Handbook on Unemployment Benefits

                                          View in Printable PDF Version

UC-266 (Rev. 5/9/16)

The Unemployment Insurance (UI) program, administered by the UI Division of the State Department of Labor and Industrial Relations, provides temporary financial support to qualified workers who are unemployed through no fault of their own and meet the requirements of the law.  Employers pay all UI costs through a tax on their payrolls or on a reimbursable basis.  Workers do not contribute to the UI program.


Filing an Application for Unemployment Insurance


How Do I File for UI Benefits?

To file a new application or to reactivate an unexpired UI claim for benefits, go to:  http://uiclaims.hawaii.gov and “Login as a Claimant.”  If this is the first time you are accessing this Web site, you will first need to create a personal account.  Your claim is effective from the week that you file — not from when you became unemployed.  If you do not have Internet access or need assistance, go to your local claims office to use the computer kiosks or ask for help.  A listing of the various offices may be found on the last page of this handbook.

After logging onto the system, select “File an Initial Claim” for a new application or “Reactivation” to restart an unexpired claim for benefits.  File between 6:30 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. (HST), Monday to Friday or between 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. (HST) on weekends and holidays.  Print your confirmation page at the end and download applicable forms to submit to the department as required.  Failure to submit the required forms may affect your UI payments.

If you are in another state, Washington D.C., Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, or Canada, file your application online at http://uiclaims.hawaii.gov.  Do not file an application from anywhere else.


Establishing a Valid Claim


How Can I Qualify for UI Benefits?  You need: 

  1. Wages paid for insured work in at least two calendar quarters in your base period.
  2. Wages paid for insured work of least 26 times your weekly benefit amount (WBA) in your base period.
  3. Wages paid of at least five times your WBA for work during the prior claim if filing a new claim immediately after a prior claim expires.

NOTE:   You can combine out-of-state wages with your Hawaii wages to qualify for a valid claim or to increase your weekly benefit amount if you worked in several states during the 18 months prior to filing your Hawaii claim.

What is My Base Period?

The base period is the first four of the last five completed calendar quarters from the effective date of your new application for benefits. Under certain conditions, an alternate base period, consisting of the most recent four completed quarters, may be used.  To find your base period:




EXAMPLE:    UI Claim filed effective:  4/6/2014

Base Period:  1/1/13 to 12/31/13 (first four of the last five quarters)

Alternative Base Period:  4/1/13 to 3/31/14 (last four quarters)



How Much Will I Receive?

You will get an “Unemployment Determination of Insured Status” form with the following information:

  • Wages paid by each employer in the four quarters and the total wages paid in the base period.
  • Your benefit year — the 52-week period starting from the week you filed your initial application.
  • Your WBA — highest quarter of wages in your base period divided by 21 provided that it does not exceed the maximum WBA for the calendar year. To find the current maximum WBA go to: http://labor.hawaii.gov/ui/tax-rate-schedule-and-weekly-benefit-amount/
  • Your maximum benefit amount (MBA) — total amount of benefits that you can receive during your benefit year which equals 26 x WBA.

If you receive an invalid “Unemployment Determination of Insured Status,” you may request a reconsideration of the determination by providing proof of earnings or see if you qualify using the alternative base period method.

Am I Eligible for UI Benefits?  You must meet the following eligibility conditions to collect UI benefits:

  • Be Totally or Partially Unemployed. You must be totally separated from a regular job or still be attached to an employer but work less than full-time hours and earn less than your WBA.  (See Partial/Part-Total Claims.)
  • File an Application to Establish a UI claim that is effective the week of filing, not when you became unemployed.
  • File Claim Certifications on a weekly/bi-weekly basis to request payment of benefits while unemployed. (See Filing Weekly or Bi-Weekly Claim Certifications.)
  • Register for Work with the State Workforce Development Division (WDD). Post an online resume in HireNet Hawaii within seven calendar days after you applied for UI benefits at http://www.hirenethawaii.com/.  The WDD offices are listed at http://hawaii.gov/labor/wdd.

Registration for work with WDD may be waived for some union members or if you are partially unemployed.  Your union must complete Form UC-226, “Verification of Registration with a Referring Union” and it must be submitted to your local claims office.  Find Form UC-226 at:  https://labor.hawaii.gov/ui/files/2017/01/UC-226-rev-11-15.pdf.

  • Participate in Reemployment Services (Worker Profiling) if you are selected for referral to WDD or another service provider for orientation, assessment, job placement, or other similar services.
  • Be Physically and Mentally Able to Work.  If you become ill/disabled after filing an application for UI benefits, a medical waiver may apply if your condition is certified by a doctor and you do not refuse suitable work because of your illness/disability.  Continue to file your claim certifications and ask your local office for more information.
  • Be ready and willing to Seek and Accept Work that you are reasonably fitted for by training or experience without any undue restrictions.

Make three or more work search contacts every week.  Keep a record of all your work search contacts on Form UC-253, “Record of Contacts Made for Work,” and submit when requested.   Go to http://labor.hawaii.gov/ui/files/2012/12/UC-253_Record_of_Job_Contacts.pdf  to download Form UC-253.

You must notify your local claims office of any changes in your availability for work such as loss of child care, going to school, taking a trip, illness, performing self-employment, etc.  Changes in your availability for work may affect your eligibility to benefits.

Members in good standing of referring unions must be on the union’s out-of-work list and comply with all union reporting requirements.  You must notify the local claims office if:  1)  you refuse work referrals, 2)  the union will not refer you to jobs, or 3)  you otherwise change your union status in which you may be required to register for work with WDD (see number 4 above).

  • Serve a One-Week Waiting Period which is the first eligible week on your UI claim. You must file a claim certification for the waiting period week even though no benefits will be paid to you.
  • Report for Required Interviews — Respond immediately whenever the department contacts you regarding your claim or report as scheduled by UI or WDD.

Fact-finding Interviews — Whenever possible, information will be obtained by telephone for an issue regarding your claim.  If a telephone message is left for you to provide more information on an issue and you do not respond as directed, a decision will be made based on available information.  Your failure to respond may affect payment of your benefits.

Eligibility Review Interview (ERI) or Reemployment Services and Eligibility Assessment (RESEA) — Periodically scheduled to enhance job search efforts and review continued eligibility for work.

Quality Control Audits — Randomly selected claims for intensive review of job separations, current and past eligibility status, wages used to establish your claim, and any determinations rendered.  The job contacts listed on your claim certifications will be personally verified.



You may be disqualified from receiving UI benefits for the following reasons:

  • Voluntary Quit Without Good Cause. If you leave your job, you must show that you had compelling reasons and tried reasonable alternatives before quitting.
  • Discharge or Suspension for Misconduct Connected with Work. If you are terminated by your employer, the employer must show evidence of misconduct connected with work.
  • Failure to Accept Suitable Work without Good Cause. If you refuse a bona fide job offer of suitable work, you must show that you had compelling reasons to do so.
  • Not Able and/or Not Available for Work. If you are not physically able to work and the medical waiver does not apply or not available for work, you are not entitled to receive benefits until these conditions no longer exist.  If you are attached to an employer (partial or part-total claims), you may be denied benefits if you decline to accept all work offered by your employer or requested time off.
  • Labor Dispute. If there is a labor dispute in your workplace that directly affects you, payment of UI benefits will depend on whether or not there is evidence of work stoppage.
  • Other Unemployment Benefits. You may not collect UI benefits concurrently under more than one state or federal law.
  • Knowingly making false statements or omitting material facts to obtain benefits may       result in a two-year disqualification and repayment of all overpaid UI benefits plus a 15% penalty. Depending on the seriousness of the offense, you may be subject to CRIMINAL PROSECUTION.  If convicted, you can be fined up to $10,000 or imprisoned up to five years or both.

Appeal Rights


If you are denied benefits and disagree with the “Notice of Decision on Unemployment Insurance Claim,” you may request reconsideration and/or file an appeal to the Employment Security Appeals Referees’ Office (ESARO) within 10 calendar days after the determination or redetermination was mailed to you.  The appeal period may be extended to 30 calendar days for good cause by ESARO.  If you file an appeal or request reconsideration, do not stop filing your claim certifications.

File your appeal online at http://uiclaims.hawaii.gov or submit your appeal directly to ESARO.  You could also use the appeal form at your local claims office or write your own letter to submit to your local claims office.  Attach a copy of the decision(s) which you disagree with.  The address for ESARO is 830 Punchbowl Street, Room 429, Honolulu, HI  96813.


Filing Weekly or Bi-Weekly Claim Certifications


How Do I File My Weekly or Bi-Weekly Claim Certifications?

File your weekly or bi-weekly claim certifications online at http://uiclaims.hawaii.gov.  If you do not have Internet connection, go to your local claims office to use the computer kiosks or visit any public library and request to use their Internet computers to access the UI claims filing Web site.

What Weekending Date(s) Do I File For?

Unless otherwise specified, a “week” means a calendar week that starts on Sunday and ends on Saturday.  A week claimed is referred to by the week ending date or the Saturday of that week.

Once you file a new claim or reactivate an unexpired claim, you must certify weekly or biweekly to request UI payments.  Your confirmation page or e-mail confirmation will have a link to download your weekly/biweekly filing schedule.  Check the “Claim Inquiry” feature or “My Claim Status” to verify your prior claim certification(s) and when the claim certification(s) are due.  Record your claim certifications filed and payments on a calendar.

Note:  If you stop filing claims for two or more consecutive weeks, you must reactivate your claim to resume filing (exception:  partial claims).  Only claims filed after the reactivation are properly filed so any prior weeks may be denied. (See Additional Claim or Reopened Claim.)

When Do I File?

For weekly filing, you certify for the past Sunday to Saturday period.  The claim must be filed within seven days from the end of the certification period or benefits may be denied for late filing.

Example A:  You are filing for the one week period ending on Saturday, 8/23 (week began on Sunday, 8/17).  You have seven days, 8/24 through 8/30 (shown in gray) to timely file your claim certification.

weekly filing example



When filing biweekly, you are certifying for the prior two weeks that started on Sunday in the first week and ends on Saturday in the second week.  The claim must be filed within seven days from the end of the two week period or benefits may be denied for late filing.

Example B:  You are filing for the two-week period from Sunday, 8/10 thru Saturday, 8/23.  You have seven days, 8/24 through 8/30 (shown in gray) to timely file your bi-weekly claim certification.

biweekly filing example



When you file for a bi-weekly period, you must file for each week separately.  You should start with the first week, answer all questions relating to the first week, and submit.  Continue the same process for the second week.  You must file for both the first week and the second week to get paid for two weeks.

How Soon Can I Expect My First Check?

 You can receive your first check in about three weeks after you file your new claim if claim certifications are filed timely, all eligibility requirements are met, and no disqualification is in effect.  Conversely, any situations that raise conflicts with the law will delay payment pending a fact-finding investigation.  If your claim is denied, you will not be paid.

Week                                                              Action

1st Week                                                     New claim application filed.

2nd Week                                                   Certify for the 1st week – the waiting period.  No benefits will be paid for the waiting period week.

3rd Week                                                    Certify for the 2nd week.  If there are no issues, receive a check for the second week.

What If I Leave the State?

If you go out-of-state to look for work, you can file courtesy claim certifications online at http://uiclaims.hawaii.gov for two consecutive weeks.  When the online filing system asks you to share your location, respond immediately as benefits may be delayed or denied for improper filing.  Transfer your claim if you are permanently relocating or staying more than two weeks. (See Liable Interstate Benefits.)  NOTE:  filing from a foreign country or leaving the state for other personal reasons will raise an issue which must be investigated.

 What If I Return to Work?

 As soon as you are back to work, report your employment, including hours worked and gross earnings for the week (even if not yet paid) on your next claim certification.  If you earn less than your WBA during the week that you return to work (provided you did not work full-time hours), UI payment will be your WBA minus your gross earnings that is more than $150.  A fraud determination can be made if you do not report gross earnings from work in the same week that you collect UI benefits.



Additional Claim or Reopened Claim


If you stopped filing claim certifications because you returned to work and were separated within your unexpired benefit year, file an additional claim to reestablish your eligibility for benefits.  You must also file an additional claim if you have a partial or part-total claim and become separated from that employer.  Reopen your claim if you stop filing claim certifications for two or more consecutive weeks for reasons other than employment.  To file an additional or reopen a claim, go to http:/ui/claims.hawaii.gov and login as a claimant.  Select “Reactivate Claim” from the menu or task list.  An additional or reopened claim is reactivated effective from the week in which it is filed and any weeks filed prior to the reactivation may be denied.

Partial Claims


If you are still attached to your regular employer, worked less than your full-time hours, and earned less than your weekly benefit amount during a week, you may be eligible for partial unemployment benefits which can be backdated up to 28 calendar days to a week of less than full-time employment.

After filing your application, Form UC-348, “Verification of Partial Unemployment Status,” will be mailed to your employer.  The employer must verify that you have a definite return to work date, is maintaining your medical insurance plan or sick leave/vacation credits or you will be scheduled to work reduced hours each week due to lack of full time work to qualify for partial unemployment status.  If your employer does not respond within 5 working days or does not confirm your partial unemployment status, you will be required to change your status, register for work and begin making work search contacts.

You must accept all work offered by the employer and file your weekly claim certifications online, for periods of no work or less than full-time work, within 28 days from the week ending date.  In addition to filing weekly claim certifications, your employer must report your hours and earnings, employment status, and availability for work offered by going online to https://uiclaims.hawaii.gov.

Part-total Claims


If you are working on-call, part-time or on an intermittent basis while seeking full-time work, you may be eligible for part-total unemployment benefits.  You must be registered for work (WDD or a referring union), be able and available for work, and make work search contacts for each week you claim benefits.

You file claim certifications on a weekly and/or biweekly basis which are due within seven calendar days (See Filing Weekly or Bi-Weekly Claim Certifications).  You must report your hours and gross earnings for each week you claim benefits even if you have not been paid.  In addition to filing your claim certifications, your employer must report your hours and earnings, employment status, and availability for work each week by going online to http://uiclaims.hawaii.gov.

Payment of Benefits


Are Earnings From Employment Deducted From My UI Benefits?

Yes.  Gross earnings (before taxes) from all employment, including part-time, intermittent, or on-call that do not exceed your UI WBA are deductible from your UI benefits.  You and your employer are responsible for correctly reporting your gross earnings for each week that you certify for benefits even if you have not yet been paid.  The first $150 in wages is disregarded and will not affect your UI payment.

Example A:       UI WBA = $400.  Gross earnings for the week = $250.  Only $100 is deductible    from $400 ($250 – $150 earnings disregard = $100).

Your UI benefit payment = $300 benefits + $250 earnings = total weekly income of $550.

Example B:       UI WBA = $400.  Earnings from working 25 hours for the week = $450.  Since your earnings exceed the UI WBA, you are considered not unemployed and ineligible for UI benefits.

Are UI Benefits Taxable?

Yes.  You may elect to withhold 10% for federal taxes and 5% for Hawaii state taxes from your UI benefits.  To request withholdings of Federal and/or State taxes, go to: https://uiclaims.hawaii.gov.  Login to your online account and under “My Account” click on “Tax Withholdings” and follow the prompts.

Form 1099-G is mailed every January showing the total benefits paid and any federal or state income taxes withheld in the previous calendar year.  Also, as no adjustments are made for repayments of overpaid benefits, you need to keep your receipts of the repayment for your tax returns. Make any address change(s) on your UI online account to receive your Form 1099-G.
Can Child Support be Deducted From UI?

Yes.  The Child Support Enforcement Agency (CSEA) enforces child support obligations and can intercept UI benefits.  The amount deducted is based on an order or orders for income withholding.  The deductions may be limited to the maximum allowable under federal law.

For questions regarding the payment of child support, call CSEA:

Oahu………………………………………………………………………….. 692-8265

Neighbor Island and Out-of-State ………………… (toll-free) 1-888-317-9081


Liable Interstate Benefits


Hawaii may pay your UI benefits even if you relocate to another state (including Puerto Rico, Canada, Virgin Islands, or Washington D.C.).  Statutory requirements and responsibilities apply similarly to in-state and out-of-state claimants alike.  To apply online, go to http://uiclaims.hawaii.gov and login as a claimant.  For new claims, select “File an Initial Claim” from the menu or task list.  If you have an existing Hawaii claim before moving, report your address change first by selecting address change from the menu.  Then return to the main menu and select reactivation and complete the process.  If you have questions regarding your interstate claim, contact the Hawaii Liable Interstate Unit at (808) 586-8970 or e-mail [email protected].


Federal Unemployment Benefits


Unemployment Compensation for Federal Employees (UCFE).  Civilian employees for the federal government will base their UI claim on federal wages as reported on Standard Form (SF) 8 and SF 50.  In general, the location of your last duty station in federal civilian service determines the statutory requirements of the claim.  To apply online go to http://uiclaims.hawaii.gov and login as a claimant.

Unemployment Compensation for Ex-Service members (UCX).  Claims for ex-military service members depend on the character of service and completion of the first full term of service.  If you were released before completing your first full term of active service, you may still be eligible if the narrative reason for separation is on the acceptable list provided by the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD). Effective 11/17/91, active duty for a continuous period of 90 days or more in a reserve status is usable for UCX purposes.  However, the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2016 increased the requirement to 180-days of continuous service for those individuals who began service on or after November 25, 2015.  As an ex-service member, you may file your claim in any state (including Puerto Rico, Canada, Virgin Islands, or Washington D.C.).  Your state of residence when you file your initial claim not your duty station determines which state pays your UI benefits.

When you file your initial claim application online, you must submit your Member 4, Form DD-214 Report of Transfer or Discharge, to your local claims office. If you don’t have a copy of your Form DD-214, request a copy online at www.archives.gov/veterans/military-service-records/.



The UI Division is committed to fair and equal treatment to all individuals without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, age, national origin, ancestry, disability, marital status, or arrest/court record.  If you feel that you have not been treated equitably in the UI process, contact the local claims office manager.  If you feel your job separation was due to discrimination, you may file a complaint with the Hawaii Civil Rights Commission (HCRC) in addition to filing your UI claim.  For contact information for HCRC, go to http://labor.hawaii.gov/hcrc/contact/.


Unemployment Insurance Claims Offices   http://labor.hawaii.gov/ui
Oahu Claims Office, 830 Punchbowl Street, Room 110, Honolulu, HI  96813-5080

Ph:(808) 586-8970, Fax:(808) 586-8980

E-mail:   [email protected]

Hilo Claims Office, 1990 Kinoole Street, Room 101, Hilo, HI  96720-5293

Ph:  (808) 974-4086, Fax:  (808) 974-4085

E-mail:  [email protected]

Kona Claims Office, Ashikawa Building, 81-990 Halekii Street, Room 2090, P.O. Box 167, Kealakekua,               HI  96750-0167

Ph:  (808) 322-4822, Fax:  (808) 322-4828

E-mail:  [email protected]

Maui Claims Office, 54 South High Street, Room 201, Wailuku, HI  96793-2198

Ph:  (808) 984-8400, Fax:  (808) 984-8444

E-mail:  [email protected]

Kauai Claims Office, 4370 Kukui Grove Street, Suite 3-214, Lihue, HI  96766

Ph:  (808) 274-3043, Fax:  (808) 274-3046

E-mail:  [email protected]

Liable Interstate Unit, 830 Punchbowl Street, Room 110, Honolulu, HI  96813-5080

Ph:  (808) 586-8970, Fax:  (808) 586-8980

E-mail:  [email protected]

 Employment Security Appeals Referees’ Office   830 Punchbowl Street, Room 429

Honolulu, HI  96813-5080

Ph:  (808) 586-8930, Fax:  (808) 586-8944

E-mail:  [email protected]

American Job Center – Oʻahu

  • Dillingham Plaza
    1505 Dillingham Blvd., Rm. 110
    Honolulu, HI 96817
    Telephone: 768-5700

American Job Center – Maui

  • Maui
    2064 Wells St., Ste. 108
    Wailuku, HI 96793
    Telephone: 984-2091
  • Molokaʻi (limited services)
    55 Makaena Pl., Rm. 4
    Kaunakakai, HI 96748
    Telephone: 553-1755
  • Lānaʻi
    Telephone: (808)984-2091

American Job Center – Hawaiʻi Island

  • Hilo
    427 Kilauea Avenue
    Hilo, HI 96720
    Telephone: 935-6527

American Job Center –  Kaua’i

  • Līhuʻe
    4444 Rice St. #302
    Līhuʻe, HI  96766
    Telephone: 274-3056
    Fax: 274-3059