What Are the Earning
Requirements for UI?
The minimum wage requirement is currently $9,600 in your Base Period. This figure will change each time the minimum wage is increased. If you did not earn this amount, you may be eligible if you meet all of the following:
(1) You earned at least $1,600 in one of your Base Period quarters, and
(2) You earned total Base Period wages of at least one and one-half times your highest single quarter earnings, and
(3) You earned total Base Period wages of at least $3,200.
Note: If you had a previous claim that has expired, you must also have worked again since filing that claim and must have been paid wages of at least 80 times the RI minimum hourly wage.
What is the Base Period? The Base Period is the first four of the last five completed calendar quarters before the starting date of your new claim.
For Example; If you filed a claim between the following dates:
File: January through March Base Period would be: The prior:October through September
File: April through June Base Period would be: The prior:January through December
File: July through September Base Period would be: The prior:April through March
File: October through December Base Period would be: the prior:July through June
Note: If your earnings in the regular Base Period are insufficient to qualify you for benefits, we will automatically recompute your claim using an Alternate Base Period. This new period consists of the last four completed calendar quarters before the starting date of your claim.
When Does My Claim Begin? Your claim normally begins the Sunday before the date on which you call to file the claim; provided you did not work or worked and earned less than your Weekly Benefit Rate during that week. This begins your Benefit Year, a 52-week period. Any additional claims (refiles) you request during this period will have the same Benefit Year as your first claim.
Can I collect UI benefits if I receive severance or dismissal pay?
For claims with a benefit year effective date of July 1, 2012 or later, you will have your payment delayed by the number of weeks of severance pay received from your employer. Any severance pay received will be allocated on a weekly basis from your last day of work for a period not to exceed 26 weeks.
You will be eligible for a partial payment, if your weekly severance amount is less than your benefit rate. If this is the case, the weekly severance amount will be deducted for the number of weeks of severance pay received.
Your employer should provide the severance amount and the number of weeks that the severance represents. If your employer does not provide this information, the severance pay will be allocated using your benefit rate.
Severance pay will be allocated to the last day of work for any claims with a benefit year effective date prior to July 1, 2012.
How Much Will I Receive? Your Benefit Rate is your basic weekly payment amount, excluding Dependency Allowances. It is equal to 4.38% of the average of the total wages in the two highest quarters of the base period, not to exceed the defined maximum amount. Once your Benefit Rate is determined, it remains the same for your entire Benefit Year. We will send you a Benefit Rate Decision, which shows your rate and the wage information used to determine it. For Benefit years beginning on or after July 1, 2012 the maximum weekly benefit rate is $566.00. Visit the UI/TDI Quick Reference web page, which shows minimum and maximum rates.
Can I Be Paid for a Dependent Child? You may receive a Dependency Allowance if you have children under 18 who are dependent on you. Handicapped children 18 or older may also qualify. Only natural, stepchildren, legally adopted children, or court appointed wards may be claimed as dependents. You must provide the Social Security number of the child when you file the claim. The amount of the weekly allowance is equal to the greater of $15 or 5% of your Benefit Rate and is limited to five (5) children. Your Dependency Allowance is determined at the start of your Benefit Year and no changes can be made for a child born on or after the beginning of the claim.
When Does My Claim End? Your claim ends 52 weeks after the beginning date. This is called the Benefit Year Ending date or BYE. The BYE Code, the last two numbers of the BYE year, is used each time you call the automated telephone payment line.
How Long Can I Collect? The number of weeks of benefits can range from 15 to a maximum of 26. The monetary determination mailed to you will show the number of weeks of entitlement. If you wish to make an estimate of weeks, follow these steps:
1. Multiply your Base Period Wages times 33%.
2. Divide amount from Step 1 by the Benefit Rate you estimated in "How Much Will I Receive?"
3. Resulting figure is the number of weeks of benefits available to you, not to exceed the maximum of 26.
Is There a Waiting Period? Yes, the first week of an eligible new claim is a Waiting Period for which no benefits are paid. This Waiting Period is applied once per year.
What are my Payment Options?
- Direct Deposit to your checking or savings account is available OR
- Electronic Payment Card (EPC): If you do not elect Direct Deposit, you will automatically be sent an Electronic Payment Card (EPC), which works like a debit card. Visit www.dlt.ri.gov/ui and click on the Electronic Payment Card (EPC) for detailed information.
Is Unemployment Insurance Benefits Taxable? YES. You may choose to have a percentage of your weekly benefit amount withheld for Federal and State Income Taxes. Information on how to apply for this is sent to you when you file your claim. Form 1099 is sent to you by January 31st telling you the benefits paid and amounts withheld during the previous year. This notice is sent to your last known address. To insure receipt of your 1099, notify the Call Center of any change in address.
Can I Work and Collect? If you are working less than full-time hours and your gross wages (before taxes) are less than your weekly benefit rate (excluding dependency allowances), you may be entitled to partial benefits.
Example; Weekly benefit rate is $200. You earned $100. The "difference" between the two is $100. The Department will pay you the "difference" plus 20% of your Benefit Rate (BR). Difference = $100.+ 20% of BR payment is $140.
You are not eligible to receive benefits if you are working full-time even if you are not being paid by your employer for hours worked. If you are working under this condition, you should contact the Labor Standards Division of DLT at 401-462-8550 to inquire as to the legality of your employment situation.
If I'm Denied Benefits, What Happens? If you are denied benefits, you will receive a written decision giving the reason and dates of the denials. Read it carefully. It will include instructions for filing a timely appeal by mail or fax. The time limit for filing the appeal includes all holidays and weekends. Failure to file a timely appeal may prevent you from having the original decision changed. A late appeal can be filed and a determination will be made if there is good cause for filing late. You may be denied benefits for the following; this list does not include all reasons for which benefits may be denied.
- Quit your job without good cause.
- Were discharged for just cause.
- Are unemployed due to a strike.
- Are not available for work, are unable to work, or are not actively seeking work.
- Refuse or fail to apply for available, suitable work.
- Have earnings equal to or more than your weekly benefit amount.
What If I Worked In Another State? Contact the Call Center to file your claim. You will be informed of the options available. They may include filing directly against the other state or possibly combining wages from two or more states, depending on your individual situation.
What If I Live in Another State and Worked in RI? Contact the RI Call Center at Toll Free: 1-866-557-0001 or (401) 243-9146 (not toll free) to file your claim.
What If I Worked for the Military or the Federal Government? Contact the Call Center or go to the Internet website at https://uiclaims.ri.gov/RI-ICS/Intro/Index.asp to file your claim. You will be informed of the specific requirements needed. If Military, have your DD-214 (Member 4 Copy) available. If Federal Government, have your SF-8 available.
Am I Required to Look for Work? The law requires that you keep an active work search record for each week you are requesting benefits. If your work search is requested, the department will need to verify the following criteria:
- Your work search record documents three work search contacts for each week you requested benefits
- Your work search record demonstrates that you actively searched for work on at least three separate days within each week.
- Your work search record lists netWORKri one-stop career center visits for no more than one verifiable contact each week.
- If your work search record includes use of an employment website (i.e. Craig’s List, Monster.com, etc.), that record must provide additional verifiable information, such as the company name and the specific position for which you applied.
If you have a definite return to work date within 8 weeks of your last day of work or you are a member of a labor union that uses a "hiring Hall" or business agent to find you work, you may be exempt from looking for work depending on the UI program that you are collecting on, i.e. Employment Security, Emergency Unemployment Compensation, or Extended Benefits.
The Department conducts ongoing Reemployment programs that identify individuals that may need additional assistance in finding reemployment. If selected you must report to a Career Center as instructed. Failure to report could cause a delay or loss of your benefits.
What About School Worker Claims? The Federal Unemployment Tax Act states that employees of educational institutions will be ineligible to receive unemployment insurance (based on such service) between academic years or terms, if the employee has a reasonable assurance of returning to work with that employer. However, if you have sufficient wages without using school wages, you may be eligible to receive unemployment insurance. Visit the Teacher/Education web page for more information.
What If I Have a Pension? There is a Federal Pension offset law that requires us to deduct certain types of pensions from unemployment benefits. Pension must be based on your work not a spouse, and must be connected to your recent base period employer(s). Employer pensions that you make contributions to are deductible at a 50% rate. Pensions that are 100% funded by the employer are 100% deductible from unemployment benefits.
Tuition Waiver - If you meet the eligibility requirements, you may be able to take courses, for credit, at a RI state-operated college or university without having to pay tuition. Unemployed individuals can request a tuition waiver from the college or university for these courses. The DLT provides a letter certifying that you are receiving benefits but has no control over your admission to the course. Please contact the RI state-operated college or university for eligibility requirements.
Fraud Detection Program - Every employer who pays wages in Rhode Island is required to report those wages every quarter to the RI DLT. Persons who work and collect unemployment at the same time should be aware our Cross-Match program would detect such activity. Cases of fraud are prosecuted through the State Police Department. Any person convicted of willful misrepresentation or withholding information to obtain benefits can be fined or imprisoned.
This concludes your Benefit Rights. When certifying for a payment, you will be asked to certify that you have read Your Benefit Rights. For additional information on Unemployment Insurance, please click here to visit our Frequently Asked Questions web page.