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Unemployment Benefits Eligibility
General Benefits Eligibility Criteria
In order to receive unemployment benefits, you must meet certain eligibility criteria. If you do not meet all of the requirements, you may not qualify for unemployment benefits. The best way to determine your Massachusetts unemployment benefits eligibility is to apply, but the following lists may help you understand if you could qualify under Massachusetts law. To qualify for Massachusetts unemployment, you must need to meet the criteria for work and wages eligibility.
Work Eligibility Criteria
- Be legally able to work in the U.S.
- Be unemployed or have had your hours reduced
- Have not caused your employment from separation
- Able and willing to work
- Actively searching for work
- Be within the United States the entire time you receive benefits
Wages Eligibility Criteria
- Have earned at least $3,500 during your base period*
- Have earned at least 30 times the amount of the weekly benefit value you would receive
*If you did not make at least $3,500 during your base period, you may still qualify using wages earned during your “alternate base period”. You could receive benefits if the amount you earned during your alternate base period would result in you receiving at least 10 percent more benefits.
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Unemployment Availability Limits
In Massachusetts, you can receive up to $722 per week for a maximum of 30 weeks (26 weeks during periods of extended benefits). Massachusetts provides unemployment benefits for many people, but there are some restrictions on who can receive benefits. You may not eligible to receive benefits if you are:
- Employing your own children under age 18 who work for you or your spouse
- Working for your child or spouse
- A real estate broker, insurance agent, solicitor or salesperson who works solely for commission
- A sole proprietor or member of a partnership, including LLCs and LLPs
- An independent contractor (the DUA will determine your eligibility)
- A service provider for churches or certain religious organizations
- A student receiving financial aid or have a spouse who is a student receiving financial aid
- In the custody of a penal institution
- A government official
- A member of the Massachusetts National Guard or Air National Guard
- An emergency worker hired for disaster relief
Your eligibility to receive weekly benefits may change if you:
- Refuse a job, quit or are fired
- Are receiving any kind of pension (Social Security retirement payments do not affect your unemployment benefits)
- Attend school, college or training full-time without DUA approval
- Received vacation pay
- Receive Workers’ Compensation
- Apply for or receive unemployment benefits from any other state
- Become self-employed
- Received a previous overpayment
If your benefits are interrupted for any of these reasons, a DUA representative will contact you and determine your continuing eligibility. You may appeal any decision and request a hearing if you are determined ineligible.
If your Massachusetts unemployment benefits have expired during periods of high unemployment, you may qualify to receive an extension of benefits. High unemployment is federally defined as at least 6 percent statewide. There are currently no unemployment extension programs available.