Can You Collect Unemployment in Massachusetts If You Are a Teacher?

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Unemployment insurance compensation programs are administered in each state within the U.S. to provide monetary compensation to workers who are temporarily out of work. In Massachusetts, the Labor and Workforce Development office is responsible for reviewing and administering claims for unemployment compensation benefits. If you are a teacher in Massachusetts, you may be eligible to collect benefits during the summer.

General Requirements

  • You must satisfy a number of basic requirements in order to qualify for unemployment compensation benefits in Massachusetts. You must be unemployed through no fault of your own. Usually, this means you cannot quit a job or be dismissed for misconduct. You must also be legally and physically able to work as well as be actively seeking employment. Finally, you must have earned enough wages in your base period to qualify for benefits.

Reasonable Assurance

  • If you are under contract for the following school year, then you cannot collect unemployment as you do not meet the definition of unemployed. If, however, you were laid off, or your contract was not renewed and you do not have reasonable assurance that you will be employed when the new school year begins, then you may qualify for unemployment benefits. You must, however, be actively looking for employment, even if you are hopeful that your contract will eventually be renewed for the next year.

Amount and Duration of Benefits

  • The amount of your weekly benefit, as well as the duration, will depend largely on the amount of wages you have in your base period. If you apply when school ends in May or June, your base period will be from January 1st of the previous year through December 31st of the previous year. Your base period is the first four out of the last five completed quarters. Your weekly benefit amount will be based on the amount of wages earned during that time. Under normal circumstances, you may collect up to 26 weeks of unemployment benefits. In times of high unemployment, however, the federal government may extend the benefit period.

How to Apply

  • To make a claim for unemployment compensation benefits in Massachusetts, you must apply over the telephone or in person (see Resources). You will need to have your Social Security number, address and last day of work as well as information for all employers for the last 18 months ready when you call or visit a walk-in center. You will also need names, birth dates and Social Security numbers for any dependents you are claiming.

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