“Unemployment Insurance: A Guide To Collecting Benefits


“Unemployment Insurance:A Guide to Collecting Benefits in theState of New Hampshire”You are responsible for understanding your rights and responsibilities.Please do not discard this booklet!This booklet is also available in Spanish, Bosnian, Vietnamese, Arabic and Simplified Chineseat any New Hampshire Local Office or on-line at www.nhes.nh.gov, Forms & Publications.NHES 0188N-10/16

Mission StatementThe mission of New Hampshire Employment Security is to:a. Operate a free public employment service through a statewide network of job andinformation centers, providing a broad range of assisted and self-directed employment andcareer related services, and labor market information to all customers;b. Pay unemployment compensation benefits in a timely manner to eligible claimants, andcollect the tax which funds these payments; and toc. Develop and disseminate labor market information, and provide measurements of labormarket outcomes to assist local and state officials, private employers, educators andtrainers, and the public in making decisions that promote economic opportunity and theefficient use of state labor resources.NHES is a proud member of America’s Workforce Network and NH Works. NHES is an Equal Opportunity Employer and complieswith the Americans with Disabilities Act. Auxiliary Aids and Services are available on request of individuals with disabilitiesTelephone (603) 224-3311Fax (603) 228-4145TDD/TTY Access: Relay 1-800-735-2964Web site: www.nhes.nh.gov

TABLE OF CONTENTSUnemployment Insurance, The Basics 2Top 10 Things You Should Know .3General Information, Unemployment Insurance Program .4What Do I Need, Getting Prepared to File 6How Do I File, Filing a Claim 8Understanding Determinations .10Benefit Amount, Weekly Compensation .12Misrepresentation, Fraud 14Overpayments 16Claim Review, Ensuring Quality 18Appeals, Disagreeing with a Decision .20Claims Representative, Claimant Assistance 22Local Offices .24Employment Service .26Job Match System (JMS) .27Veterans Assistance .31Conducting an Effective Search for Work .32Mandatory Meetings .34Return to Work Program .36Pathway to Work Initiative . .38Approved Training .40Trade Adjustment Assistance .41NOTES .42EEO & Privacy Statement .43Earnings & WBA Chart .Back Page1

Unnempployyment InnsurrancceTThe BassicsAppply as soon asa you are unemployed oro your hourrs are significantly reducced.Look for work and be readyy to accept it.Reqquest a beneefit payment every week until you retturn to workk full-time*.Remmember your password anda keep it private.pReaad this handbbook.ad all corresppondence reeceived fromm this departmment.ReaResspond to all requestsrfor information.Keeep your contaact informatiion on your accountaup-tto-dateCall your local officeoif you havehquestioons (see Loccal Office listting).*If only requiredrandd approved tot work part--time, 20 ho urs per week is consideered “full-timee”.2

Top 10 Things You Should KnowAbout Filing for Unemployment Benefits1. Accurately Report the Reason You Are Unemployed. When you file your claim forbenefits, provide the UI office with the exact reason for your separation so we can bestdetermine your eligibility. Failure to report your work separation accurately may result in anoverpayment and/or fraud penalties.2. Report Any Monies You Earn. You must report all gross wages (before any deductions) inthe week they are earned; regardless of when the wages will be paid. Failure to reportearnings is considered fraud. Be sure to accurately report all work and earnings on yourweekly claim certification – even those from self-employment, part-time, or temporary work.3. Keep Your Information Current. The United States Postal Service will not forward UIBenefit Payments or other important UI related documentation. It is a requirement that youchange your address when you relocate (even within the same city and state) and keep yourtelephone number and email address up to date.4. Register With the Job Match System (JMS). If you live in New Hampshire, you must beregistered for work in JMS unless specifically exempted by law. When filing your benefitapplication, a preliminary registration is automatically created. Access JMS lt.aspx to update your resume and look forjobs. If you do not live in New Hampshire, you must register for work with the state job serviceof your resident state.5. Be Available and Actively Searching for Work. In order to collect benefits, you mustcontinually verify that you are able, available and willing to accept suitable work. You must alsosearch for work each week you file a claim for benefits. If you do not search for work during aweek in which you file a claim, benefits may be denied.6. Develop an Effective Work Search Plan. Contact a NH Local Office for help with creating awork search plan. Attend all mandatory employment service meetings you are scheduled for.7. Avoid Errors and Ensure Proper Payment of Benefits. To prevent errors in payment of UIbenefits that may result in an overpayment or underpayment, read all of the informationprovided to you and respond to all requests for information.8. Don’t Delay – Report Your Return to Work. Be sure to report your hours and earnings onyour weekly claim if you continue claiming benefits after you start a job. Do not wait until youreceive your first paycheck to report your hours and earnings. If you have returned to work fulltime or are earning more than your weekly benefit amount, you can simply stop filing weeklyclaims.9. Prevent Fraud. Anyone who collects UI benefits is legally responsible to know and follow therequirements set by State Law. Failure to follow the rules can result in serious consequencessuch as repaying benefits with penalties, forfeiting a future income tax refund, losing futureeligibility to collect UI benefits, prosecution, and the possibility of jail.10. Ask For Help. Navigating through the UI system can be confusing. If you have additionalquestions, please visit our website or contact your Local Office for assistance.3

General InformationUnemployment Insurance ProgramWhat Is Unemployment Insurance?Unemployment Insurance is a Federal-State insurance program that supplies temporary incomefor workers who are either partially or fully unemployed and who are looking for new work, goinginto an approved training program, or on a temporary layoff and will be returning to work withthe same employer. The funding for unemployment insurance benefits comes from taxes paidby employers. NH employees do not pay any taxes for the unemployment program.What is Unemployment Compensation? This is the actual benefit that is paid to anunemployed or partially unemployed person who: Has worked in covered employment;Becomes unemployed through no fault of their own;Meets eligibility requirements; andFiles timely and proper claimsWhat is covered employment? This is work done for employers who are subject tounemployment law in NH, other states and the Federal Government. These employers pay intothe fund established to pay UC benefits.What is Unemployed through no fault? This means that you did not cause your ownunemployment.4

Examples: A lack of work – your employer shut down or has laid you off (not fired)Employer reduced their hours or your hoursNon-disqualifying separationWhen should I file my claim?If you are fully or partially unemployed, do not delay filing your claim*. Your claim is effectivethe week in which you file it.*If you received a substantial separation package (more than 3 months’ worth of wages such asseverance or vacation payout), you may want to consider waiting until those monies areexhausted. For details about how a large separation package may impact your claim, pleasevisit our website and review the Amount & Duration of Benefits document at:https://nhuis.nh.gov/claimant/wbaOr view the video segment .htmIs there any reason I would not be paid benefits?You have the right to file an unemployment claim at any time but must meet all eligibilityrequirements to receive payment. The department looks at the following factors to determineeligibility. Are you receiving unemployment benefits from another state or the federal government?Are you able to work, available for work and actively looking for work?Have you registered for work or updated your prior registration for work?Did you file your claim(s) on time?Did you attend all scheduled mandatory meetings?Are you not working because of a disciplinary layoff or suspension?Why were you fired?o Were you fired for misconduct connected to your work?o Were you fired for intoxication or the use of a controlled drug?o Were you fired for theft, arson, sabotage, felony, assault which causes bodilyinjury, or criminal threatening?Did you decline to accept suitable work when offered?Are you currently self-employed full-time?Did you leave self-employment or close your business?Why did you quit?o Did you quit your job for good cause that is attributable to your employer?o Did you quit your job due to compelling family circumstances?Were you involved in a strike or company lock-out (labor dispute)?5

What do I need?Getting Prepared to FileWhat do I need before I file a claim? Your Social Security NumberAddress (home and mailing)Telephone Number(s)Email AddressAlien Registration Number (if not a U.S. Citizen)Your work record for the past 18 months, which includes: Company name and job location; Employer’s telephone number(s); Date you started work; Last day you worked; Reason for separation; Rate of pay; and Details regarding any separation pay you are expecting. Military Form DD-214, member 4 copy, if in the Military during the past 18 months Form SF-8, if worked for the Federal Government during the past 18 months6

Frequently Asked Questions:Q. Will I need my Social Security Card?A. No. However, it is a good idea to have your social security card with you. Enteringyour social security number accurately is very important and we may need to verify thatit is you we are assisting. This is for your protection.Q. Will I need a driver’s license?A. No, though it is recommended that you always carry some form of picture ID withyou. A picture ID can be a driver’s license, non-driver’s license, or a military ID. Theseidentifications will also assist you in obtaining employment when you are hired.Q. Why do you need my home and mailing address?A. This is to make sure that you are scheduled for services at the closest Local Officeand that you receive all of your notices timely and correctly.Q. Why do you need my phone number(s)?A. There will be times that we will need to call you for information and we can reach youby phone faster than by U.S. mail.Q. Will you give out my phone number(s)?A. No, we cannot give your phone number to anybody outside of this agency.Q. If I give you my email address, will you send me stuff via email?A. Only if you indicate that you wish to receive correspondence via email. You willreceive email notifications that you must log into your online account and check yourcorrespondence box. You must make sure that we are not coded junk mail or you willnever receive your notifications. We may also contact you directly via email foradditional information to process your claim or appeal.7

How do I file?Filing a ClaimYou can file an unemployment claim online from any computer with internet access. You canfile from your home, or at the home of a friend, neighbor or family member. You can use apublic computer, such as at a library. Every New Hampshire Employment Security Local Officehas free computers for your use to file a claim or look for work. **Always be sure to Logout aftercompleting your application when using public computers.Filing is free, confidential and our website is secure. How will you know it is secure? The webaddress will start with HTTPS. The S at the end stands for Secure.https://nhuis.nh.gov/claimant/**IMPORTANT: Keep in mind that filing for benefits is a 2-step process The first step is the official application, which tells the department and your employer(s)that you are filing for benefits. This process generally takes 20-30 minutes to complete. The second step is a weekly filing that allows the department to check your continuedeligibility and is how payment gets generated, if you are eligible. This process is knownas a “continued claim” and unless continued claims are filed each week and on time,benefit payments cannot be made.NOTE: If you skip filing for a week, you must restart/reopen your claim. The system willprompt you to file a new claim at the end of your benefit year or when there is a break inyour claim filing sequence.8

Frequently Asked Questions:Q. How long does a claim last?A. A claim is good for 52 weeks or 1 year.Q. How many weeks can I be paid for?A. You can receive up to 26 weeks of total payments during that 1-year timeframe.Q. What if I already filed a first claim and I am unemployed again within a year?A. You will now file an Additional/Reopen claim. You will choose to “reopen your claim”on your Home Page (Main Menu) after logging in.Q. Do I file based on my work schedule?A. No, our weeks start on Sunday at 12:01 am and end on Saturday at midnight. Youreport any work performed, monies received or work search activities based on thecalendar week for which you are filing.Q. When I file will I receive a confirmation number?A. Yes, every time you complete a claim (first time or weekly) you will receive aconfirmation number. Remember to either write this number down or print this numberfor your records.Q. I received a severance package when I was separated, should I wait to file?A. Maybe. This will depend on how many weeks of separation pay you will be receivingand when it will expire. Review the Amount & Duration of Benefits link athttps://nhuis.nh.gov/claimant/wba and/or go to your Local Office for assistance.Q. How much will I receive each week?A. Your weekly benefit amount will depend on your prior earnings. Please see BenefitAmount, Unemployment Compensation, for more information.Q. How will I know if I am eligible?A. You and your employer(s) will receive one or more Determination of UnemploymentCompensation documents. Please return to the General Information section to reviewthe Frequently Asked Question: Is there any reason I would not be paid benefits?Q. Will I have to look for work?A. Yes, unless you are returning to work for the same employer within 15 calendar daysof the day you last worked and/or are required by Union Contract to seek work onlythrough a Union Hiring Hall. The Conducting An Effective Search for Work section ofthis booklet provides details about work search requirements.9

UnderstandingDeterminationsA Determination of Unemployment Compensation is issued to you and any impacted employerwhenever there is a question about your monetary or non-monetary eligibility. You may receivemore than one determination.The first Determination you normally receive is called the monetary determination. Thisdocument clearly states “This is not a guarantee of payment. This notice is a determination ofmonetary eligibility only.” This document provides your potential weekly benefit amount anddetails about the employment used to establish your claim.You may receive other Determinations regarding specific eligibility conditions. These are knownas non-monetary determinations and referenced as Determination of Eligibility in your onlinecorrespondence inbox. This document clearly states “This notice is a determination oneligibility for unemployment benefits.” This document provides information as to whetherbenefits are allowed or denied. All eligibility conditions must be met to receive payment.Frequently Asked Questions:Q. What is a Waiting Week?A. A waiting week is the first week determined to be payable for any initialunemployment claim and will not be paid. You must still file timely for the week andall weeks for which you wish to receive benefits and the department will determinewhich week will be served as the waiting week. This waiting week will not reduce10

your total available benefits. The Maximum Benefit Amount for a new claim remains26 times your established Weekly Benefit Amount. This law only applies to regularUI benefits and not to other programs such as Extended Benefits (if and when theyare active).Q. How long will I lose my benefits?A. This will depend on if you are denied for a specific time, denied until yourcircumstances change, you have returned to work and earned the 5 weeks ofrequalifying wages, or until your penalty has been served.Q. What is the difference between a denial, disqualification and penalty?A. A denial means benefits cannot be paid for either a specific time or until yourcircumstance changes. Some examples of a denial are: You received some severance or vacation pay;You were sick for 2 weeks and you were unable to work;You took a 1 week vacation; orYou are not able to work until a doctor releases you.These will cause you to be temporarily denied benefits, but only for the time period thesituation covers or until your circumstance has changed.A disqualification means you were not allowed benefits and in order to become eligible youmust return to work and earn additional wages. You must earn at least 120% of yourweekly benefit amount in five (5) separate weeks following the start date of thedisqualification.A penalty is an additional denial of benefits and can last for 4 to 52 weeks. These penaltiesare added if it was found that you committed fraud or that you were fired from your jobbecause of drugs, intoxication or for theft with a value of 101.00 to 250.00. (All wagecredits would also be lost if over 250.00.)Q. What is reasonable assurance?A: When a person works for a school district, the wages earned from the school cannotbe used to pay benefits during a school vacation break or are between terms if you havereasonable assurance of returning to work after the break or when the new term starts.Reasonable assurance means that more likely than not, you will return to work at aschool working in a similar capacity for a similar rate of pay.Q. What is separation pay or deductible income?A. This is when you are paid monies because you are no longer working for anemployer. These monies include gifts over 25.00, severance, wages in lieu of notice,vacation, accrued time, personal time off, sick pay, bonuses, Workers’ Compensationpayments, and back pay awards.11

Benefit AmountWeekly CompensationYour weekly benefit amount (WBA) is based on what you earned during the months prior to yourfirst claim. This is also why we ask for 18 months of your work history. This is to make surethat we have all of your wages, so that we can give you the highest weekly benefit rate.**We look for wages within our state, other states, the Federal Government and theMilitary.We use a base period to figure out what you can be paid on a weekly basis. This base period isa four-quarter period prior to when you filed your first claim and we have two standards wereview to make sure that you are given every opportunity to be monetarily eligible.1. The first standard is the primary base period – This uses the first 4 of the last 5completed quarters before to the effective date of you

b. Pay unemployment compensation benefits in a timely manner to eligible claimants, and collect the tax which funds these payments; and to c. Develop and disseminate labor market information, and provide me