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FAQs about Filing a New Claim/Refiling a Claim for Unemployment Benefits

 

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1. When and how can I apply for unemployment insurance (UI) benefits?
You should file an unemployment claim within 7 days of your last day of employment to avoid jeopardizing or delaying your first payment. There are 2 ways to file a claim - ONLINE or by telephone at (401) 243-9100. If you're calling from out of state, the phone number is 1-866-557-0001. Monday is generally the busiest phone day of the week; if you call later in the week, your wait time may not be so long.

2. What information will I need to file a UI claim?
You will need to provide your social security number and the full name, address and telephone number of all employers you have worked for in the last two years. If you are not a United States citizen, you must provide your alien registration number. This guide will help prepare you.

2. Am I eligible to collect - what are the eligibility requirements?
You must meet certain wage requirements. If you are laid off we strongly urge you to apply for benefits. We will determine whether you qualify based on all the facts relating to your claim and notify you as quickly as possible. You must have been paid at least $12,120 in either your base period or an alternate base period. If you did not earn this amount, you may be eligible if you meet all of the following conditions:

a. You were paid at least $2,020 in one of your base period quarters, and
b. You were paid total base period taxable wages of at least one and one-half times your highest single quarter earnings, and 3. You were paid total base period taxable wages of at least $4,040. Also, if you have had a previous claim, you must have worked again since filing that claim and must have been paid taxable wages of at least eighty times the R.I. minimum hourly wage of $10.10, or $808.

You must be unemployed through no fault of your own. You must be able to work, available for work and searching for full-time work. You must always be willing to accept a suitable job while you are claiming benefits.


4. What is a base period? Alternate base period?
The base period is the period we look at to determine if you have been paid sufficient wages to be monetarily eligible. Normally, your base period consists of the first four of the last five completed calendar quarters before the starting date of your new claim. The calendar quarters are:

January 1 through March 31
April 1 through June 30
July 1 through September 30
October 1 through December 31

If wages from one of these quarters had to be used to establish a previous claim using the alternate base period, that quarter's wages cannot be used again to compute your current claim.
If you submit a new claim and you do not meet the minimum earnings requirements in the regular base period, we will re-compute your claim using an alternate base period. This period consists of the last four completed calendar quarters before the starting date of your claim. While you must still meet the same overall earnings requirements, the alternate base period will allow some of your more recent wages to be counted towards establishing your claim.

5. When does my claim begin and when will I receive first payment?
Your claim will start with the Sunday of the week in which you first file your claim if you are totally unemployed or employed part-time and earn less than your benefit rate. If you earn more than your benefit rate, your claim will start with the Sunday of the following week. This begins your Benefit Year, a 52 week period. In instances when a subsequent claim would cause base periods to overlap, the benefit year is 53 weeks. Any additional claims (refiles) you submit during this period will have the same Benefit Year.

Most eligible customers receive their first payment during their third week of unemployment.


6. Why do I need to refile my UI claim?
A refile or additional claim is filed each time your status in employment changes or if there is a break in your request for weekly benefits within the current benefit year. A refile is needed to keep the department informed of your employment status. There are two ways to refile a claim for UI; ONLINE or by telephone at (401) 243-9100. If calling from out of state, the phone number is 1-866-557-0001.

7. Why didn't I receive payment for the first week I was on UI?
You must serve a 7 day waiting period, Saturday through Sunday, at the start of your new claim, in which you are totally unemployed or you work a partial week and your earnings are less than your Benefit Rate. In either case you would be entitled to a waiting period for that week. You only serve one waiting period per Benefit Year.

8. How do I claim weekly benefits?

Once you've filed a UI claim, you must request/certify for a payment every week you are unemployed or under-employed and must meet the eligibility requirements. You will only be paid for the weeks in which you certify for your payments. This payment service is used by everyone receiving unemployment benefits and claiming benefits for the previous completed calendar week. 

You must request/certify for benefits weekly while your claim is in pending status. If you are allowed benefits, your payments will be released by a claims representative and transferred into the payment method you chose when you filed your claim. If you are denied benefits and plan to appeal the decision, you must continue to request/certify for benefits weekly or you may not be entitled to those benefits. 

You have two options to certify for your weekly unemployment benefits. 

1. Certify online at https://teleserve.dlt.ri.gov, or, 
2. Call the TeleServe automated payment system at (401) 243-9600. 

Visit our Teleserve webpage

9. How much will I receive?
Your weekly benefit rate will be equal to 3.85% of the average of the total wages in the two highest quarters of the base period, not to exceed the defined maximum amount. 

Effective 7/1/19, the minimum is $53 and maximum is $586.00, not including dependency allowance. 

By law, the maximum weekly benefit rate will remain at $586 until that figure represents, equal to or less than 57.5 percent of the average weekly wage of all workers covered by the Employment Security Act. Moving forward from that point, the maximum weekly benefit will continue to be calculated at 57.5 percent. Your weekly benefit rate remains the same throughout your benefit year. 

If you have dependent children under 18 years of age you may be entitled to a dependency allowance. Handicapped children over 18 may also qualify for the allowance. The dependency allowance is limited to 5 dependents and is equal to 5% of your weekly benefit rate for each dependent. There is a $15 minimum per dependent. 

The dependency allowance established at the start of your benefit year remains the same even if the number of children should change during the year. (If 2 or more parties make claim for the same dependent for the same week, the person who has physical custody receives the allowance.)


10. How long can I collect unemployment?
The duration of your claim is equal to 33% of your total base period wages divided by your basic weekly benefit rate (not including dependent's allowance). The most you are allowed to collect is an amount equal to 26 full weeks. You may claim these weeks any time you are unemployed during your benefit year.

11. Why is my UI payment less than my full benefit amount?
IF YOU WORK PART OF A WEEK: You must report all wages earned for any week in which you claim benefits. 

If you worked less than full time and your gross wages are less than your weekly benefit rate, you should qualify for a partial benefit payment as well as a partial earnings incentive.


12. What are lag benefits?

If you return to work in the middle of a work week, you may be paid a lag payment. The lag payment would be 1/5th of the benefit rate for each work day preceding the return to work date. You must have been in receipt of 2 full weeks of benefits for the weeks immediately preceeding your return-to-work.

13. Why would I be denied unemployment benefits?
You may be denied benefits if you become unemployed for reasons other than lack of work. 

If you quit your job without good cause, you will be denied benefits until you work and earn an amount equal to or greater than eight times your benefit rate and are unemployed through no fault of your own.

If you are fired for proved misconduct connected with your job, you will be denied benefits uuntil you work and earn an amount equal to or greater than eight times your benefit rate and are unemployed through no fault of your own. 

If you refuse a suitable job offer, you will be denied benefits until you work and earn an amount equal to or greater than eight times your benefit rate and are unemployed through no fault of your own. 

If you become unemployed because of a labor dispute, you may be denied benefits.

Whenever a question arises about your eligibility for benefits, you will have an opportunity to present your side of the case. You may bring witnesses or someone to represent you. You should bring any documents or other evidence that will support your claim. You will receive a decision that will either approve your claim or tell you why, and for how long, you are denied benefits. You have the RIGHT TO APPEAL any decision with which you do not agree. Decisions may be appealed ONLINE, by submitting a request in writing to the Central Adjudication Unit at PO Box 20067, Cranston, RI 02920-0941 or by FAX at (401) 462-8318.

You may email questions about adjudications to DLT.uihelp@dlt.ri.gov. Please place “Adjudication” in the email subject line. Your case will be assigned to a Referee (Hearing Officer) at the Board of Review who will schedule a hearing at which time you may state your argument in detail. Information on preparing your case, and the procedure for an appeals hearing can be found on the Board of Review website. The Board is an impartial authority not under the direction of the Department of Labor and Training.

14. Can I collect unemployment benefits if I'm receiving a pension? If I owe child support?
Any private pension that you are receiving from a base period employer may be deducted from your benefit rate.

If you owe child support payments, a deduction may be made from your benefit check and sent to the Office of Child Support Services.


15. Can I collect unemployment while on jury duty?
If you are currently receiving unemployment, you may continue to collect benefits while on jury duty, providing you do not earn more than your benefit rate. You must report the weekly jury duty stipend when requesting unemployment benefits for that week. If you are also working part-time while on jury duty, you must combine all earnings for the reporting week. 

If you are called for jury duty while you are fully employed, you may not collect unemployment benefits as you are still attached to the employer and do not meeting the definition of an unemployed individual.


16. Can I collect unemployment while collecting Workers' Compensation?
No. You cannot collect both programs at the same time. In order to collect Unemployment Insurance Benefits you must be able, available and actively looking for work.

Once you are released from Workers' Compensation, if you are unemployed, you can file for Unemployment benefits. You will need to be able and available for full time work and released from your doctor with written authorization to return to work. Eligibility will be determined after you file a claim. 


17. Can I collect unemployment while collecting Temporary Disability Insurance (TDI)?
No. You cannot collect both programs at the same time. To collect Unemployment Insurance Benefits, you must be able, available, and actively seeking full-time work. Once you are released from TDI, if you are unemployed, you can file for unemployment benefits. You will need to be able and available for full-time work and released from your doctor with written authorization to return to full-time work. Eligibility will be determined after you file a claim. 


18. Can I collect UI benefits if I receive severance pay?
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.


19. Are I required to look for work while I collect unemployment?

Yes, 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 3 work search contacts for each week you requested benefits. Visit work search requirements.
  • Your work search record lists netWORKri one-stop career center visits for no more than one contact each week. If your work search record includes use of an employment website (i.e. craigsList, Monster.com, etc.), that record must provide additional information, such as the company name and the specific position for which you applied.

If you have a definite return to work date within 12 weeks of your last day of work, are a member of a labor union that uses a "hiring hall", or are in a department approved training program, you may be exempt from looking for work. 

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. 



 

DISCLAIMER: FAQs are presented for informational purposes only. They do not carry the full force and effect of the law.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

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6/28/19 MDF