Unemployment Insurance FAQ

Eligibility

To file a UI claim, you will need to provide:

  • Your driver's license or state-issued ID number
  • The names, addresses, phone numbers, and dates of employment for all employers where you have worked in the last 18 months
  • Your rate of pay and income from each employer
  • The name and local number of your labor union or hiring hall, if applicable
  • Your alien registration number (A-number), if applicable
  • Proof of military service and wages (DD214 member copy 4), if applicable
  • Proof of federal civilian service and wages (SF8 and SF50), if applicable
  • The names, social security numbers and dates of birth for all dependent children, if applicable

Most Rhode Island workers, on payroll, are covered by UI. Employer payroll taxes fund UI for all private, for- profit businesses. Public sector workers and employees of non-profit organizations are covered as well; however, their employers may opt to pay claims directly instead of contributing via payroll taxes. Business owners most likely qualify if they are also on payroll.

You should file for unemployment insurance in the state in which you work. Here are the websites for our neighboring states’ unemployment insurance applications:

If your hours are reduced, you may be eligible for partial benefits if you are being paid less than what your weekly Unemployment Insurance benefit amount would be if you were to be totally unemployed. Those applying for regular unemployment insurance should apply via our standard application, found here.

If you are working full-time, you are likely ineligible for Unemployment Insurance.

To qualify for regular unemployment insurance, you must have been paid at least $13,800 in either your base period or an alternate base period. Normally, your base period consists of the first four of the last five completed calendar quarters before the starting date of your new claim. If you did not earn this amount, you may be eligible if you meet all of the following conditions:

  • 1. You were paid at least $2,300 in one of your base period quarters, and
  • 2. You were paid total base period taxable wages of at least one and one-half times your highest single quarter earnings, and
  • 3. You were paid total base period taxable wages of at least $4,600.

Also, if you have had a previous claim, you must have worked again since filing that claim and must have been paid taxable wages of at least eighty times the R.I. minimum hourly wage of $11.50, or $920.

The base period is the period we look at to determine if you have been paid sufficient wages to be monetarily eligible. Normally, your base period consists of the first four of the last five completed calendar quarters before the starting date of your new claim. The calendar quarters are:

January 1 through March 31
April 1 through June 30
July 1 through September 30
October 1 through December 31

If wages from one of these quarters had to be used to establish a previous claim using the alternate base period, that quarter's wages cannot be used again to compute your current claim. If you submit a new claim and you do not meet the minimum earnings requirements in the regular base period, we will re-compute your claim using an alternate base period. This period consists of the last four completed calendar quarters before the starting date of your claim. While you must still meet the same overall earnings requirements, the alternate base period will allow some of your more recent wages to be counted towards establishing your claim.

Your weekly benefit rate will be equal to 3.85% of the average of the total wages in the two highest quarters of the base period, not to exceed the defined maximum amount. Effective 10/1/20, the minimum is $59 and maximum is $661, not including dependency allowance. Your weekly benefit rate remains the same throughout your benefit year.

If you have dependent children under 18 years of age you may be entitled to a dependency allowance. Children with disabilities over the age of 18 may also qualify for the allowance. The dependency allowance is limited to 5 dependents and is equal to 5% of your weekly benefit rate for each dependent. There is a $15 minimum per dependent.

The duration of your claim is equal to 33% of your total base period wages divided by your basic weekly benefit rate (not including dependent's allowance). The most you are allowed to collect is an amount equal to 26 full weeks. You may claim these weeks any time you are unemployed during your benefit year.

Any private pension that you are receiving from a base period employer may be deducted from your benefit rate.

If you owe child support payments, a deduction may be made from your benefit check and sent to the Office of Child Support Services.

If you are currently receiving unemployment, you may continue to collect benefits while on jury duty, providing you do not earn more than your benefit rate. You must report the weekly jury duty stipend when requesting unemployment benefits for that week. If you are also working part-time while on jury duty, you must combine all earnings for the reporting week.

If you are called for jury duty while you are fully employed, you may not collect unemployment benefits as you are still attached to the employer and do not meeting the definition of an unemployed individual.

No. You cannot collect both programs at the same time. In order to collect Unemployment Insurance Benefits you must be able, available and actively looking for work.

Once you are released from Workers' Compensation, if you are unemployed, you can file for Unemployment benefits. You will need to be able and available for full time work and released from your doctor with written authorization to return to work. Eligibility will be determined after you file a claim.

No. You cannot collect both programs at the same time. To collect Unemployment Insurance Benefits, you must be able, available, and actively seeking full-time work. Once you are released from TDI, if you are unemployed, you can file for unemployment benefits. You will need to be able and available for full-time work and released from your doctor with written authorization to return to full-time work. Eligibility will be determined after you file a claim.

You will have your payment delayed by the number of weeks of severance pay received from your employer. Any severance pay received will be allocated on a weekly basis from your last day of work for a period not to exceed 26 weeks.

You will be eligible for a partial payment if your weekly severance amount is less than your benefit rate. If this is the case, the weekly severance amount will be deducted for the number of weeks of severance pay received.

Your employer should provide the severance amount and the number of weeks that the severance represents. If your employer does not provide this information, the severance pay will be allocated using your benefit rate.

You should still apply for UI; there’s no penalty for applying. Fill out the online application and DLT will let you know for sure.

If you have a confirmation number, then your claim has been received and we're working on it. Please do not call to check on the status of your claim. If it has been more than three weeks since you filed or refiled your claim, you may contact the UI Call Center for assistance at (401) 415-6772.

There are several reasons a decision on your claim may be delayed:

  • Confirming out of state wages – if you have worked out of state, we must request your wage records from that state, which can slow down the processing.
  • Alternate calculation of benefits – if you do not have qualifying wages in the standard “base period,” we will run an alternate calculation or even wait to the start of the next quarter to review new wage records.
  • Errors on the initial claim – A typo on your date of birth or social security number may delay processing.
  • Adjudication – if there are questions about your reason for separation, or other details of your claim, a staff member may request additional information or an interview to determine your eligibility

You will receive your BYE (Benefit Year Ending) number as soon as your claim has been processed. You will not need it before that. Once your claim has been processed, your BYE number will be on your Claim Status page.

UI Online (formerly Teleserve)

Beginning with the week indicated on your UI Online Payment Instructions, you must use UI Online or TeleCert every week you are requesting benefits. You will need your BYE date, your social security number and your 4-digit PIN to certify for weekly benefits.

You can certify your payments online using UI Online or by calling  401-415-6772. Certification can be done any day of the week, Sunday through Saturday.

You must serve a 7-day unpaid waiting period at the start of your new claim. The 7-day period is a Sunday through Saturday in which your earnings are less than your Benefit Rate.

When you use UI Online, you must report the gross wages you earned Sunday through Saturday of the prior week. Total gross wages include, but are not limited to, commission, bonus, stipends, vacation, tips, and overtime pay. You do not need a paystub to report your gross wages. To determine the gross wages you earned for the previous week, take your hourly rate and multiply it by the number of hours you worked. If you received commission or bonus pay during the previous week, add this to your calculation.

Payment is transferred to your direct deposit account or Electronic Payment Card (EPC) approximately 48 business hours after you request a payment. Should a bank holiday occur during a week, your payment will be delayed an additional 24 business hours.

You can contact UI Online any day of the week; it doesn't have to be Sunday. You can certify on another day instead, and you will receive your payment approximately 48 hours after certifying. If you miss certifying for one week, you will be able to certify the following week. However, if you go four weeks in a row without certifying, you will need to refile your claim.

If you choose to have your taxes withheld, are working part-time, or have other deductible income your benefit rate and dependency allowance will be reduced.

If you earn zero wages during a week, you are considered “totally unemployed.” If you earn part-time wages during a week, you are considered “part-time unemployed.” If your status changes from part-time unemployed to totally unemployed and does not change back to part-time unemployed within three weeks, you will be prompted during your next UI Online certification to re-file your claim.

For security reasons, we cannot establish a new PIN for you. You must call 401-415-6772 during operating hours to choose a new PIN that only you know. You may also establish or change your PIN online. Click here to do so.

Yes. Prior to your next use of UI Online, you must provide your new address here or by contacting the Call Center at (401) 415-6772.

Check your claim status page or mailings from the Department. Make sure that

  • 1) your claim has been processed
  • 2) you’re in the correct date range to begin using UI Online

If your claim hasn’t been processed, or you’re not in the right date range, then you will just need to wait for the claim to process or for the right date; you do not need to call. If the issue persists, please fill out out our support request form here.

You do not need to contact UI Online if you have returned to work full-time. Instead, you are required to complete and mail the Return to Work Form sent to you when you filed your claim.

You do not need to contact UI Online if you are not requesting benefits for the prior week.

Customers collecting WorkShare (WS), Trade Readjustment Allowance (TRA), or Alternative Trade Adjustment Assistance (ATAA) do not need to contact UI Online.

Appeals and Adjudication

An adjudication interview is a fact-finding telephone interview conducted by the Central Adjudication Unit (CAU). On the day of the interview, an adjudicator (investigator) will contact you and your employer (if necessary) to obtain the facts relating to the issue. A decision whether to allow or deny benefits will be based upon the facts obtained, the Unemployment Insurance laws, and the documentation provided.

An adjudication interview is a fact-finding telephone interview conducted by the Central Adjudication Unit (CAU). On the day of the interview, an adjudicator (investigator) will contact you and your employer (if necessary) to obtain the facts relating to the issue. A decision whether to allow or deny benefits will be based upon the facts obtained, the Unemployment Insurance laws, and the documentation provided.

You will receive written notification of the date and time of the scheduled telephone interview.

You must continue to use the UI Online payment system via the Internet at UI Online or over the phone at 401-415-6772. Payments will be issued if you are eligible for benefits.

You may also complete a fact-finding questionnaire to expedite the adjudication process. Click here to access them.

If you are denied benefits and disagree with the decision you may appeal the decision and must do so in writing within fifteen (15) days of the mailing date of the decision. CAU decisions may be appealed online at https://dltweb.dlt.ri.gov/UIAppealDecision/, by submitting a request in writing to the Central Adjudication Unit at PO Box 20067, Cranston, RI 02920-0941 or by FAX at (401) 462-8318.

You may be denied benefits if you become unemployed for reasons other than lack of work.

If you quit your job without good cause, you will be denied benefits until you work and earn an amount equal to or greater than eight times your benefit rate and are unemployed through no fault of your own.

If you are fired for proved misconduct connected with your job, you will be denied benefits uuntil you work and earn an amount equal to or greater than eight times your benefit rate and are unemployed through no fault of your own.

If you refuse a suitable job offer, you will be denied benefits until you work and earn an amount equal to or greater than eight times your benefit rate and are unemployed through no fault of your own.

If you become unemployed because of a labor dispute, you may be denied benefits.

Whenever a question arises about your eligibility for benefits, you will have an opportunity to present your side of the case. You may bring witnesses or someone to represent you. You should bring any documents or other evidence that will support your claim. You will receive a decision that will either approve your claim or tell you why, and for how long, you are denied benefits. You have the RIGHT TO APPEAL any decision with which you do not agree. Decisions may be appealed ONLINE, by submitting a request in writing to the Central Adjudication Unit at PO Box 20067, Cranston, RI 02920-0941 or by FAX at (401) 462-8318.

Your case will be assigned to a Referee (Hearing Officer) at the Board of Review who will schedule a hearing at which time you may state your argument in detail. Information on preparing your case, and the procedure for an appeals hearing can be found on the Board of Review website. The Board is an impartial authority not under the direction of the Department of Labor and Training.

Once an appeal is filed, the case will be referred to a Referee at the Board of Review. Information on preparing your case and the procedure for a Referee hearing can be found on the Board of Review website. The Board is an impartial authority not under the direction of the Department of Labor and Training. If you are pending a decision from a Referee at the Board of Review, you may email questions to DLT.BORinfo@dlt.ri.gov

Overpayment

Yes. If you have an overpayment, you are required to pay back these benefits. If you do not repay your overpayment it will be recovered by future benefits, your tax refund(s), lottery winnings, or a referral to a collection agency.

RI State taxes can be taken for all overpayments. Federal taxes may be intercepted for all overpayments if a repayment agreement and payment is not received within 60 days of mailing date of the TOP (Treasury Offset Program) letter. It is important to update the Department with any address changes.

You may file a claim for benefits. However, if you are eligible for a claim and requesting weekly payments the Department will deduct the money owed from your weekly Unemployment Insurance benefits

Yes. The Department mails an appealable decision when you have been paid Unemployment Insurance benefits that you were not entitled to receive. The decision shows the amount of the overpayment and interest, if any, the reason for the overpayment and information about your appeal rights.

A billing notice is generated the first of every month to all customers with an outstanding overpayment balance. The billing notice includes the total principal and interest (if applicable) amount due. Please note, checks may take one to two weeks to clear your account and be reflected on your overpayment monthly statement.

No, the 1099 will only represent benefits paid to you by the department within the last calendar year. If you have made payments on an overpayment during the last calendar year this will not be reflected on your 1099, and you should advise your accountant of any repayments you made for income tax filing purposes.

This information is provided in your monthly billing notice, which is mailed the first of every month. It is important to update the Department with any address changes. You may contact the overpayment unit at 401-462-8010 for information on your Unemployment Insurance overpayment.

Payments (check or money order) should be mailed to:

RI Department of Labor and Training, Overpayment Unit
PO Box 20380
Cranston, RI 02920.

Accepted payment methods are checks and money orders payable to the Department of Labor and Training.

Yes. Due to IRORA (Interstate Reciprocal Overpayment Repayment Agreement), the state of Rhode Island can intercept your Benefits to offset an out of state overpayment.

If your overpayment is due to fraud/misrepresentation, interest will accrue at 18% per year as long as there is a principal balance.

In your letter, please provide your name, last four digits of your social security number, current address, the case number you are appealing, and the reason for appealing the decision. Mail to or fax to:

Department of Labor & Training, Overpayment Unit
P.O. Box 20380
Cranston, RI 02920

Yes, if you are appealing your overpayment decision, you must continue to make payments. If the decision is ruled in your favor, any money you paid towards your overpayment will be returned to you. Rhode Island General Law, Chapters 42-62-7.1 and 44-30.1-1 allows for offset of state and/or federal income tax refunds and lottery winnings to repay any benefit overpayment.

For Employers

Complete the form by answering all questions and indicating the reason for separation. The information provided will be reviewed and the Department will notify you if a telephone interview is necessary. You must return this form within 10 business days in order to have standing to contest any determination with respect to the individual’s claim.

If you received a Notice of Claim Filed this means that the wages this individual earned from your company are being used to establish a claim. Normally, the wages used to establish a claim consist of the first four of the last five completed calendar quarters before the starting date of the claim. The calendar quarters are:

January 1 through March 31
April 1 through June 30
July 1 through September 30
October 1 through December 31

If an individual does not meet the minimum earning requirements, we will re-compute the claim using the last four completed calendar quarters before the starting date of the claim.

You can update your name and/or address here: https://dltweb.dlt.ri.gov/empaddchg2013/

The chargeable employer is the most recent base period employer for whom the claimant was separated and had worked at least 4 weeks and earned at least $230 each week.