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Mass. unemployment benefit reduction

by Anonymous

I just filed for the extension of my unemployment, and was notified yesterday that my benefits have been cut in half based on what I earned in the "lag period". (I am a contractor, who works for a few weeks or months at a time, and claims for unemployed weeks.) This seems insane, as it bases my benefits on a tiny window of time rather than my overall work history and contributions to the system. My Grandson got an extension and had not worked at all since he first filed, and his benefits remained the same. Am I being penalized for working a short assignment rather than turning it down? What are my options?

Hi Anonymous,

I've got to tell you .. I'm just not as sharp about extension as I'd like to be. Until this recession .. getting any type of extension was damn near impossible .. But I do have some thoughts about what you might need to check into.

First it is my perception that an extension "extends the "benefit year" which is basically 12 months going forward from the date you file.

The "lag period" reference tells me that they are determining benefits on a "new benefit year". Most states determine the "weekly benefit amount" by looking at the wages in the first 4 of the last 5 COMPLETED quarters .. relevant to the date you file for benefits. This can result in a "lag period" of up to 6 months. So it of course would be helpful to me to know when you filed your initial claim.

The question front in center for me is whether you allowed your first benefit year to expire before you filed for the extension.

If you could provide some dates, like when you first filed and when you filed for the extension I might be able to figure out what the problem is and if there is something you can do about it. If there is .. time is of the essence because if a mistake was made you need to appeal the "monetary" determination.

Judy, if you're out there .. Chime in anytime:) Judy is a visitor to this website who has been fighting this same issue in New Jersey and very tenaciously I might add.

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