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When you lose your job, you might panic about how you are going to support yourself and your family. If you were laid off or fired without cause, you may be eligible for unemployment benefits. These benefits give you a source of income so that you can support yourself and your family while you search for a new job. In Massachusetts, you may be eligible for up to $625 a week in unemployment benefits.
Average Weekly Wage
Your Massachusetts unemployment benefits are based on your average weekly wages during the time you were working. Massachusetts examines your earnings over a base period—usually the last four out of the last five tax quarters—to determine how much you are eligible to receive. Usually, your unemployment benefits average to about 50 percent of the average amount you received each week while you were working. As of March 2011, you cannot receive more than $625 per week regardless of your average weekly wage amount.
If you are the main source of financial support for children under the age of 18, you may receive an extra $25 each week for each of your children. For example, if your benefit amount is $310 per week and you have three dependent children, you will receive an extra $75 per week, or $385 per week. You cannot receive a dependency allowance that is more than half of your weekly benefit amount. For example, if your benefit amount is $310, you cannot receive a dependency allowance of more than $152 per week.
Maximum Length of Time
As of 2011, Massachusetts offers unemployment benefits for a maximum of 26 weeks. Since the maximum benefit amount you can get is $625 per week, you cannot get more than $16,250 total in unemployment benefits. This amount does not include the dependency allowance for children. Since your maximum dependency allowance is half of your weekly benefit amount, you can get a maximum dependency allowance of $312.50 per week, or $8,125 total.
During periods of high unemployment, Massachusetts may extend unemployment benefits because of the difficulties many people are encountering in finding a job. As of March 2011, the federal government has extended unemployment benefits in Massachusetts for up to 20 weeks. Thus, instead of receiving benefits for 26 weeks, some people may receive them for 46 weeks, for a total of up to $28,750 in benefits and $14,375 in dependency allowances.