How do I apply for Unemployment Insurance

Produced by Massachusetts Law Reform Institute

You can apply for benefits in person, or on the phone. To apply in person, you can go to one of the 15 Department of Unemployment Assistance (DUA) walk-in offices in Massachusetts. Unemployment Insurance Walk-In Centers.

To apply over the phone, call 1-617-626-6800 or 1-877-626-6800. You can apply by phone, Monday to Friday, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. You cannot apply on the Internet, at this time.

After you apply, the DUA will mail you their decision. This letter will tell you if the DUA has decided to give you benefits or not. Save this letter! If the DUA says you cannot get benefits, you will need information from the letter to ask them to look at your case more carefully. See What if I cannot get Unemployment Insurance?

Keep Certifying

After you file you have to “certify” your work search every week. You also need to “certify” any earnings. You need to start “certifying” one week after you file.

Note

If DUA denies your application, keep reporting while you are appealing. If you win your appeal you can get benefits back to your “file date”.

You can “certify” by phone (617-626-6338 or 877-626-6800) or use WebCert, www.mass.gov/dua/webcert.

DUA requires that you:

  • make a minimum of three work search contacts each week you get benefits;
  • keep a log of these work search contacts; and
  • provide this  log to DUA if they ask.

See a sample work search log.

How long do I have to wait?

DUA is busy. It sometimes takes several weeks to get a decision on your benefits. If you have waited more than two weeks, call the problem resolution line:

617-626-5400

Monday through Friday

8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

DUA has to give you an “orientation” in the 15 days after you file. They must let you know:

  • who can get benefits,
  • what you have to do to get and keep benefits,
  • how long the application process should take, and
  • about health insurance and training benefits. (G.L. c. 151A, § 62A(c)).

If DUA did not give you this “orientation”, call 617-626-5400.

If you are still having problems getting a decision from the DUA, you might try calling your state representative or senator. They can sometimes make a call on your behalf, which might help get the agency’s attention.  To find out who your representative and senator are, go to www.wheredoivotema.com.

What if I have other problems?

Call the problem resolution line, 617-626-5400. You can also Find Legal Aid.

Produced by Massachusetts Law Reform Institute
Last Updated December 2012

Take the quiz!

1. Do you have to go to the UI Office to apply for benefits?
If you want to apply for benefits, do you have to go to the Unemployment Office (DUA office) to start your application?
answer type: 
Incorrect
Yes
answer type: 
Correct
No
Correct! You can apply for Unemployment benefits by phone.
Sorry, the correct answer is 'No'. Explanation: You can also apply for Unemployment benefits by phone.
2. how will you know if DUA has decided to give you Unemployment?
After you apply for benefits, how will you know whether DUA has decided to give them to you?
answer type: 
Correct
They will send a letter.
answer type: 
Incorrect
They will call you.
answer type: 
Incorrect
They will send you a debit card.
Correct! DUA will send you a letter in the mail to tell you what they have decided.
Sorry, the correct answer is 'A'. Explanation: DUA will send you a letter in the mail to tell you what they have decided.

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