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Unemployment Insurance

If you lose your job, you may be able to get Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits. These benefits help you keep up with paying your bills while you look for a new job. Unemployment benefits can also provide health insurance and job training, while you look for a new job. The Massachusetts Department of Unemployment Assistance (DUA) runs the program.

You may be able to collect unemployment benefits if you were laid off from your job.  In some situations, you might also be able to collect benefits even if you were fired or if you quit (this would depend, on the circumstances). You might be able to get unemployment benefits even if you only worked part-time.  You will find more information about these issues in the following sections.

Most workers in Massachusetts can get unemployment benefits, but some cannot. Workers who cannot get Unemployment Insurance include:

  • employees of churches and some religious organizations;
  • independent consultants or independent contractors (people who not work under the direction and control of an employer
  • some work-study students and student nurses;
  • real estate agents or brokers who work only for commissions;
  • insurance agents who work only for commissions;
  • elected officials and policy advisors.
Produced by Massachusetts Law Reform Institute
Last Updated October 2010
Produced by Massachusetts Law Reform Institute

Take the quiz!

Fatima
Can Fatima get Unemployment Insurance?
Fatima was laid off from her job last week, but she has already started at a new job this week. Can Fatima get unemployment?
answer type: 
Incorrect
Yes
answer type: 
Incorrect
Maybe
answer type: 
Correct
No
Correct! Unemployment benefits help you pay your bills while you look for a new job. Since Fatima already has a new job, she cannot collect unemployment.
Sorry, the correct answer is 'No'. Explanation: Unemployment benefits help you pay your bills while you look for a new job. Since Fatima already has a new job, she cannot collect unemployment.
Felix
Can Felix get Unemployment Insurance?
Felix quit his job because his boss began paying him less than the minimum wage. Can Felix get unemployment?
answer type: 
Incorrect
Yes
answer type: 
Correct
Maybe
answer type: 
Incorrect
No
Correct! In some situations, you may be able to collect benefits even if you quit your job. Felix may be able to get unemployment.
Sorry, the correct answer is 'Maybe'. In some situations, you may be able to collect benefits even if you quit your job. Felix may be able to get unemployment.
Joe
Can Joe get Unemployment Insurance?
Joe worked 20 hours a week until his company laid him off. Can Joe get unemployment?
answer type: 
Incorrect
Yes
answer type: 
Correct
Maybe
answer type: 
Incorrect
No
Correct! It is possible to get unemployment benefits if you only worked part-time. Joe may qualify for unemployment, depending on his situation.
Sorry, the correct answer is 'Maybe'. Explanation: It is possible to get unemployment benefits if you only worked part-time. Joe may qualify for unemployment, depending on his situation.
Susana
Can Susana get Unemployment Insurance?
Susana was a church secretary, but the church did not have enough money to pay her salary. The church had to lay her off. Can Susana get unemployment?
answer type: 
Incorrect
Yes
answer type: 
Incorrect
Maybe
answer type: 
Correct
No
Correct! Susana worked for a church. Employees of churches cannot collect unemployment benefits.
Sorry, the correct answer is 'No'. Explanation: Susana worked for a church. Employees of churches cannot collect unemployment benefits.

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