How To File For Hawaii Unemployment

This page provides information on how to file for unemployment in Hawaii. If you lost your job or your hours were reduced at no fault of your own, you may qualify to receive unemployment benefits in your state. Review the information below, if you still have questions or issues about these benefits, then we suggest to contact your local Hawaii Unemployment Department for assistance. It is important that you file your new claim right away because Hawaii unemployment insurance are not retroactive.

Apply for Hawaii unemployment benefits

You can apply online. To file online, go to You must follow all instructions on the confirmation page at the end. The hours you can apply are listed below, times are in Hawaii Standard Time.

Monday - Friday 6:30am to 11pm
Saturday, Sunday & Holidays 9am to 11pm

If you require assistance contact your nearest local office. You must present photo identification. Click here for the addresses of the unemployment offices. Your claim begins from the Sunday of the week in which you apply. If you delay and do not apply immediately, you will not receive credit for past weeks. Your claim will start only from the week in which you file. Below is a list of information you need when applying for Hawaii unemployment benefits.

  • Your social security number
  • If you are not a US citizen, you need your alien registration number
  • Your employment information for the past 18 months, including employer's name, address, zip-code, phone number, dates of employment, and reason for separation
  • If you were separated from active duty military, you need your DD-214 member 4 copy. Do not delay your filing if you do not have your DD-214. You can provide this documentation at a later date. If you don't have a copy of your Form DD-214, request a copy online at
  • If you were in federal employment, you need your SF8 or SF50 or pay-stubs
  • Your bank account number and your bank's routing number. Use your bank routing number and account information on your personal check. To deposit to a savings account, contact your financial institution to obtain the correct routing and account information

Who qualifies for Hawaii unemployment insurance

To establish a valid unemployment claim, you must meet the following two monetary qualifications:

  • You must have been paid wages in two or more calendar quarters of your base period
  • You must also have been paid wages totaling 26 times your weekly benefit amount in your base period
Base Period

The standard base period is the first 4 of the last 5 completed calendar quarters immediately preceding the effective date of your claim. The effective date of your claim is the Sunday of the week in which you first apply. If you do not qualify using the standard base period, an alternate based period can be used. The alternate base period is the last 4 completed calendar quarters.

If you worked in other states besides Hawaii (including the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, or the Virgin Islands) in the base period of your claim, you may be able to combine the wages to meet the necessary monetary qualifications or to increase your weekly benefit amount.

Amount of benefits I can receive

Your weekly benefit amount is calculated by dividing the wages in the highest quarter of your base period by 21. However, your weekly benefit amount (WBA) cannot be more than the maximum weekly benefit amount, which is determined each year by law. Click here to view the maximum weekly benefit amount. The minimum weekly benefit amount is set by law at $5 a week. Your claim is good for one year from the effective date of the claim; however, you can be paid for only 26 weeks of total unemployment during the one-year period that your claim is effective.

The benefit estimator can be used as a quick reference for determining your approximate potential benefit amount. This is only an estimate based on information you are providing. It may differ from your actual benefit amount. Click here to go to the benefit estimator.

Receiving benefits payment

You must submit your weekly or bi-weekly claim certifications on time and meet all eligibility requirements to be paid. The weekly claim certifications are due within 7 days after the week ending date. The bi-weekly claim certifications are due within 7 days after the second week ending date. If you are on a partial or part-total claim status, your employer must submit the "Weekly Report of Low Earnings" via Electronic Low Earnings Reporting and Monitoring (ELERM) online. Payment is by Direct Deposit. To file your claim certifications online go to

Signing up for direct deposit

You must have an online UI account in order to enroll in direct deposit. Create a new account or access your existing account by going to and completing the online application.

To ensure the account number and financial institution's routing number are correct, it is recommended you utilize the bank routing number and account information on your personal check. If you wish to have benefits deposited to a savings account, contact your financial institution to obtain the correct routing and account information. Your Direct Deposit information only needs to be submitted once per claim, unless your bank information changes.

Hawaii unemployment eligibility requirements

In addition to having been paid sufficient wages to establish a valid claim, you must meet the following eligibility requirements before you can be paid unemployment insurance benefits:

  • You must be either totally unemployed, or working less than your normal hours and earning less than your weekly benefit amount.
  • You must be registered for work within seven calendar days after applying for unemployment benefits by posting your resume online at, the internet based job matching system used by the Workforce Development Division. If you are a member of a labor union with a hiring hall, you must submit Verification of Registration for Work (UC-226) from your union to verify you are in good standing and referable to work through your union. If you cannot be referred by your union, you must register for work in HireNetHawaii.
  • You must be physically able to work and available for work without any major restrictions such as, but not limited to, no transportation, lack of childcare, attendance at school which affects your availability for work, or other personal circumstances. If you become physically unable to work due to injury or illness after you apply for unemployment, you may still be eligible under the medical waiver section of the law, if your illness or injury is evidenced by a doctor's certificate, you are on active claim status and registered to work, and do not refuse any suitable work because of the injury or illness.
  • You must serve a waiting period, normally the first week you are unemployed after you file your claim, meet all eligibility requirements, and are not otherwise disqualified.
  • You must file a continued claim for each week that you wish to receive benefits and the continued claim must be filed on time (within 7 days after the period being claimed, or within 14 days with good cause for late filing).
  • You must be actively seeking work and make at least three job contacts each week which may include the following: contacting employers, checking resources at employment offices, checking job listings in HireNetHawaii (the state's internet based job matching system), attending job fairs or employment workshops. You must keep a record of all your work search contacts and submit it when requested by your local claims office.
  • You are not a teacher or other educational employee filing during a school break with reasonable assurance to return to work after the break.
  • You are not a professional athlete filing between sports seasons.
  • You are not an illegal alien.
  • Retirement income from a pension plan that was financed 100% by a base period employer is deductible from your weekly benefit amount. Retirement income is NOT deductible if you contributed any amount to the pension plan. There is no deduction for social security or railroad retirement benefits. If you are receiving retirement income that must be deducted from your weekly benefit amount, your local claims office will send you a determination notice explaining the amount deductible.

You will not be paid if you are disqualified for any of the following reasons:

  • You voluntarily quit your job without good cause
  • You were discharged for misconduct connected with your work
  • You refused a referral or an offer of suitable work without good cause
  • You are unemployed because of a work stoppage at your establishment due to a labor dispute
  • You are receiving or seeking other unemployment insurance benefits
  • You committed fraud to collect unemployment insurance benefits

File an appeal

If you received a notice denying you unemployment insurance benefits, you can either request reconsideration or an appeal. Requests for reconsideration and appeals can be mailed to your local claims office. Requests for appeals can also be mailed directly to the Employment Security Appeals Referee Office (ESARO) or appeal online at For a list of the local claims offices click here. For ESARO contact information click here.

Your request must be in writing, either on a department form or by letter, and filed within 10 calendar days after the date the notice was mailed to you. If your appeal is filed late but within 30 calendar days, the appeals referee may still allow the appeal if good cause is shown.

If you request reconsideration, the Unemployment Insurance Division will decide whether the decision can be reversed; if it cannot, then the request may be forwarded as an appeal to the ESARO or a re-determination may be issued to you affirming the original determination. You have the right to appeal a re-determination affirming the original determination.

The ESARO, which is independent from the UI Division, will schedule a hearing and notify you and other interested parties (such as your former employer on a voluntary quit or discharge issue) of the date and time of the hearing.

If the appeals referee affirms the UI Division's decision denying you unemployment insurance benefits, your next recourse is to file for judicial review by the Hawaii Circuit Court.