There are many reasons an applicant may be denied unemployment benefits in Massachusetts, and disqualification can occur during the initial application process or after you’ve already begun collecting weekly benefits.
If an applicant is denied unemployment in MA, he or she may file an unemployment denial appeal with the state.
We have compiled helpful information, hints, and tips about appealing an unemployment benefits denial in Massachusetts on this website and FAQs and our free guide.
Learn more about this process in Massachusetts by reading below, checking out our Massachusetts FAQs, and reading our free guide.
Reasons for Denied Unemployment in Massachusetts
There are many reasons applicants may be denied unemployment in Massachusetts.
Unemployment applicants may be denied benefits if they:
- Caused their own termination of employment.
- Earned less than $5,100 during the four calendar quarters prior to the quarter in which they filed for federal unemployment benefits.
- Earned less than 30 times the amount of UI benefits they would be eligible to receive on a weekly basis.
- Provide services for churches and certain religious organizations.
- Are a child under 18 who work for their father or mother.
- Are a student participating in work-training programs administered by a non-profit or public educational institution.
- Are a worker who is a part of a student financial and assistance program provided by a school, college or university where the student/employee attends classes.
- Are a real estate broker or salesperson licensed by the state and paid solely by commission.
- Are an insurance agent or solicitor paid solely by commission (except for industrial life insurance agents).
- Are a sole proprietor or a member of a partnership, including single member LLC’s or LLP’s.
- Are an independent contractor (the DUA determines the eligibility of workers who have been classified as independent contractors).
- Are self-employed
- Are an employee of state and local governments, such as elected officials, members of a legislative body or of the judiciary, emergency employees hired during a disaster, inmates in custodial or penal institutions, and members of the Massachusetts National Guard or Air National Guard.
- Are a government official in a policy-making and advisory position.
Learn About Massachusetts Unemployment Compensation Benefits Denials After Initial Approval
In addition to having MA unemployment benefits denied during the initial application process, unemployment beneficiaries can be denied unemployment benefits after they begin receiving unemployment compensation in Massachusetts.
An unemployment beneficiary may be disqualified from receiving benefits if they:
- Receive a notice to attend a seminar at a Massachusetts One-Stop Career Center to help them find a job and they do not attend it
- Do not make at least three work searches per week, each to be completed on a different day
- Do not keep a detailed log of work search activities or if they do not provide the work search information to the DUA upon request
- Do not register with a Career Center when required to
- Do not keep a record of union hall contacts if they normally obtain work through a union hall
- They do not make themselves available to their former employer for work in the case that their work search is waived due to having a definite return to work date within 28 days
- They do not keep their contact information current with their former employer nor seek work with other employers if they are on a temporary layoff from a former employer with no definite return to work date within 28 days
- Are not physically able to perform work
- Limit the number of hours that they can work or refuse a job because of the amount of wages it pays
Learn About Unemployment Denial Appeals in Massachusetts
If the DUA determines that the unemployment petitioner is not eligible to receive UI benefits, he or she will receive a written Notice of Disqualification along with information about how to file a Massachusetts unemployment denial appeal. The applicant must file their appeal within 10 calendar days of the notice’s mailing date. The unemployment denial appeal can be filed online or sent via mail to the DUA.
There are several levels of unemployment denial appeal. If the claimant is still unemployed while waiting for a hearing, he or she must continue to request benefit payments each week. If a claimant’s initial denial is reversed, then he or she will not receive UI payments for the weeks that he or she did not receive benefits.
After the MA unemployment denial appeal is made, the claimant will receive a written confirmation of the appeal from the Hearings Department. The Hearings Department will also send a notice to the applicant with the date and time of the hearing. Hearings are conducted by the Review Examiner and are carried out either in-person or over the phone. Following the hearing, the Review Examiner will issue a written decision based on the supporting documents and information presented at the meeting.
If the unemployment applicant believes he or she has received wrongful termination of benefits, then he or she has 30 calendar days after the decision notification is sent to appeal to the Board of Review. When the Board of Review issues their decision, they will provide instructions on how to appeal their decision to the District Court. If the Board of Review declines to accept the case for review, it can still be appealed to the District Court.
A claimant wishing legal representation should arrange this service as soon as possible. The DUA cannot recommend a representative. Fees for services rendered by an attorney or agent in connection with an unemployment denial appeal to the Hearings Department or to the Board of Review must be approved by the DUA before they become payable.
Last Updated: February 28, 2023