You are here

COVID-19 and Regular Unemployment Insurance

Produced by Greater Boston Legal Services
Reviewed March 5, 2021

Regular Unemployment Insurance


You should apply for regular UI if you:

  • Earned at least $5,400 in gross W-2 wages in the last 12 months.
  • Are a US citizen or have work authorization. And
  • Were laid off, fired, or quit your job for a reason that was not your fault, including a reason related to COVID, such as:
    • no childcare or elder care, or
    • no in-person, full-time school for your children, or
    • your job is a serious health risk for your child, dependent, family or household member.

Your benefits

  • 26 weeks of UI,or less.
  • Weekly benefit amount based on half your average weekly wages up to $855/week.
  • At the end of your benefit year, the 52 weeks after you first applied for UI, you must reapply for regular UI. DUA will recalculate your weekly benefit amount, which may change.

Federal Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Comp (PEUC)


You used up all your regular UI.

Your benefits

24 extra weeks of UI. The last 11 weeks can only be claimed on or after 12/27/2020.

If you are still getting benefits on 3/13/2021 and remain eligible, you can collect up until 4/10/2021.

If your benefit year ended and your new weekly benefit amount is lower by at least $25, you can choose to get the higher amount while on PEUC.

High Unemployment Period Extended Benefits (HUP EB)


  • You used up your regular UI and PEUC benefits.
  • You applied for regular UI on or after 5/10/2019.
  • During the year before you applied for regular UI, your base period, you worked at least 20 weeks.

Your benefits

  • Up to 20 extra weeks of UI (80 percent of the number of weeks you received regular UI).
  • Can be claimed during high unemployment rates up to 3/13/21, and maybe after.

Mixed Earner Unemployment Compensation (MEUC) is not available in Massachusetts

When the program becomes available, apply for MEUC if:

  • You get unemployment from any source except PUA, and
  • You can prove that you made at least $5,000 in 1099 contractor or self-employed net income in the tax year before you applied for regular UI.

Your benefits

An extra $100/week from 12/27/2020 to 3/13/2021.

Remember to apply for other benefits too


SNAP Food Assistance - Workers who lost hours or job due to COVID-19

COVID-19 and MassHealth and Health Insurance

More information

See the Massachusetts Department of Unemployment Assistance webpages COVID-19 unemployment information. If you have trouble completing your UI application online or you have questions about the status of your application, call 877-626-6800, or use the DUA Contact Request form.

Find Legal Aid

You may be able to get free legal help from your local legal aid program. Or email a question about your own legal problem to a lawyer.

Help us improve MassLegalHelp!

Take a short survey to tell us what works and what is missing.

Ask a Law Librarian

If it's
9am and 4pm