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The "monetary" amount of your unemployment insurance (UI) claim is determined by the earnings paid to you over a period of time of up to 52 weeks, as defined by Massachusetts law. This is known as your base period, which is the last four completed calendar quarters immediately preceding the date on which your claim is effective. The two quarters in your base period in which you were paid the highest wages are added together, then divided by 26 to determine your average weekly wage.
You may be able to have your claim based on an "alternate base period" under certain circumstances specified in the law. When the alternate base period is used, your claim is established based on the wages paid to you during the three most recently completed calendar quarters plus the period of time between the last completed quarter and the effective date of your claim.
Unemployed workers who are eligible for unemployment benefits receive approximately 50 percent of their average weekly wages up to the maximum benefit rate in effect at the time the claim is filed. As of October 6, 2002, the maximum benefit rate is $507 a week. The maximum duration of benefits on the regular state program is 30 weeks. (However, there is a reduction to 26 weeks maximum during a period of extended benefits. When the extended benefits program ends, the maximum duration will return to 30 weeks.)
Eligible claimants may also receive $25 dependency allowance for each dependent child.
Deductions may be made for pensions or social security benefits. Benefits may be delayed if the claimant received certain types of severance pay.
Have you been discriminated against by a potential or current employer -- as a job applicant or current employee? To best protect your legal rights you should discuss your situation with an employment lawyer. Meet with a local employment attorney sooner rather than later to protect your rights.