Massachusetts Unemployment Benefits Information

Unemployment Benefits Claim Calculation in Massachusetts 

With the MA unemployment benefits claim, the amount of benefits the applicant is eligible to receive each week is called the “weekly benefit amount.” This weekly benefit amount is calculated at 50 percent of the applicant’s average weekly wage that was received during their “base period.” The weekly benefit amount cannot exceed the maximum amount allowed by law, which is currently set at $722 per week.

Unemployment applicants can calculate their weekly benefit amount as follows: 

1) List your total wages for the last four quarters in which you worked.

2) Take the sum of the two highest paid quarters.

3) Divide the sum of the two highest paid quarters by 26 (the number of weeks in the combined quarters). This number will be your average weekly wage. Note that if you worked less than two quarters, then you should divide the highest wage quarter by 13 weeks to determine your average weekly wage.

4) Take the weekly wage from Step 3 and divide it in half to determine your weekly unemployment benefit amount.

The total amount of federal unemployment benefits one can receive in their benefit year is called the “maximum benefit amount.” This amount is the lesser of either 30 times the weekly benefit amount or 36 percent of the total wages in the base period. For the unemployment benefits claim, the length of time one can receive benefits for is determined by dividing the maximum benefit amount by the weekly benefit amount. However, the maximum number of weeks a claimant can receive full benefits for is 30 weeks (capped at 26 weeks during periods of an unemployment benefits extension).

If the MA federal unemployment benefits recipient works part-time during the weeks in which he or she has requested UI benefits, the recipient may still be paid benefits if his or her gross wages are less than their weekly benefit amount. Any wages above one-third of the weekly benefit amount are deducted dollar-for-dollar from the weekly benefit amount.

The law requires that child support payments be deducted from unemployment benefits when the DUA has received a withholding order from a Child Support Enforcement Agency charged with administering Part D of Title IV of the Social Security Act.

Massachusetts federal unemployment benefits are taxable. Unemployment beneficiaries can elect to have federal and/or state income taxes withheld from their weekly benefit payment by making a request online or by calling TeleCert. Beneficiaries may be required to make quarterly estimated payments to federal and state income taxes. The DUA will send the unemployment recipient a 1099 form by January 31 the year after they were paid UI benefits. is a privately owned website that is not owned or operated by any government agency.