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Labor and Economic Opportunity

How do I qualify for unemployment benefits?

To qualify for unemployment benefits, we look at the wages you were paid in the first four of the last five calendar quarters – the standard base period.

A person must earn at least one and a half times the highest amount of wages paid in any quarter of the base period. A person can also qualify using the Alternate Earnings Qualifier. This means you must have total base period wages of at least $20,458.00, and you must have wages in at least two calendar quarters in the base period.

If you file a new claim for benefits and your last benefit year expired within the last six calendar quarters, you must additionally satisfy the following earnings requirement:

  • Worked after your prior benefit year began; and
  • Been paid, by a liable employer, at least five times the last weekly benefit amount that was in effect on your prior benefit year.

If you meet the requirements to establish a claim, for each week you claim benefits you must also be:

  • Able to work
  • Available for work
  • Seeking full-time employment