Massachusetts Maximum Unemployment Benefit Period Drops By Four Weeks

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By Colin Young
State House News Service

People who file new unemployment claims on or after July 2 will now be eligible for a maximum of 26 weeks of benefits, down from 30 weeks due to low unemployment in the Massachusetts’s metropolitan areas, state officials announced this week.

State law requires the maximum benefit period to be reduced if the 12-month average unemployment rate for each of the state’s designated metropolitan areas is equal to or below 5.1 percent. The state Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development announced Tuesday, June 27 that federal data showed that law has been triggered for the first time since March 2019.

The shorter benefit window applies only to individuals filing new claims, and anyone who files a claim for unemployment benefits before July 2 will remain eligible for up to 30 weeks of benefits, the state Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development said. The adjustment affects only the maximum number of weeks that benefit can be collected, not the weekly benefit amount.

The benefit period will return to 30 weeks if, during any month of a claimant’s 26-week benefit window, the 12-month average monthly unemployment rate in any one of the metro areas rises above the 5.1 percent threshold, officials said.

The state Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development announced earlier this month that Massachusetts’s unemployment rate dropped 0.3 percentage points to 2.8 percent in May, nearly a full percentage point below the national rate


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