DUA Application Process: How to File for Unemployment
If you have lost your job or are unable to work for an extended period of time, the Department of Unemployment Assistance can help by providing you with enough benefits to support yourself or your family. To apply for unemployment benefits with the DUA, you must file an application either online or by phone.
Who is Eligible for Unemployment Benefits?
The DUA recommends that you apply for unemployment benefits during the first week of your total or partial unemployment.
To qualify for unemployment benefits, a person must meet the following criteria:
- You did not cause your unemployment.
- You earned a minimum of $5,400 during the four calendar quarters prior to filing for UI benefits.
- You earned at least 30 times the amount of UI benefits you would be eligible to receive.
Filing a claim for unemployment insurance with the Department of Unemployment Assistance in Massachusetts can help support you while you are seeking a new job. The benefits keep you on your feet until you find your next place of employment, which can seriously relieve financial stress and burden during this time.
Alternate Base Period
The four calendar quarters prior to filing for your unemployment insurance benefits are considered your base period. If you did not earn enough wages within your base period to reach the $5,400 minimum, an alternate base period allows you to receive at least 10% more in weekly benefits.
You can qualify for this using your income earned during the three most recent calendar quarters plus the period between the last completed quarter and the date you filed your claim.
How Long Does It Take to Receive Unemployment Benefits?
Waiting to receive unemployment benefits can be stressful. So, it’s important that you prepare to file your claim as soon as possible. The Massachusetts Department of Unemployment Assistance recommends applying for benefits during the first week of total or partial unemployment.
Mass.gov mentions that most claims are processed within 21-28 days after filing. You can avoid issues with your claim by ensuring all of your paperwork was filled out correctly.
How to File a Claim for Unemployment Insurance
There are two ways to apply for unemployment benefits: online or via phone.
To file a claim online, you must go to the UI Online Portal and proceed with each step of the application.
To file a claim via phone, you must call (877) 626-6800 between Monday and Friday during the hours of 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
What Do I Need to File for Unemployment?
To apply for Unemployment Insurance, make sure that you have all the personal information needed to properly complete the application. This includes information regarding the history of your employment for the past 15 months.
Additional personal information you will need for your application includes:
- An Alien Registration number or Social Security number
- Birth date
- Home address
- Email address
- Phone number
- If you have children: their birth dates and Social Security numbers
- If you are in a union: union name and local number
- If you were in the military: DD-214 Member 4 form
- If you worked for the federal government: SF8 form
You may also be able to receive your unemployment compensation via direct deposit if you provide banking information. Otherwise, the DUA will send a debit card.
What Does the Application Process Look Like?
The first step you take to receiving unemployment assistance is filing your claim either by phone or through the DUA’s online portal. This will contain all the necessary information to receive benefits including work history and personal information.
After you file your claim, you will need to request weekly benefits for every week that you are unemployed. Each time you request benefits, you will be asked about your unemployment status. Even if your claim is still being processed, you must still make the weekly request.
While receiving unemployment assistance, you must actively search for employment and track this using a Work Search Activity Log.
Once your claim is processed, the DUA will send a notice detailing how much money you could receive for unemployment benefits. This is determined by calculating 50% of your average weekly wage from each of the last four quarters.
The DUA can actively review your unemployment benefits and send fact-finding questionnaires if they question your eligibility. This will have a specific due date deadline. Failure to meet the deadline could result in losing your benefits.
Once officially approved, the DUA will send you a notice, and you will receive your payment via debit card or direct deposit (if set up).
When to Seek an Attorney
Seeking the help of an attorney to file a claim for unemployment benefits can ensure that you have a better chance of receiving them. An attorney who understands the unemployment claims process can answer any confusing questions you have and walk you through each step.
They will also know the most important information to include in your application that can help support your claim.
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