5. How much will my unemployment check be?

You should receive 50% of your average weekly gross pay, based on wages earned in the two highest quarters in the prior year, up to the maximum (now $628 per week, adjusted annually). To calculate your actual UI go to www.mass.gov/dua, select “claimants” and “how your benefits are determined.” The amount may be increasing soon. Under the federal economic stimulus package that became law in February 2009, the state can be reimbursed by the federal government for paying unemployed claimants an extra $25 a week. These extra payments will be payable after the state enters into an agreement with the federal government and will last until June 30, 2010. You may also receive an allowance of $25 per dependent child (including children in your custody pending adoption) for whom you provide over 50% of the child’s support. Children can be up to 18 years old, 24 for full-time students, or any age if incapable of earning wages due to mental or physical disabilities. This dependency allowance is capped at 50% of your benefit rate (so if you are receiving $100 per week in UI and have three dependents, your allowance is capped at $50). You will have to serve a one week waiting period and you should start receiving checks within 3 to 4 weeks of your claim.