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Unemployment Insurance Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

 

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1.  What is Unemployment Insurance?
Unemployment Insurance is temporary income for workers who are unemployed through no fault of their own and who are either looking for new jobs, in approved training, or awaiting recall to employment. The funding for unemployment insurance benefits comes from taxes paid by employers. Workers do not pay any of the costs. To qualify for unemployment benefits, you must have earned sufficient wages during a specified time (monetary eligibility). To collect benefits, you must meet certain legal eligibility requirements.
 
2.  What are the basic eligibility requirements to apply for unemployment?
  • Be fully or partially unemployed;
  • Be unemployed through no fault of your own [the law imposes disqualifications for certain types of separations from employment];
  • Be physically and mentally able to work full time*;
  • Be available for full-time work*;
  • Be registered with the Connecticut Works Center;
  • Be actively seeking work by making reasonable efforts to find employment each week;
  • Participate in selected reemployment services if you are identified as a dislocated worker by the profiling system;
  • File your weekly claims as directed.

*Individuals who cannot work because of a physical or mental impairment that is chronic or expected to be long-term or permanent may qualify for benefits if they are available for suitable part-time work.

 

3.  When to file and what to have?
A claim should be filed as soon as possible after you are separated from employment. To ensure the best possible customer service, the following call-in schedule for individuals filing initial or reopened unemployment is now in effect:
  • Mondays: callers with social security numbers ending in numerals 0 through 4 can call the TeleBenefits "Dial to File" system.
  • Tuesdays: callers with social security numbers ending in numerals 0 through 6 can call the TeleBenefits "Dial to File" system.
  • Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays: callers with social security numbers ending in any numeral (0-9) can call the TeleBenefits "Dial to File" system.

If Monday is a holiday (agency closed):

  • Tuesdays: callers with social security numbers ending in numerals 0 through 3 can call.
  • Wednesdays: callers with social security numbers ending in numerals 0 through 7 can call.
  • Thursday through Friday: everyone can file.

When to Call the Telebenefits Line:

  • File your weekly continued claim: Sunday, 12 a.m. to 11 p.m., and Monday through Friday, 6 a.m. to 8 p.m., Eastern Standard Time (E.S.T.)
  • File or resume filing your initial (new) claim or reopen your claim: Monday through Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. (E.S.T.)
  • All other inquiry options, including employer information, are available 7 days/week, 24 hours/day.
  • For your convenience, customer service representatives are available during normal business hours: 
    • Monday and Friday - 7:30 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. (E.S.T.)

Please call the telephone number listed that is within your local calling area. Directions to the nearest CT Works Career Center located in these areas can be obtained by the calling the number listed below.

TeleBenefits Phone Numbers - Local Calling Areas
        Ansonia (203) 230-4939
        Bridgeport (203) 579-6291
        Bristol (860) 566-5790
        Danbury (203) 797-4150
        Danielson (860) 423-2521
        Enfield (860) 566-5790
        Hamden (203) 230-4939
        Hartford (860) 566-5790
        Interstate 1-800-942-6653 (from out-of-state) or
(860) 256-3900 (from in-state)
        Manchester (860) 566-5790
        Meriden (860) 344-2993
        Middletown (860) 344-2993
        New Britain (860) 566-5790
        New London (860) 443-2041
        Norwich (860) 443-2041
        Stamford (203) 348-2696
        Torrington (860) 482-5581
        Waterbury (203) 596-4140
        Willimantic (860) 423-2521
*If you live in the Kent, Salisbury, Sharon, North Thompson, Stafford Springs, Westport or Wilton exchange, you may call the following toll-free number:  1-800-354-3305.  This number is NOT accessible statewide.  It is only for the seven above listed exchanges.

TDD/TTY Users Call: 1-800-842-9710.

Do not delay in filing a claim if you do not have your separation packet which includes a pink slip. Your claim will be taken without it. Your claim is effective the Sunday of the week in which you first file for benefits. Ordinarily, you do not get paid for the weeks prior to the week you filed your initial claim.

Have your Social Security card and separation packet, if one was provided. If you are separating from the military, have separation form DD214, Member-4. Federal employees should bring separation form SF-8 and a copy of their most recent pay stub. If you are not a US citizen, you must have proof that you are work authorized  in the USA. Do not delay filing a claim if you do not have these documents. Your claim can be filed without them, with the exception of those claimants that are required to provide proof of work authorization documents in this country. However, there may be a delay in payment until the document(s) are received. 
 

4.  Where can I file my unemployment insurance claim?
You may file a claim for benefits online or by telephone, in English or Spanish. Claims for Unemployment Compensation are now taken by telephone by calling the TeleBenefits Line. If you file online, our web address is: www.ct.gov/dol. Once you have established a claim, you will file weekly claims online or by telephone.  Those automated systems provide eligibility information on Unemployment Compensation Benefits, and will allow weekly filing of benefits and provide information on the disposition of weekly continued claims, once a new claim has been established.
 
5.  How much will I get?
We look at wages for a 12-month period that is called the Base Period. The time is the first four of the last five completed calendar quarters prior to the calendar quarter in which you initiated the claim. Commencing with benefit years effective on or after January 5, 2003, individuals who cannot establish monetary eligibility using wages in the previously described base period will use an alternate base period.  The alternate base period consists of the four calendar quarters immediately preceding the quarter in which the claim is filed. To determine if a person has sufficient wage credits, the law requires that he or she must have total base period earnings that equals or exceeds 40 times the Weekly Benefit Rate. Normally, the maximum number of weeks of regular benefits payable is 26.
 
6.  What wages are used in determining monetary eligibility?
Wages are drawn from a one-year period (four calendar quarters) to calculate eligibility. This one-year period is called the Base Period. By law, neither the quarter in which your claim is initiated nor the calendar quarter immediately preceding that quarter can be used for this calculation. Therefore, the Base Period normally will be the first four of the last five completed calendar quarters prior to the effective date of the new claim.
  •  If your claim is effective with any Sunday in: January, February, or March
    The Base Period will be the first nine months (Jan-Sept) of last year and the last three months (Oct-Dec) of the year before last;
  • If your claim is effective with any Sunday in: April, May, or June
    The Base Period will be all twelve months (Jan-Dec) of last year;
  • If your claim is effective with any Sunday in: July, August, or September
    The Base Period will be the first three months of the current year (Jan-Mar) and the last nine months (Apr-Dec) of the last year;
  • If your claim is effective with any Sunday in: October, November, or December
    The Base Period will be the first six months (Jan-June) of the current year and last six months of the last year.
     
7.  How will my part-time job affect my benefits?
If you are working part-time, your Weekly Benefit Rate will be reduced by an amount equal to two-thirds (2/3) of your gross wages for that week, rounded to the nearest dollar. To be eligible for this payment the law provides that:
  •  you must be employed less than full-time; the number of hours you are working during the week is less than the number of hours customarily considered to be full-time for that job and/or employer;
  • you must be able to work and available for work as defined by law;
  • you did not refuse additional hours.
     
8.  How will my Pension Benefits affect my benefits?
If you receive a pension, the law requires that the Weekly Benefit Rate be reduced by the pro-rated weekly amount of the pension that was contributed by the employer . A pension reduction of the Weekly Benefit Rate will increase the number of weeks for which Unemployment Compensation Benefits can be paid. You must still be able, available, and looking for full-time work to be eligible for Unemployment Compensation Benefits. 

If you are receiving a pension at the time of your new claim, have your Social Security card and documentation of the amount you are being paid when you phone in your new claim. If you start receiving a pension after your claim for unemployment has been filed, phone the TeleBenefits Line when you actually receive your pension benefits. Please have your Social Security card and documentation of the amount of benefits you are receiving.
 

9.  Can I quit my job and collect Unemployment Insurance Benefits?
The general rule is that a person who voluntarily leaves suitable work without good cause, attributable to the employer, is not eligible for benefits.  However, there are a few non job-related reasons for quitting under which a person may be approved for benefits. These include quitting to care for a spouse, child, or parent with an illness or disability, and quitting to escape domestic violence.

For good cause to be attributable to the employer, it must relate to the wages, hours, or working conditions of the job. A change in conditions created by your employer or a breach of your employment agreement which is substantial and adversely affects you may be good cause to quit. Also, if the job itself adversely affects your health or aggravates or worsens a medical condition, it could be good cause to quit. 

Regardless of the cause, in most cases, good cause attributable to the employer may only be found if you took reasonable steps to inform your employer of your dissatisfaction and sought to remedy the problem before you left. If you quit, it is your burden to prove that there was good cause for leaving. When applying for benefits, after quitting a job, you will be scheduled to attend a pre-determination hearing to establish whether you had good cause for leaving. Your employer will be notified of this hearing and will be invited to attend or to send in a written statement.
 

10. I was just fired. Can I collect Unemployment Insurance Benefits?
If you are fired or suspended, you may be disqualified for benefits if the employer can prove one of the following:
  • Willful misconduct in the course of your employment. The term wilful misconduct means deliberate misconduct in wilful disregard of the employer's interest, or a single knowing violation of a reasonable and uniformly-enforced rule or policy of the employer, when reasonably applied, provided such violation is not a result of the employee's incompetence. In the case of absence from work, an employee must be absent without notice or good cause on three separate instances within a 12-month period;
  • Conduct which is a felony under the law and occurred in the course of your employment;
  • Larceny of property or service whose value exceeds $25 in the course of your employment;
  • Participation in a strike which is illegal under law or regulations;
  • You were sentenced to a term of imprisonment of 30 days or longer and had begun serving that sentence;
  • You were discharged or suspended because you were disqualified by law from performing the job for which you were hired as a result of a drug or alcohol testing program mandated by law;
  • If you are discharged, it is the employer's burden to prove that there was wilful misconduct. When applying for benefits after being discharged or suspended from a job you will be scheduled to attend a pre-determination hearing to determine eligibility. Your employer will be notified of this hearing and will be invited to attend or to send in a written statement.
     
11. My boss is doing ... can he/she do that?
The employer must pay you for work you have performed and in accordance with any contract or written policy. The employer can change the nature of a job in accordance with any contracts or written policies. If you have questions you can call the Connecticut Department of Labor Assistance Center at (860) 263-6785. They can help answer your questions.
 
12. I'm moving ... what can I do about my Unemployment Insurance Benefits?
If you move out of Connecticut, you may continue to file for Unemployment Compensation Benefits from out of state. This is called an Interstate claim. Connecticut will still be the paying state so you must continue to meet all Connecticut eligibility requirements. The toll-free number for the Interstate Claims Unit is 1-800-942-6653.
 
13. How do I file an appeal?
Click here to obtain information on filing an appeal.
 
14. What other unemployment related programs are available?
(The Labor Department is not responsible for accuracy of the information provided by the following non-DOL programs)
  • National School Lunch Program (Conn. State Department of Education)
    Children may become eligible for the free lunch program upon a change in a parents' financial circumstances.
     
15. I will soon exhaust my Unemployment Insurance Benefits. Are there other services that may be helpful to me?
  • Contact United Way's 2-1-1 infoline program. This is a free referral service, with information about workforce programs, community services, basic needs assistance, crisis intervention and much more. 2-1-1 is toll-free from anywhere in Connecticut and it operates 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. The service offers multilingual operators and TTY access. You can reach this service by calling 2-1-1 or visit the United Way website at www.211ct.org.
     
  • If you haven’t been to one yet, visit a CTWorks Career Center. These Centers offer no-cost workshops, career counselors, résumé assistance, computers with Internet access, recruitment events, job postings, referrals and more – all designed to help you with your job search. The Centers can also see if you may be eligible for special training programs, tax credits or employment services offered through community groups.  The Centers also offer recruitment events – visit http://www.ctdol.state.ct.us/ctworks/pos-recruit.html for a list of scheduled employer recruitments.
     
  • Visit CT.jobs, which provides a no-cost electronic job bank. You can post your résumé, search for jobs, access career sites, research companies, and review interview tips. You can access CT JobCentral at http://www.ctdol.state.ct.us/progsupt/jobsrvce/BackToWork.htm.
     
  • Information regarding the Subsidized Training and Employment Program (Step Up), summer and seasonal jobs  at state agencies that are open to all jobseekers, and the Veterans Manufacturing Job Match program can be found on the main page of the Labor Department’s web site at www.ct.gov/dol


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