Published in: Banks | March 30, 2020

How to Apply for Unemployment in Hawaii

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You can apply online and get up to 26 weeks of benefits if you're out of work in Hawaii.

Like many states, Hawaii may see an increase in unemployment due to the novel coronavirus crisis and the social distancing practices put in place to help stop the spread of COVID-19. If your income is affected by a job loss or reduction in hours, you'll likely want to apply to receive unemployment income. This guide will help you learn how to apply for unemployment in Hawaii so you can start receiving your benefits ASAP. 

The state flag of Hawaii flying over a a sunny beach.

Image source: Getty Images

Do I qualify for unemployment benefits?

To qualify for unemployment benefits in Hawaii, you must meet certain eligibility requirements. These include the following:

  • You must have earned wages in at least two calendar quarters within your base period. The standard base period is the first four of the last five calendar quarters that occurred immediately before the date of your claim. There's also an alternate base period, which is the last four calendar quarters before your application. 
  • During your base period, you must have received total wages equal to at least 26 times your weekly benefit amount.
  • You must be without work or working fewer hours than normal and earning below your weekly benefit amount.
  • You must register for work at http://www.hirenethawaii.com/ within seven days of applying for benefits or with your union's hiring hall if you're a member of a union that offers one.
  • You must be available for work and able to work with no physical or other limitations (such as lack of childcare or transportation) that would prevent you from working.
  • You must be actively looking for work and make at least three contacts per week to do so.
  • You must not be disqualified due to voluntarily quitting without a good cause, being discharged for misconduct, refusing employment, stopping work because of a labor dispute, or seeking other unemployment benefits.
  • You cannot be an educational worker on school break who is reasonably likely to return to work after the break, or a professional athlete in between seasons.
  • You can't be an undocumented alien.

How do I apply for unemployment benefits?

You can apply online at http://uiclaims.hawaii.gov. You'll need:

  • Your Social Security number
  • Your Alien Registration Number, if you aren't a U.S. citizen
  • 18 months of employment information, including your employer's name, full contact information, your dates of employment, and the reason you separated from your job 
  • A member copy of your DD-214 if you're separating from active duty military service
  • Your SF8 or SF50 or pay stubs if you were a federal employee
  • Your bank account number and routing number

How much money will I receive in unemployment benefits?

The amount of your weekly benefit is determined by dividing the wages you earned during the quarter in your base period when your earnings were highest by 21. The minimum weekly benefit is $5 and the maximum weekly benefit amount is $648 in 2020.

How long can I collect unemployment benefits?

Your claim for unemployment benefits is good for a year, but you'll be eligible to receive only 26 weeks of unemployment benefits over the one-year period. However, the CARES Act extends that period by 13 weeks, allowing you to collect unemployment benefits for up to 39 weeks.

What if my unemployment claim is denied?

If your request for unemployment benefits is denied, you can make a written request for reconsideration or you can appeal. A request for reconsideration means the Unemployment Insurance Division will make a determination on whether to reverse your denial. If you appeal, you'll attend a scheduled hearing where you can argue your case.

Your request for reconsideration or appeal can be submitted online at http://uiclaims.hawaii.gov or sent by mail to your local claims office (you can find the address for your office online).You must submit your request within 10 days of the time your notice of denial was mailed. However, if you request an appeal within 30 days but miss the 10-day deadline, you may still be allowed to appeal if you can show good cause.

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