Massachusetts Unemployment Guide



Where to Apply for Unemployment Benefits

Apply for Unemployment

Unemployment Checklist

What information and documents you need.

To apply for unemployment, you need to provide personal information including your Social Security number, birth date, home address, email address (optional), and phone number.

You also need information about your employment history from the last 15 months, including:

  • Names of all employers, plus addresses and phone numbers
  • Reasons for leaving those jobs
  • Work start and end dates
  • Recall date (if you were laid off but have a set date to return to work) You may need additional information in certain situations:

  • If you are not a U.S. citizen — your Alien Registration number

  • If you have children — their birth dates and Social Security numbers

  • If you’re in a union — your union name and local number

  • If you were in the military — your DD-214 Member 4 form. If you don’t have it, you can request your DD-214 online.

  • If you worked for the federal government — your SF8 form (optional)

Coronavirus Unemployment Updates

What Has Changed With The Coronavirus?

Gov. Charlie Baker recently signed an array of emergency reforms to the unemployment system, pertaining to people whose work situation is impacted by COVID-19. Those include:

Workers quarantined or isolated by employers, health care professionals, or government authorities can qualify for unemployment. Benefits can go to those who stop working due to "reasonable risk of exposure”, or to care for a family member affected by COVID-19, or to care for children whose schools have been closed. Also qualifying are workers on “standby”, whose employers are temporarily closed due to the outbreak, with an expected return-to-work date. Standby claimants must be available for “all hours of suitable work” offered by their employers. Applicants are not being required to attend seminars at MassHire career centers. Deadlines missed due to the effects of COVID-19 may be excused. No longer in effect is the one-week wait period to collect benefits.

How Do I Apply For Benefits?

Online: The fastest way to file is online. The state says the system "remains fully operational," despite reports of glitches and difficulty getting support. In-person: All in-person services at Career Centers and walk-in centers are unavailable. However, individualized help is available for those in need.

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How long will it take for my benefits to be processed?

Under usual circumstances, it takes up to four weeks for the state to process claims, including a one-week waiting period for benefits to begin, but Governor Charlie Baker has filed a bill to eliminate the waiting period. (The Legislature is expected to act quickly on the bill.)

What kind of information will I need to apply?

A. Your Social Security number and other personal information; names, addresses, and phone numbers of all your employers for the past 15 months; reasons for leaving jobs; work start and end dates; and recall date (if you were laid off but have a date to return).

How much will I get?

It’s based on your earnings. The more you earned, the more you’ll get. The state says you will receive approximately 50 percent of your average weekly wage. To give you an idea, if you earned $40,000 in the last 12 months, your benefit would be $385 a week, according to an online state calculator. If you earned $60,000, the benefit would be $577. (People with dependent children may be eligible for higher amounts.) The maximum weekly benefit is $823.

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Confused on how to apply for unemployment? Here’s a simplified guide on how to do it.

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The information provided on this website does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice; instead, all information, content, and materials available on this site are for general informational purposes only.