Questions About Unemployment Insurance (UI)

Unemployment Insurance provides temporary financial assistance to qualified workers who become unemployed through no fault of their own. Benefits are not based on need. Benefit eligibility requirements, such as weekly benefit amounts, are determined by state law and vary from state to state.

Employers pay a contribution tax based on a percentage of their payroll into the Unemployment Trust Fund. Workers DO NOT pay taxes into the unemployment program and NO deductions are taken from your paycheck. If you had more than one employer, your employers will share in the costs. Employers also pay a federal tax, which pays for the administrative costs of the program as well as for extension of benefits during periods of high unemployment

Your claim will be based on wages paid to you in your base period. To establish a Hawaii claim:
1) You must have been paid wages in at least two quarters of your base period; and
2) You must have been paid wages of at least 26 times your weekly benefit amount.

Your claim is good for a one-year period called the benefit year. However, you can be paid only for 26 weeks of total unemployment during the one-year period that your claim is effective.

If an individual is retired and does not plan to return to work to the same extent that they were working, the individual would not be considered able and available for work, and therefore would not qualify for unemployment. If an individual retired voluntarily, they need to report that they quit their job.

WEEKLY BENEFIT AMOUNT: The amount is determined by state law and based on the gross wages paid to you in your base period. In Hawaii, your weekly benefit amount is equal to 1/21 of the highest quarter wages in your base period, with a maximum limit of $648 for claims filed in 2020. The total amount of benefits payable during the benefit year is 26 times your weekly benefit amount.

BASE PERIOD: Every state uses a base period to determine what quarters will be used to establish your claim. In Hawaii, the standard base period is the first 4 of the last 5 completed calendar quarters. If you do not qualify using the standard base period, an alternate base period (the last 4 completed calendar quarters) may be used. Use the online Benefit Estimator at uiclaims.hawaii.gov to calculate your weekly benefit amount.

PENSION DEDUCTIONS: Retirement income from both private and government employment, including military retirement pensions, and disability or non-disability pensions, must be reported to the claims office. These sources of income may be deductible from your weekly benefit amount and a determination will be made by your local claims office.
OTHER INCOME: Earnings over $150 from a part-time job are also deductible. Report all income from all sources and the local claims office will make the determination.

UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE BENEFITS ARE TAXABLE INCOME. You can elect to have federal or state income taxes deducted from your unemployment checks. At the end of the calendar year, Form 1099G is mailed to you for your records and the amount you received is reported to the Internal Revenue Service and the State Tax Office.

IF THE REASON FOR YOUR UNEMPLOYMENT WAS OTHER THAN COVID-19, a decision will be made on your separation to determine if benefits are allowed or denied. Decisions are also made on your refusals of work, your availability for work, and other issues which affect your eligibility for benefits.

OTHER INFORMATION:
For more information, forms, and addresses for local claims offices, visit our website at:
http://labor.hawaii.gov/ui. Call or email your local unemployment claims office if you have any questions. Do not rely on advice from friends or relatives or you may run into problems on your claim.

Once it has been determined that you have been overpaid and are legally obligated to repay the amount, UI will attempt to offset the overpayment amount against current or future eligible weeks of benefits. Should you have an outstanding overpayment balance at the end of the month, you will receive a monthly bill until the outstanding balance is satisfied. (Note this applies to reg. UI only.)

The law requires you to be able and available for work, so if you are traveling for non-work related reasons, you are ineligible for UI  benefits during your travel period.

If you are monetarily eligible for UI benefits, but denied for not being able and available for work, you can apply for PUA.

Your weekly benefit amount is the amount of UI benefits that you can receive each week. Your exact weekly benefit amount can be found on your UI account or your monetary determination letter. You must report your gross earnings (earnings before taxes) when filing your claim certifications. Your reported earnings will be deducted from your weekly benefit amount.

Please contact the Department of Taxation about tax-related questions. Their contact information can be found here: https://tax.hawaii.gov/contact/

For security purposes, this information is not available for viewing online. The entry and maintenance of this information is controlled by the individual.

You do not need to notify UI when you update your direct deposit information.

Generally, individuals who quit their jobs due to PCS with their spouse are eligible to receive UI benefits. However, this is not always the case, as individuals may have additional issues that may result in their disqualification, such as not being able and available for work.

You must be able and available to work in order to collect UI benefits.

The UI Modernization Project is projected to be completed in October 2022.

Being denied and being disqualified mean the same thing. The only time a formal determination letter is not sent is when earnings during a week exceed the WBA or hours are 40 or more.

The Unemployment Office does not ask for social security payments to be reported. If an individual reports it as other deductible income, they could be incorrectly denied.

To report a job separation, you need to reactivate your claim. The instructions to reactivate your claim can be found here: https://labor.hawaii.gov/ui/main/reactivate-your-claim-and-report-job-seperation/

If your regular UI claim’s benefit year ended and you are eligible for a new claim, you need to file a new UI claim. If your PEUC claim’s benefit end year expired, you may be eligible for a new UI claim. If this is the case, you would receive an email informing you of that. If your PEUC’s claim benefit end year expired, and you do not qualify for a new claim, the benefit end year of your PEUC claim may be extended if there is a remaining balance.

This most likely explanation is that the claimant filed the claim certification outside business hours, so the claim certification is being held in queue. The claimant should still receive an email confirmation of the claim certification being filed, however, the the claim certification will not show up on the UI system until it comes back online.

Notifications advising individuals of the re-certification process were sent on 7/22/21. Claimants had two weeks to re-certify for any week that was denied. Depending on your answers, a new COVID-19 Eligibility issue may be generated and require a claims examiner’s review.

This means that the claimant was not able and available for work for any reason unrelated to COVID-19.

If you earned more than your weekly benefit amount, then your claim certification for the week in question will show as “disqualified”.

No, you do not. You can stop filing claim certifications if you have returned to work full-time.

Unfortunately, you cannot edit the initial claim once it has been submitted.

A new phone number will not change your login process. However, please update the telephone number on your UI account, as this information is used to contact you.

No. Food delivery drivers are considered covered employment, not self-employment.

You are only able to cancel up to 48 hours before the appointment time. You can click on the original email that you got when you signed up for your appointment and choose the cancel option.

You can make an appointment by going to https://labor.hawaii.gov/ui/appointments/ using a computer or cell phone that has an internet browser.

If an appeal reversed a UI decision, your UI claim will be adjusted accordingly.

Your UI weekly benefit amount is calculated based on the amount earnings that you had in four previous quarters before you filed your new initial claim. If an individual filed a new initial claim now, wages from the June 2020, September 2020, December 2020, and March 2021 quarters would be used to establish the new initial claim. Many individuals earned less wages during this period because of theCOVID-19 Pandemic business shutdowns. This results in individuals having a lower weekly benefit amount.

No, eligibility is determined on a case by case basis.

The WBA would only change if there are deductible earnings during the week or if wages were removed that lowered the overall WBA. Earnings or monetary redetermination could result in an overpayment.

Questions about the End of Federal Programs

Yes,our new UI claim will be reinstated when the PEUC benefits end. You can continue to collect benefits under the regular claim if you meet the eligibility requirements.

The duration of these federal benefits programs was determined by Congress, and the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) set the expiration date of September 6, 2021. Hawaii does not have the power to extend the benefits past the expiration date. ARPA provides the funding to pay out these benefits, so even if a claimant has an available balance, those federal funds will no longer be available.

By law, we cannot pay partial weeks, so the week ending Saturday, September 4, 2021, is the final week for which the federal program benefits can be paid.  (Note:  if your claim filing ends on Sunday, the week ending September 5, 2021 will be your final week of benefits.)

If an eligible claimant is owed back weeks from these federal programs, those weeks may still be paid after September 6, 2021, upon determination of eligibility or any other pending investigations.

Yes. Claimants on regular UI claims will still receive their standard weekly benefits, but the $300 FPUC supplement will end.

No. Once the federal programs end, only the regular Unemployment Insurance program will be available. If new benefits programs become available, we will update our website (link to UI website).