Unemployment levels in New Hampshire, like much of the states, is at an all-time high. As reported by WMUR, the state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate now sits as 16.3%, the highest rate since 1976, the earliest year on record. With no end to the distributive influence of COVID yet in sight, there’s no guarantee the unemployment rates will be dropping anytime soon. While unemployment insurance benefits (UI) won’t replace a lost income, it can prove a lifeline to those who’ve suddenly found themselves unemployed as a result of the crisis. If you’ve among the many who’ve lost their job or had their income cut, here’s what you should know about how to file for unemployment in New Hampshire.
The Eligibility Requirements
Before beginning your application for UI, check that you meet the eligibility requirements. Ordinarily, the unemployment eligibility criteria in New Hampshire is set as follows:
- You are legally authorized to work in the US
- You have earned enough over the base period (i.e. the first of the last 5 completed quarters) to satisfy minimum income expectations
- You’ve become unemployed through no fault of your own
- You are able and available to work
- You are actively seeking employment.
However, in light of the changes that have come about since the introduction of the CARES Act on March 27, new unemployment applicants will no longer have to fulfill the work-search requirement if they have Covid-19 or have been ordered to quarantine; if they are the primary caregiver to someone with COVID-19 or who’s been ordered to quarantine; if their workplace has closed; if they have to care for a child who can’t get to school because of closures; or if they’ve been ordered to shelter in place.
In a further relaxation of the normal rules, claims for UI are now being accepted from the self-employed, gig workers, and freelances. Regardless of why you’ve been made unemployed, you will still be expected to meet minimum income expectations. In New Hampshire, this equates to a minimum of $2,800 or more during the entire base period, and a minimum of $1,400 in two separate quarters.
The Required Information
Once you’ve confirmed that you are indeed eligible to claim UI, it’s time to start digging out the information that’ll be requested as part of your application. As per the guidelines of New Hampshire Employment Security, you’ll need to confirm:
- Your Social Security Number
- Address (mailing and home address)
- Telephone Number
- Email Address
- Alien Registration Number (if you are not a U.S. citizen)
- Amount of separation, holiday, sick, or retirement pay you received or will receive
- Military Form DD-214, member 4 copy (if you were in the military in the past year)
- Form SF-8 (if you worked for the Federal government in the past year)
- You’ll also need to provide the following for each employer you’ve worked for in the past 18 months:
- Complete name and address of each employer (including zip code)
- Payroll address if different
- Employer’s telephone number (including area code)
- Beginning and ending dates of employment (day, month and year)
- Number of hours worked and pay rate if you worked this week (including Sunday)
- Reason why you are no longer working for employer.
How To File
To file for UI in New Hampshire, you’ll need to create an account on the New Hampshire Employment Security website. Once you’ve registered an account, simply follow the prompts to finalize your application. Due to the high volume of new applications currently being received, the New Hampshire Employment Security is asking all new applicants to follow a schedule for filing. To check your timeslot, visit the New Hampshire Employment Security website for the filing schedule. As the department will backdate payments only as far as the date you file your claim (rather than your last working day), it’s advisable to file as soon as possible after becoming unemployed, and ideally, within 3 days of your last working day.
Once you’ve filed your initial claim, you’ll need to start making weekly requests for payment. Your first continued claim should be filed for the period between the first Sunday through Saturday following the week you filed your initial claim. You’ll need to continue to file for each week that you are eligible to claim UI. Note that the weekly claim requirement is effective immediately; even if your initial claim is being reviewed or you have an appeal pending, continue to file to avoid any later problems with payment.
New Hampshire residents can usually claim up to 26 weeks of unemployment in any 52-week period. However, since the introduction of the CARES Act, the period has been extended by a further 13 weeks until the end of July, up to a maximum of 39 weeks in total.
Weekly Benefit Amount
Your weekly benefit amount (WBA) will vary between $32 to $427, depending on how much you earned over the base period. To check your entitlement, take a look at the chart provided on the New Hampshire Employment Security website. In addition to what you get from the state, you’ll also receive a $600 weekly supplementary payment under the conditions of the CARES Act. The payment is available for a total of 4 months, or until the end of July.
The Appeals Process
Shortly after you file your initial claim, the New Hampshire Employment Security will issue a Monetary Determination confirming receipt of your claim and providing an estimate of what your WBA will be, should your application be approved. Once they have completed their review of your claim, they’ll issue a Notice of Determination advising of however your claim has been approved. If you do not agree with the determination, you have the right to file an appeal within 14 days of the mailing date of the determination. Full details of the information you’ll need to provide as part of the appeal will be included in the determination, along with details of the appeal process itself.