Overview of Unemployment Benefits*
The Massachusetts Department of Unemployment Assistance (DUA) provides unemployment insurance (UI) benefits and transitional services to help Massachusetts citizens get back on the road to re-employment. Unemployment Insurance is a temporary income protection program for workers who have lost their jobs but are able to work, available for work and looking for work.
1. Weekly Benefits
Claimants receive a weekly benefit of approximately 50 percent of their average weekly wage, up to the maximum set by law. The current maximum benefit rate is $698 a week.
The duration of benefits - the maximum number of weeks you would be able to collect benefits - is determined by the total amount of your wages paid and the amount of your benefit rate.
The maximum number of weeks a claimant can collect full benefits is 30 weeks. Under Massachusetts law, regular benefits are capped at 26 weeks (instead of the maximum of 30 weeks) whenever there is a program of extended benefits. However, many individuals qualify for less than the maximum weeks of coverage. The maximum benefit credit amount is $20,940, which equals $698 a week for 30 weeks.
If you are eligible for UI benefits in Massachusetts, you will receive a weekly payment for the prior week's benefit. If you have children, you may be eligible to receive an additional $25 per child per week up to a maximum of 1/2 of your weekly benefit amount.
2. Approved Training
Under Section 30 of the Unemployment Insurance Law, you can apply for approved training if you think you need training to help you find new employment. You may be eligible for up to an additional 26 weeks of UI benefits while you are attending approved full-time training. DUA does not fund your training costs.
For more information on applying for approved training while collecting UI benefits, go to the Training Opportunities Program or contact your One-Stop Career Center.
3. Help Finding a Job
One-Stop Career Center Services
If you are unemployed or looking for a better job, the state’s network of One-Stop Career Centers can help. Conveniently located across the state, the One-Stop Career Centers offer employment services that allow you to work on your job search in an environment that is comfortable for you. Career Center staff members are committed to helping you land the right job by providing you with one-on-one counseling, workshops, written handouts, or all of the above – whatever best suits your employment search needs.
Hours of operations vary from center to center. To find a Career Center near you, go to www.mass.gov/careercenters.
If you are collecting Unemployment Insurance benefits and are unlikely to return to your former job, the Re-Employment Services program can introduce you to job search services that can help you get back to work. This mandatory program is sponsored by the Department of Career Services, the Department of Unemployment Assistance and the Massachusetts One-Stop Career Centers with funding support from the U.S. Department of Labor.
If you have been permanently laid-off, within a week or two of collecting your first payment, you may receive a letter asking you to attend a Career Center Seminar, which will give you information on the services available to you. These seminars are held at all Career Centers and you may select the center most convenient to you.
Once you receive a letter, you will be instructed to call the Automated Career Center Seminar Scheduling System to schedule your seminar attendance.
The primary goal of the seminar is to connect people who are looking for a job to the many job search resources available at Massachusetts One-Stop Career Centers. This 60-90 minute seminar is designed to help you plan your job search, identify the areas where you might need assistance and learn how to find the help you need.
If you are unable to schedule and attend a Career Center Seminar by the date assigned, it is important that you reschedule by calling or visiting your local One-Stop Career Center. Rescheduling is acceptable for “good cause” reasons only, which may include scheduling conflicts with other job search activities and/or other factors that are beyond your control.
Failure to attend the Re-Employment Services Seminar will cause a delay in payment or loss of your weekly Unemployment Insurance benefits.
*Information obtained from: The Department of Unemployment Assistance