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Filing for Unemployment Benefits

Unemployment Benefits Information

For employees on an unpaid furlough, temporary layoff or other separation of employment, there may be benefits available by filing a claim with the Massachusetts Department of Unemployment Assistance (DUA). The DUA makes the final determination of benefits eligibility. 

According to the DUA, eligible employees will receive 50% of their average weekly wages, up to $823/week. For a limited period of time, due to federal funding under the CARES Act, employees may qualify for an additional $600/week on top of their regular unemployment rate. 

The enhancement to unemployment benefits are effective through the end of July 2020. Also, there is generally a one-week waiting period for unemployment benefits to begin, but this waiting period has been waived as a component of the CARES Act through Dec. 26, 2020. 

Generally, you must have earned at least $5,100 during the last four completed calendar quarters, and earned 30 times the weekly benefit amount, in order to be eligible to collect unemployment benefits. For other eligibility guidelines and more information on unemployment insurance, please visit the DUA website.  

There is a helpful aid which outlines the steps for filing a COVID-19 related claim: Filing a new unemployment claim (COVID-19)

  • For unemployment related to the Coronavirus pandemic, please be sure to answer “yes” to the question of whether this is a COVID-19 related. 
  • Note: there is no “furlough" option so select “layoff” 
  • For those on furlough or temporary layoff, if you are asked whether you have paid leave available, be sure to answer “no” as the university is not providing use of paid leave as an option to employees, and answering “yes” to this question could disqualify you for benefits.
  • Please click to apply for unemployment benefits online.
  • File for unemployment in Massachusetts, even if you reside in another state.
  • Apply for unemployment benefits as soon as possible. Your claim must be completed within your first week of partial or total unemployment.
  • Once an unemployment claim is filed, the DUA considers the “benefit year” as the 52-weeks following the date of your claim.
  • Other COVID-19 related unemployment information is available here: Filing a new unemployment claim (COVID-19)
  • Please also review the DUA’s Frequently Asked Questions specifically related to COVID-19 related unemployment information.

If asked, the name of your employer/agency and other information is provided here: 

  • Employer Name: Commonwealth of Massachusetts 
  • Reporting Unit: University of Massachusetts Lowell (state funded) 
  • Federal Employee ID#: 04-6002284
  • Employer Account Number#: 78400010


During these challenging times of the Coronavirus pandemic, it is unfortunate to find out that many of our employees are now discovering that fraudulent unemployment benefit claims have been filed using their personal information. We posted an announcement: Read the full announcement
There is a website that provides information and a form to report fraud: Fraud information
If you believe someone has applied for unemployment benefits falsely using your personal data:
As an additional security measure, the DUA is delaying even legitimate claims due to fraud. If you discover you are locked out of the DUA system and unable to file your claim: 
  • Call the DUA at 877-626-6800 
  • After following the menu prompt for the language, select option 7 
  • Request a call back.  
This will assure that you have proof of trying to call and you will be able to request a predate for the week that you were locked out and not able to request benefits so you can be paid for the week you are on furlough. Make a note of the date and time that you called and left a message for a call back.