How to Apply for Unemployment Benefits

File or Refile a Claim Online

File a Claim on UI Online

File by Phone

The easiest way to apply for benefits is online at the link above. If you'd prefer to file your claim over the phone, please contact us at (401) 415-6772 to file a claim during normal business hours.

For Workshare claims, call (401) 462-8418

For Interstate claims out of state, call (866) 557-0001

How to use UI Online

In this video, Director Weldon takes you through the process of creating an account and filing a unemployment insurance claim on UI Online.

Payment Methods

Claimants have two choices to receive their payments — Direct Deposit or Electronic Payment Card (EPC). We strongly recommend choosing the Direct Deposit option to avoid delays. If you choose EPC, your card will arrive with instructions on how to activate it and use it without incurring any fees.

  • Please select either the electronic payment card or direct deposit payment option.
  • If you select direct deposit, be prepared to provide bank name, route number and account number.

More Information about the Electronic Payment Card

For School Employees / Educators

School employees and educators may be entitled to collect unemployment insurance but have a different criteria to determine eligibility for unemployment insurance.

Professional and non-professional employees of educational institutions, educational service agencies and certain other educational employers may be eligible for unemployment ONLY if they do not have a contract or if their employer has not provided written reasonable assurance of their employment for the following year, academic term or for the period following a school vacation. State law requires each educational institution to provide reasonable assurance in writing to those individuals who will be unemployed during the summer and will return to work once the summer break or vacation period ends. If teachers, professional and non-professional educational employees DO have a contract or written reasonable assurance of employment, they are ineligible to collect unemployment insurance benefits using their educational wages during the vacation period or the period between academic terms.

Means a written agreement by the employer (school dept., educational agency) that the employee will perform services in the same or similar capacity during the ensuing academic year, term or remainder of a term. Reasonable assurance would not exist if the economic terms and conditions of the position offered in the ensuing academic period are substantially less that the terms and conditions of the position in the prior term. RI General Law, Section 28-44-68 requires that each educational institution provide reasonable assurance in writing to individuals who will be unemployed during the school break but will return to work after the school break ends. It is the responsibility of each educational employer to determine any exceptions to this rule for non-professional education employees.

If you have been notified by your employer that you are being laid off and you do not have written reasonable assurance of returning when school reopens, you should file an unemployment claim within seven (7) days of your last day of employment to avoid jeopardizing or delaying your first payment. Visit the UI FAQ page for more information. It is important to file as soon as possible because if you are found eligible for benefits, you must serve a one-week waiting period between filing for benefits and receiving your first benefit payment.

Teachers and educational employees should be prepared to provide the information detailed below:

Information about educational employment - be prepared to provide information and answer the following questions:

  • In the most recent academic year/term, have you been employed by a school or educational institution?
  • Is this a school summer vacation or term break period? If you are a school employee filing your claim May through August, you are required to answer "Yes".

  • Are you employed by a
    • City/Town
    • Private School
    • Daycare or Preschool
    • College/University

  • Employer Name
  • Last physical date of work
  • Your title/position
  • Contract Coverage

  • Your status for the past year
    • Permanent Full-time
    • Permanent Part-time
    • Substitute
    • Temporary Full-Time
    • Temporary Part-Time

  • Did you receive a termination letter prior to March 1st?
  • Are you returning to this same position in the next academic term?
  • Will you be working for a different school department in the next academic year?
  • Have you received written assurance that you will be recalled following the vacation period or upcoming academic term?

For Veterans

If you are a service member separating from active duty you may qualify for unemployment compensation if you are unable to find a new job. The Unemployment Compensation for Ex-service members (UCX) program provides benefits for eligible ex-military personnel. The program is administered by the States as agents of the Federal government.

You may be eligible if:

  • You were on active duty with a branch of the US military, and you have separated under honorable conditions.
  • You should file for benefits in the week of your discharge date, as shown on your DD-214 (Discharge Papers).
  • You are allowed to file a claim in the state whose soil you are standing on. There are no residency requirements that need to be met for UCX.
  • Retirement pay and disability retirement pay reduces UCX benefits dollar for dollar. VA benefits do not affect UCX benefits.

For Military Personnel

If you are currently unemployed, you can apply for Unemployment Insurance benefits online or by calling the UI Services Center at (401) 415-6772.

If you are currently collecting benefits or if you receive a notice of layoff from your employer and are called to active duty, you should call the UI Service Center and inform the interviewer of your situation.

You will need your Social Security number and your civilian and military job history. You will also need your Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty (DD Form 214 Member 4 Copy) available. We will inform you of any other requirements you may need.

You have two options for UCX payments; direct deposit or Electronic Payment Card.

Exhausted your benefits?

Many Rhode Islanders experiencing long-term unemployment have exhausted or may soon exhaust the maximum unemployment insurance benefits currently available. Here are other resources available to Rhode Islanders experiencing financial difficulties. If you were considered ineligible for these services while you were collecting unemployment insurance benefits, you may become eligible when your benefits are exhausted.

RI Works

  • Provides temporary cash assistance for low-income and unemployed parents with children.
  • To apply, visit one of the DHS offices or call 1-855-MY-RIDHS.

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)

  • Helps low-income people and families buy food.
  • To qualify, you must meet income and asset requirements.
  • You can apply online or at your local SNAP office.

Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)

  • Helps income-eligible families pay their heating bills.
  • LIHEAP is a grant, so you do not have to repay it.
  • To apply, contact your local Community Action Agency.

State of Rhode Island-Child Support Services

  • Helps parents who have a child support order or a medical order and have either lost their jobs or are working reduced hours.
  • To request a modification of your child support order, contact the RI Family Court.

netWORKri One-Stop Career Centers

  • A partnership of professional labor, training and education organizations that match job seekers with employers.
  • To find a career center near you, visit the netWORKri website.

United Way 2-1-1 Rhode Island

  • Offers information on many services in your geographical area, including:
    • Basic needs (food, shelter)
    • Child care
    • Health services
    • Individual and family counseling
    • Disability services
    • Emergency shelter
    • Energy/utility assistance
    • Financial assistance
    • Homelessness
    • Housing/rent assistance
    • Suicide prevention
    • Transportation assistance
  • To get help, call 2-1-1 or visit the United Way website.

HealthSource RI

  • A health insurance marketplace where you can sign up for health insurance any time your life changes and you need health insurance.
  • To learn more, visit the HealthSource RI website.

The Economic Progress Institute Guide to Assistance

  • A nonpartisan research and policy organization dedicated to improving the economic well-being of low- and modest-income Rhode Islanders.
  • To access information on various programs for individuals and families, visit the Economic Progress Institute website.

Offer of Compromise Internal Revenue Service

  • An agreement between a taxpayer and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) that settles the taxpayer’s tax liabilities for less than the full amount owed.
  • To learn more, visit the IRS website.

Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program operated by RI Housing

  • Helps income-eligible participants afford safe, healthy homes in their community.
  • To apply, visit the RI Housing website.

Rhode Island Free Drug Card

  • A FREE Prescription Drug Card program for Rhode Island residents.
  • The program has “LOWEST PRICE” logic to guarantee that you pay the lowest price on your prescriptions.
  • RIRx is accepted at over 50,000 pharmacies around the country.