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FAQ's on Unemployment Insurance in Massachusetts

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I lost my job. Am I eligible for unemployment?

Generally, you are entitled to state unemployment insurance (UI) if: you are totally or (in some cases) partially unemployed; you lost your job through no fault of your own; you have earned at least $4,300 and worked approximately 15 weeks in roughly the prior 15 months; and you are capable of, available for and actively seeking work.

How is the decision made?

DUA will contact all your employers from the last 15 months. Your employers duringthe la st eight weeks are "interested parties" and must respond within 10 days. If any employer protests your claim, DUA will contact both you and your employer, and a claims adjuster will make a decision, generally within 30 days. 

Is DUA's decision to grantor deny unemployment final?

You have 10 calendar days to appeal the decision (up to 30 if the delay is for good cause). 

How much will my unemployment check be?

You should receive 50% of your average weekly gross earnings, with a maximumamount of $742 per week. Generally, DUA will calculate your amount based on your two highest quarters of prior earnings. You may also receive an allowance, capped at 50% of your benefit rate, of $25 per dependent child (including children in your custody pending adoption). Children can be up to 18 years old, 24 for full-time students, or any age if incapable of earning wages due to mental or physical disabilities. 

Once the checks start, do I need to do anything?

You must certify weekly through UI Online that you are actively seeking work even if you are initially denied UI. 

How long will I be able to collect if I can't find a job?

Regular benefits currently last up to 30 weeks, but if your pay fluctuated or you worked less than a year you may receive far less. 

I had to leave work when my childcare fell through. Can I collect?

Leaving work for compelling personal reasons, such as to care for an ill parent or deal with a child care crisis, may not disqualify you. However, you will need to show you took reasonable steps to preserve your job, such as requesting a leave of absence or change of hours, and you can only collect when you are available for work again. 

My supervisor swore at me constantly and I finally quit my job to save my sanity. Am I eligible?

Yes, if you can prove that you quit your job for good cause attributable to the employer. But you may need to show that you took reasonable steps to preserve your job, such as first bringing the problem to your employer's attention. 

I was fired. Am I disqualified from receiving UI?

Only if the employer demonstrates that you were fired for deliberate misconduct in willful disregard of the employer's interest; or a knowing violation of the employer's reasonable and uniformly enforced rule or policy; or conviction of a crime. For the first two reasons, the employer must show that the conduct was intentional and not due to your incompetence and that you knew and intended to do something wrong. 

In these challenging times your chances of obtaining benefits are greatly increased when you are represented by an attorney.

I offer my services on a flat fee basis and travel to hearings throughout Massachusetts.

Feel free to contact Attorney Renee Lazar to discuss your case at 978-844-4095.

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Law Offices of Renee Lazar
4308 Thompson Farm
Bedford, MA 01730
Phone: 978-844-4095
Fax: 781-687-5807
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