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File for Unemployment Benefits
Filing for unemployment in Hawaii is done exclusively online. While it is possible to go to an unemployment office to learn how to file for unemployment, the actual filing process doesn’t have to be done there. This means you can actually file anywhere you want, as long as you have an Internet connection.
However, filing from an unemployment center is a good idea, because they can help you through the following process and help you avoid making any mistakes that could impact the distribution of your benefits.
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Unemployment Application and Initial Claim
File Your Unemployment Application and Initial Claim Process
You can file for unemployment online on Monday through Friday from 6:30 am to 11:00 pm, Hawaii Standard Time. Weekend and holiday filing is from 9:00 am to 11:00 pm.
To file for unemployment, you need to go to the online portal and follow this process:
- Create a new login with a username and password you won't forget
- Click “Claim Certification” to begin
- Answer all the relevant information for each employer, including:
- Why you were let go
- Which employer or employers let you go
- The wages you earned during your employment
- Your employment dates
- Contact information
- Double-check all of your information before submitting your form
- Submit your form and register for work (will be discussed below)
Make sure to sign into your online profile as soon as you can after the Saturday of the current week has passed to make your weekly claim. Doing so will ensure that you continue receiving benefits.
Documents and Information Needed During Filing
- Name and contact information
- Work information for all employees over the last 18 months
- Wage information, including the dates you work for each employer
- Payment information (whether you want a debit card or direct deposit – the latter requires account information, including routing and account numbers)
- W2 forms (to make filing easier)
- Alien Registration Number (if not a citizen)
- Social Security Number
- Driver's license number
- Proper forms if you served in the military or worked for the federal government over the last 18 months
Claim Weekly Benefits
What are weekly claims and why are they necessary? Anyone receiving unemployment in the country (including Hawaii) must make a weekly claim to show that they still have the same employment status and that they are still pursuing full-time work.
Claim weekly benefits logging into your online unemployment account and clicking on “Claim Inquiry.” Once here, you will file for the previous week, not for the current one. Claiming as soon as possible is advised, as you must report wages and it will be easy forget exact details if you wait too long.
All weekly claims must be filed within seven days of the Saturday ending the week claimed or they will be cancelled..
How to Claim Weekly Benefits
- Login and click on “Claim Inquiry,” as mentioned above
- Answer all the employment questions, including, but not limited to:
- Were you available to work?
- If not, why?
- Were you able to work?
- If not, why?
- Did you refuse or accept full-time work?
- If you refused, why? If you accepted, with whom and when do you start?
- Did you make a sustained search for full-time work?
- If not, why? If yes, input job contact information.
- Were there any earnings for the week?
- If so, indicate what kind and input the amount.
- Submit your form
Claim Denials or Discrepancies
When you suffer from a claim denial (or if there are any discrepancies that need to be addressed), the Employment Security Appeals Referees Office can help.
This office functions as an independent solution to unemployment concerns by both employers and employees. They are not subject to control by the Department of Labor and Industrial Relations, though their office is in the same location.
It is presided over by an appeal referee who will listen to both sides of the case, weigh evidence, and come to a decision regarding the appeal. If you win your appeal, all denied benefits will be paid to you. Appealing to the circuit court is possible if you lose.
However, if your employer appeals your accepted claim and proves that you should not have received unemployment benefits, you will be required to pay it back.
This is also true if the Department of Labor and Industrial Relations finds discrepancies in your weekly claims. So make sure to following the filing process precisely.
Appeals Process for Denied Claims
When filing your appeal, you must make sure to send it within 10 days of the mailing date on your determination. In some instances, it may be possible to establish a “good cause” for filing after 10 days, but within 30, of your determination. This may include a personal medical emergency.
You can pick up an appeal form at a local unemployment office, by calling, or appealing online. Appealing online is your quickest option, as it will be submitted immediately.
A hearing date will be sent to you in the mail after about a week, with the hearing usually taking place 21 to 27 days after the reception of the appeal. During this time, continue to file weekly claims.
During the hearing, you and your former employer will present evidence to the board. This includes eye-witness testimony and written evidence. Attorneys aren't necessary, but can be used if you wish.
All evidence and the name and contact information of your attorney must be submitted to the court before the hearing.
If you lose your appeal (which should be reported to you within a week after your appeal), it is possible to appeal to the circuit court, as mentioned above. This is often a costly procedure, however. If you do win, you will receive all benefits, including the weeks you were filing while waiting for the appeal.
Office of Appeals Contact Information
Employee Security Appeals Referee Office
830 Punchbowl St., Room 429
Honolulu, HI 96813
Phone: Oahu: (808) 586-8930
Fax: 808 586-8944
Molokai/Lanai: (800) 468-4644, ext. 6-8930
Kauai: 274-3141, ext. 6-8930
Maui: 984-2400, ext. 6-8930
Hawaii: 974-4000, ext. 6-8930