter.

    • Sherrie

      My sister got fired due to a heart condition. After 18 yrs of employment. After fighting to get benefits, they randomly stopped her payments. She had an appeal and they denied her. What is going on with this system. Someone needs to help her but none will. What does she do?

      • Sounds like MA determined that, because of the heart issue, your sister was NOT Able and Available – able to search for and available to accept work. Unemployment benefits are paid to those who are fit to work. Unemployment benefits are not paid to the disabled.

        Cite exactly why MA denied her benefits – the exact language of the denial, and the statutes on which MA based its decision. All of this should be in the written determination she received.

  • Jesse Daniels

    Thank you for this thread and information. My claim languished for 7 weeks, I contacted the state legislators of Cape and Islands. After a follow up e-mail one week later both offices reached out on my behalf. I spoke to a manager at DUA that afternoon and was approved the next day, going into nine weeks. Without the help of the legislator’s offices I feel that my pending issue would never have been evaluated at all, as it is impossible to speak with a human otherwise, especially being out of state. Thanks Daphne.

    • You’re welcome. Thank you for the update. This problem of black hole claims/no contact is prevalent in far too many states due to underfunding/understaffing. As a result, the only way for a claimant to get its money is to contact the state legislators.

      • Jess

        Legislatures can be effective on our individual claims, as can those that actually process those intercessions. I hope that those offices note that power for staff and funding resides in their hands, as they clearly want to help, as do those processing claims. I.e. thanks for me, the problem is systemic.

    • Anna

      I need help with my unemployment I quit my job do to a good reason. I filed for my first claim and was approved for benefits, it’s been 10 weeks I haven’t been able to collect, I’ve called every week for my benefits but each week says “on hold”. I called a rep to see the statues on my claim they told me it had to go to an adjuster to determine if I’m eligible and to keep waiting another week to see if anything changed. They aren’t any help and I really need my unemployment to go through, is there another way to get it going?

    • Dan

      I was also in my 10th week of no benefits . I work union construction so I get laid off quite a bit , due to the job being completed . I have been doing this for over 30 years now and have never , ever seen the DUA as bad as it is now !! It is borderline criminal the way they ignore you and your claim !! I was on the verge of eviction from my apartment , couldn’t pay bills , no money to buy food , it was horrible . No one should be treated this way but nowadays that’s how the DUA operates . Long story short , sent e-mail letters to Mass. Rep. and my Rhode Island Rep . That same day later in the afternoon I get a call from guess who ?? That right , The DUA !! They said there was an issue (bullshit ) with my claim , its all cleared up , and a retro check was mailed out THAT DAY !! Everything is now working the way its supposed to . Its a shame you have to get your Rep. involved , but that’s what it took !! Thank God for this website !! Thank You from the bottom of my heart !!

      • Thanks for that update. MA reps do respond. You are right, it is a shame it needs to come to that. Ten weeks is beyond ridiculous – nothing more than a stalling mechanism in the hope the claimant gives up.

  • Michael

    I applied for unemployment benefits back in september. I took them 14 weeks to give a reply of denial. I’m still. Unemployed. I’m looking for work on a daily basis. Can I refine? If so what are my chances of being approved after the first denial?

    • Depends on why you were denied. If you were denied for monetary reasons [insufficient earnings, benefit year from earlier claim not yet expired], refiling in another quarter might change that picture if there are additional earnings in the new base period not captured previously.

      If you were denied because of misconduct or another reason such as quit without cause, refiling won’t change that unless you’ve had new earnings sufficient to purge any penalty associated with the misconduct or quit w/o cause.

  • Nick

    What happens if I earn more than twice as much as my weekly benefits rate in a given week? Would I lose 2 weeks worth or just the one week?

    • You don’t lose anything. The benefits remain in your claim to be paid at a future date. MA may, however, close the claim for the week you do not receive benefits. You will need to call MA to REOPEN the claim the start of the following week in order to resume claiming.

  • Anne

    it’s been 5 weeks since i filed for my claim. the status is still “on hold”. i cannot get through on the phone, when will i hear? this is ridiculous.

  • Kristen lambert

    Hello my hours are going to be cut at work and I was wondering how much I can make while collecting unemployment?? Also I have 2 dependents and I am the custodial parent, but my ex claims one on his taxes am I still able to claim 2 dependents on unemployment??

  • Martinez

    I am eligible until 5-2017 for benefits but as of the first of the year it says I have a zero balance. Will this change so I can request benefits for this week? Why does it say you can see what weeks have been claimed instead of, you can request benefits starting ……. whatever next week would be?

    • Your claim expires 5/2017, that does not mean you are paid benefits until that date – only that you have until then to exhaust benefits available under that claim. You’ve now been paid all money due you under that claim, which is why all you see now is weeks claimed. You can refile for a second claim in May – provided you have worked and earned new wages before then.

  • Janelis

    I filed November 25,2016 everything on my profile seems fine updated yet all my 4 weeks of claim say “on hold” but I receive no correspondece through mail nor email! Im lost I have 4 children I have to support. I sent an email but nothing. Pleasee someone help

  • Thu

    What would I say in the email if I am contact my state rep? I’m confused and new to unemployment. been waiting few weeks now and still nothing. Thanks.

    • Name, SSN and/or claim no. (you might be able to get claim no. from your online acct), date you applied, and that you have heard nothing and need your money – and your personal contact info/email & phone nos. MA can take forever. A very few seem to have their claims processed quickly, but many do not.

  • craig

    I have been waiting 14 weeks for my unemployment claim to be approved. i have claimed every week possible. all my payment statuses say “hold” i have revieved my monetary eligibility but no real approval. i have contacted my state rep a few days ago but still no action. What other actions can be taken? any advice will be helpful.

  • Marissa Sypek

    Can you file for unemployment if you leave a job because you have an injury caused by working? Because it doesn’t say here but I know some states do, but nothe all websites have all details.

    thank you.

  • Larry

    I have been approved and received 2 check or unemployment. I worked Uber last week for less than 1/3 of my allotment. I attempted to input the info when asked during weekly filing only to have a “hold” placed on my check. It doesn’t feel me what to do from here and every time I call it tells me it’s to busy call back another time. Why would a hold be placed if I only made $150 bucks and how do I get this removed?

  • Marcos Matos

    I’ve been waiting for 14 weeks now I’ve sent all my fact finder questions in and I haven’t heard anything back I was discharged while being on fmla for a emergency that occurred the day before termination I’ve sent a message To my legislator I’m on the verge of losing my home to be homeless with my family for Christmas i feel hopeless

    • What was the nature of the “emergency?” Discharge during FMLA is very common and claimants almost always win benefits, unless your “emergency” was misconduct.

      When did you email your legislator? State reps usually respond very quickly. If no response, email again and followup w/a phone call, also your Governor and state senators. 14 weeks is way beyond MA’s longest time of 10 weeks

  • Scott Andrews

    Hello, my wife was receiving benefits for a few weeks and then nothing. On the website is says she was disqualified non monetary but we never received anything in the mail. We’re wondering what is going on.

    • MA began paying benefits on the assumption there would be no employer objection. MA has now received a response from your wife’s employer which it must investigate. She should be getting a notice of a nonmonetary interview. Thus, benefits have been suspended until the issue is resolved – which may take a few weeks.

  • Trevor Davenport

    Hello I am in a local union and worked in Missouri for a few months. Im on a layoff in mass and filed 3 weeks ago. I talked to someone in processing she said they are waiting on wages to be transferred from Missouri. So basicly im waiting on another state and have no idea howblobg this could take. Anyone had any past exp with this?

    • Massachusetts is very slow and can take up to ten weeks to approve a claim – even when issues are straightforward and there is no wage transfer involved. If you receive any monies at all, expect at least a six-week wait from date of application.

      Since you aren’t a resident, the only other option would be for you to email the MA state representative representing your MA employer to get MA off the mark. At this point, it’s too early to do that, but if another ten days to two weeks goes by without any word, you can find the state rep, here:

      The Thanksgiving holiday will also contribute to the delay – in both states – MO and MA.

      • Trevor Davenport

        Mass employers came right away. So that was a easy one. Missouri is the one im waiting for do you know of a state rep in Missouri?

        • MO is not and will not be your problem. MA is. As I said, MA is inexcusably slow in processing claims. Therefore, you need to contact the MA state representative. FYI – “transfer of wages” can be done within 48 hours, or less. It isn’t hard. If MO hasn’t “transferred wages” yet, it is because MA has not asked them. Your claim is still sitting in the MA black hole awaiting processing.

  • Karen

    I received a letter of “monetarily eligible” and “monetary determination,” I have read that does not necessarily mean I was approved, is this true? I haven’t found any “Benefit Determination Notice” statement on my letters.

    I like a lot of others have been waiting 6 weeks (going on 7) for a determination and have not received any resolution, I emailed the state rep this morning as suggested.

  • Justin Gaffney

    I filed my paperwork online on September 9th 2016 when. It has been aproved but It is still in a hold status? It has been 8 weeks now and I have not received any money. I think the entire unemployment department needs to be audited by the federal government. With computer systems and eletronic transfers it should take no longer then 3 weeks. How do you exspect someone to pay there bills and look for work if they have no income that they rightfully pay into. Please look into this asap.

    Thank you

  • Kerri

    I Live in NH but have worked in Mass for last 3 years. I have been laid off. Do I file in NH or Mass?

  • Craig

    My employer has not paid anyone at our company for two months pending funding. If I were to quit, would I be eligible for unemployment? It may be weeks before funding ever materializes, if it ever does. And is there retroactive unemployment in Massachusetts?

    • Nonpayment of wages is grounds for a quit. Accrual of benefits begins when claim is actually filed – not when employer stopped paying you. That said, MA has an unpaid waiting week before benefits are paid. It can take MA up to ten weeks to process and approve claims, average four-five weeks. If you are wanting to quit for nonpayment of wages, be prepared to wait at least four weeks or longer after application before MA can begin to pay benefits. As stated, benefits will be paid retroactive to your filing date, minus the waiting week.

  • Jonathan G.

    I collected a small weekly amount in Unemployment last year. After my claim was over they redetermined the amount and gave me more. Then they said I was overpaid $287.00. I put in for a waiver, but was never given a determination. In September I was approved for a new claim for under a hundred dollars a week, however, they began taking half of the benefit amounts for repayment on the overpayment amount.

    When I pointed out that the regulations stated that they can’t deduct funds until the waiver is decided, they lied to me and said first, that I never applied for a waiver. Then I was told that the determination was “on hold” because I had a pending hearing on another issue. I still pointed out that until it was determined they can’t take out funds. After I said this they e-mailed anonymously that my waiver was “voided” because I had a hearing on another issue and that after the hearing I could re-activate the waiver. Then they lied again saying I was informed about it.

    I asked for the person’s name who sent me the e-mail, the proof of correspondence of them informing me about my waiver being voided, and the quote from the law stating this, but so far I’ve gotten no answer.

    Do waivers in MA get “voided” like that?

  • Ebony

    If anyone needs help in regards to speaking to someone in person, may I suggest you go to a career center. I went to the one in Quincy. I was able to speak with someone and they are able to contact unemployment directly on your behalf. I hope this helps.

  • Diane Clay

    I was laid off from my company July 2015 and was able to start unemployment; once they hired me back as a “consultant” I quit making my weekly phone calls as directed. They closed June 1, owing me approximately 4 weeks of pay. I tried to reopen my claim and was told it would take approximately 6 weeks. Since then I have not been able to get through the call center – I will wait on hold and ultimately be disconnected. Is there an actual office that I can go to, to speak with someone in person about my situation?

    • Your best recourse is to email your state legislator. He will respond immediately and you will get action from MA. Find your state rep, here:

      • Sara Bourke

        How will that help? I’m wondering because I have been waiting and waiting for my unemployment benefits to kick in. It’s been over a month and I have no money, health insurance little food and a small child-less then a year old. I can’t get on any state help because I made too much money up until this point. I don’t know what to do….. I’m very frustrated.

        • How will that help? I already told you “He will respond immediately and you will get action from MA.”

          TRUST ME – this works – and has worked for many people in every state. It’s amazing how fast these UI offices get moving when they hear from an elected official. The state rep will contact you IMMEDIATELY and then will contact the State of MA which will in turn contact you immediately and get you PAID.

          Send that email, now.

  • Deb Modugno

    I opened a claim 6 weeks ago and it is still pending. I called unemployment and was told to continue to make my weekly calls and I did not need to send my severance agreement, it would be assigned to adjuster and would be cleared up by July 7th. I am still waiting and have called several times on my given days and have been hung upon each time. I am not sure how I can to rectify this issues. If I physically come to the Staniford street Office, will someone be able to help me?

    • Tony

      I have the same problem. I, too, applied in early June. I, too, have not had my claim reviewed. I was told if it was still pending after July 7 then I could request an expedited review. When I call back again to speak with someone, the system hangs up on me claiming high volume of calls. I have no idea what I can do and whom I can speak with to have my claim reviewed. I’m very disappointed.

  • Steven Cook

    I opened my claim online. During the second week of benefits I received a check from my former employer for 8 hours “on call” pay that was completed 2 weeks prior to lay off. I claimed the 8 hours earnings but now that claim week says “ineligible-not denied.” Does this mean I do not collect benefits for that week or going forward? I noticed it lists the earnings as newly acquired part time which it is not.

  • I am having a problem to use the website to file for unemployment. I seem to have filled out all the questions, but when it’s done they looking for some other things. All so ask for credit score, which I did but has no place to put on your form.

    Thank you Bernadette

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