Unemployment Insurance, RI Dept. of Labor and Training
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Frequent Questions




Unemployment Insurance


Frequently Asked Questions

 

Questions about Filing a New Claim / Refiling a Claim

Click here to view a Glossary of UI terms.


Click on each question to show the answer.

 
     
 
1. When and how can I apply for Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits?
If you become unemployed you should file a claim within seven (7) days of your last day of employment to avoid jeopardizing or delaying your first payment. There are two ways to file a claim for UI; you can file online at https://uiclaims.ri.gov/RI-ICS/intro/index.aspx?AC=yes or you can file over the phone by calling (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 my UI claim?
When you call to file an unemployment insurance 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. A guide to help you prepare this information can be found here.
3. Am I eligible for UI benefits?
To qualify for UI benefits, you must meet certain wage requirements. While these requirements are explained to you in detail, please do not use this information to try to determine your own eligibility.

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 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 are the earnings requirements for UI benefits?
To be eligible for UI benefits, you must have been paid at least $9,600 in either your base period or an alternate base period (defined below). If you did not earn this amount, you may be eligible if you meet all of the following conditions:

1. You were paid at least $1600 in one of your base period quarters, and
2. 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 $3200.

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 $8.00, or $640.
5. What is a 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.
6. What is an alternate base period?
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.
7. When does my claim begin?
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.

The Benefit Year is 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.
8. When will I receive my first payment?
Most eligible customers receive their first payment during their third week of unemployment.
9. Why do I need to refile my 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. There are two ways to refile a claim for UI; you can file online at https://uiclaims.ri.gov/RI-ICS/intro/index.aspx?AC=yes or you can file over the phone by calling (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.

A refile is needed to keep the department informed of your employment status.

10. Why didn't I receive a payment for the first week I was on UI?
You must serve a waiting period at the start of your new claim. The 7 day period is a Sunday through Saturday 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.
11. If I file another claim do I have to serve another waiting period?
You must serve a Waiting Period only once during each Benefit Year.
12. How do I claim my weekly benefits?
Once you have filed your 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 anyone 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.

For more information visit our Tele-Serve webpage at:
www.dlt.ri.gov/ui/teleserve.htm.
13. How much will I receive? How much will I receive for dependency allowance?
Your weekly benefit rate will be equal to 4.15% of the average of the total wages in the two highest quarters of the base period, not to exceed the defined maximum amount.

Effective 1/1/13, our minimum is $44 and maximum is $566.00, not including dependency allowance.

By law, the maximum weekly benefit rate will remain at $566 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.)
14. How long can I collect?
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.
15. 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.
16. What are lag benefits?
If you return to work in the middle of a work week, you may also be paid a lag payment. The lag payment would be 1/5th of your benefit rate for each work day preceding your return to work date.
17. Can I collect UI benefits if I'm receiving pensions or 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.
18. Why would I be denied Unemployment Insurance (UI) 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 at least eight weeks and earn at least equal to your benefit rate in each week 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 until you work at least eight weeks and earn at least equal to your benefit rate in each week and are unemployed through no fault of your own.

If you refuse a suitable job offer, you will be denied benefits until you work at least eight weeks and earn at least equal to your benefit rate in each week 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 over the internet at www.dlt.ri.gov/ui/FormsUI.htm, 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 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.
19. Can I collect UI benefits if I work for the school department?
Benefits are not payable to an employee of a public or a nonprofit school or to an Educational Service Agency employee who performs services in a school, if such employee has a reasonable assurance of returning to work after a between-terms period, holiday or recess period. Please visit our School Employees/Educators web page at www.dlt.ri.gov/ui/teachers.htm for additional information.
20. Who can I call if I have questions regarding my UI claim?
Please peruse our website as you may find the answers to your questions before contacting us. Should you find it necessary to inquire specifically about your claim, please call the main Call Center number at (401) 243-9100.
21. I have been called for Jury Duty. Can I collect benefits while on Jury Duty?
If you are currently receiving unemployment insurance, 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 .
22. Can I collect Unemployment Insurance while collecting Workers’ Compensation Benefits?
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.
23.When released from Workers’ Compensation can I file for Unemployment Insurance Benefits?
Yes. You can file for Unemployment Insurance 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.
24.Can I collect Unemployment Insurance while collecting Temporary Disability Insurance?
No. You cannot collect both programs at the same time. In order to collect Unemployment Insurance Benefits you must be able, available, and actively seeking full-time work.
25. When released from Temporary Disability Insurance can I file for Unemployment Insurance Benefits?
Yes. You can file for Unemployment Insurance 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.
26. Can I collect UI benefits if I receive severance or dismissal pay?
Effective July 1, 2012, 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 .

27. 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 verifiable 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.

       
     
     


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

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    RI Department of Labor and Training
    Center General Complex
    1511 Pontiac Avenue, Cranston, RI 02920


    Phone: (401) 462-8000
    Fax (401) 462-8666
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