How to Apply for Unemployment in Massachusetts

by Maurie Backman | Updated July 17, 2021 - First published on March 26, 2020

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Lost your job due to the COVID-19 crisis? It pays to see if you can claim unemployment.

Lost your job due to the COVID-19 crisis? It pays to see if you can claim unemployment. 

Millions of Americans have already lost their jobs because of the COVID-19 crisis. If you're out of work in Massachusetts, here's what you need to know about claiming unemployment and getting some cash in your pocket. 

Do I qualify for unemployment benefits?

To qualify for unemployment benefits in Massachusetts, you need to meet these requirements:

  • You earned at least $5,100 during the last four completed calendar quarters leading up to your unemployment claim and 30 times the weekly benefit you'd be eligible to receive.
  • You're legally authorized to work in the U.S.
  • You're unemployed due to no fault of your own (you weren't fired because of something you did or didn't do).
  • You're willing and able to start working again immediately.

How do I apply for unemployment benefits?

You can apply for unemployment benefits online via the Massachusetts Department of Unemployment Assistance. You can apply for benefits during your first week or partial week of unemployment. Most claims are processed within 21 to 28 days after they're filed, so keep this lag in mind. 

You'll also need to provide information that includes:

  • Your Social Security number or Alien Registration Number (if you're not a U.S. citizen)
  • Details of your work history over the past 15 months -- employer name(s), address(es), and last day of employment
  • The reason for your separation from your last employer
  • Your bank account details, if you wish to have your unemployment benefits deposited directly into a checking account

How much money will I receive in unemployment benefits?

Your weekly unemployment benefit will equal approximately 50% of your average weekly earnings, up to the maximum set by law. As of October 2019, the maximum benefit you can collect is $823 per week. 

How long can I collect unemployment benefits?

The maximum number of weeks you can receive full unemployment benefits is 30 weeks, but some people qualify for fewer than 30 weeks of coverage. Once your unemployment application is approved, you'll be given information such as the weekly benefit you're entitled to receive and how many weeks of benefits you're able to collect.

However, keep in mind that the CARES Act extends your benefit period by 13 weeks, allowing you to collect unemployment benefits for up to 43 weeks.

What if my unemployment claim is denied?

If your unemployment benefits claim is denied, you can appeal that decision here. You should file your appeal within 10 calendar days of the mailing date of your Notice of Disqualification. 

Get the relief you're entitled to

Unemployment benefits could put some cash in your pocket at a time when you're unable to earn a living, thereby helping you avoid debt. And if you're still struggling to pay your bills even with those benefits, don't hesitate to seek relief by contacting your mortgage lender, landlord, utility company, or any other entity you're required to pay, as many are letting customers defer payments or are relaxing payment terms during this time.

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