How To File For Vermont Unemployment

This page provides information on how to file for unemployment in Vermont. 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 Vermont Unemployment Department for assistance. It is important that you file your new claim right away because Vermont unemployment insurance are not retroactive.

Computing Weekly Benefit Amount

If an unemployed worker is monetarily eligible for benefits, the weekly benefit amount is computed by dividing the total wages paid in the two highest quarters in the worker's base period by 45. The amount of weekly benefits is capped each year, for the period beginning July 1st through June 30th of the following year.

Duration of Benefits

The maximum number of weeks an individual can receive in a benefit year is 26 times the WBA. All new benefit years established will be subject to a variable duration that will be impacted by two factors.

  • Maximum duration will be 46% of the base period wages - or - 26 times the WBA, which ever amount is less
  • Findings of misconduct will result in maximum duration not exceeding 23 full weeks
Base Periods

Determining an unemployed worker's eligibility for benefits is a multi-step process. First, the worker must have earned a sufficient amount of wages during his or her "base period" to be considered "monetarily" eligible. A "base period" is four successive calendar quarters that fall within the 18 month period prior to establishing a new benefit year. There are four methods for determining eligibility.

Method One

Any time a worker becomes monetarily eligible under method one, (s)he must be paid under this method, which uses all wages paid during the first four of the last five completed calendar quarters immediately preceding the date the worker calls to file his or her claim for benefits.

To be monetarily eligible for benefits under "monetary method one," the worker must have been paid at least the current minimum quarter amount during one of those calendar quarters. This minimum amount can change each year in July if the minimum wage per hour increases. The worker must also have been paid wages equal to at least 40% of highest quarter in the remaining three calendar quarters of the base period.

Method Two

If an unemployed worker is not monetarily eligible under monetary method one, the department will use the last four completed calendar quarters preceding the effective date of the claim as the base period. The worker must have been paid at least the current minimum quarter amount in one of the four calendar quarters and the worker must also have been paid wages equal to at least 40% of highest quarter in the remaining three calendar quarters of the base period.

Method Three

If the unemployed worker is not monetarily eligible under monetary method two, the department will use the last three completed calendar quarters and wages paid in the current quarter up to the effective date of the claim as the base period. The worker must have been paid at least the current minimum quarter amount in one of the four calendar quarters.

Since the wage reports for the last completed and current calendar quarters (used under the monetary methods two and three) will not yet have been received, a special request for these quarter's wages will be sent to all employers who furnished employment to the individual during these quarters. The worker must also meet the other two monetary requirements to become monetarily eligible.

Method Four

This method is only available to individuals who have been receiving Workers Compensation benefits because of temporary total disability. A former Workers Compensation recipient will be entitled to receive unemployment insurance benefits, which would have been available at the time of separation from employment, as long as the worker, at the time of filing:

  • Is not monetarily eligible under other monetary methods
  • Has filed a claim within six months after the termination of the period of temporary total disability
  • Is otherwise eligible for unemployment insurance and
  • Has met the minimum quarterly qualifier, along with meeting the 40% rule previously described

Filing a new Vermont unemployment claim

If you become unemployed and have worked in Vermont anytime in the past 18 months, you may be eligible to receive unemployment insurance. Once you become totally or partially unemployed, the time to establish a new claim is during the first week you work less than 35 hours. An unemployment compensation claim becomes effective when filed, so if you choose to wait to file your claim, then you may not go back to the date you first became unemployed. A Customer Service Representative is available to assist you with this process. A list of required information needed when you call is provided for your convenience. Currently the Claims Center hours are:

  • Monday - Thursday 8:30am to 4pm
  • Friday 9am to 4pm
  • Call Toll-Free: 877-214-3330

Persons with hearing impairment or TTY users may file their claim by calling the department directly. To reach a TTY Customer Service Representative call: 1-800-650-4152. After you have established your unemployment claim, you will be required to certify that you have read and understand your Responsibilities and Rights in the Claimant Handbook.

To receive an unemployment check, it will be necessary for you to file weekly claims. Your Responsibilities and Rights, other important information and regulations is available in our Claimant Handbook, which will be mailed to you after establishing your unemployment claim.

Information needed when applying for unemployment

The following information will be required when you establish your unemployment claim for the first time. Having this information readily available when you call will help speed up the claims filing process.

  • Social Security Number
  • Mailing and Home Addresses
  • Telephone Number (including area code)
  • Alien Registration Number (if not a US citizen)
  • Amount and duration of any separation pay you may receive (vacation pay, severance pay, etc)
  • Return to work date (if you expect to be recalled to your job)
  • Valid Driver's License Number (or state issued ID Number, if applicable)
  • Banking information for Direct Deposit of your unemployment check
  • Military Form DD-214, Member 4 Copy (if you were in the military in the past 18 months)
  • Form SF-8 (if you worked for the Federal Government during the past 18 months and received one)

For each employer that you worked for in the past 18 months, have the following information available when you call:

  • Complete name and address of each employer (including zip code) you worked for
  • Payroll address (if different from employer address)
  • Employer telephone number (including area code)
  • Beginning and ending dates of employment
  • Reason for separation

Filing a weekly unemployment claim

After you have established your unemployment claim, you must certify that you are fully or partially unemployed each week to receive an unemployment payment. This is done by filing weekly claims over the internet , telephone, or through the mail. Your eligibility to receive unemployment compensation is determined every week you file a claim for benefits. To determine your eligibility, they ask eight questions:

  • During the week ending ______ were you able to work and available for work?
  • Did you refuse an offer of work or referral to a job?
  • Did you quit a job during the week ending ______?
  • Were you fired from a job during the week ending ______ ?
  • Did you receive a back pay award or settlement?
  • Did you receive Workers’ Compensation, vacation pay, or wages in lieu of notice?
  • Did you look for work as directed during the week ending ______ ?
  • Did you perform any work or earn any wages?

Depending on how you answer these questions, other questions may also be asked. Please answer these questions accurately. A misstatement of fact made in connection with filing a claim for unemployment benefits will result in liability to repay the benefits received to the Department.

In addition to the liability to repay the benefits, the Department may impose "penalty weeks." If a claimant is assessed penalty weeks, that claimant will not be paid for future claims for benefits UNTIL he or she has "offset" the number of penalty weeks by filing the same number of weekly claims as penalty weeks. Unemployment benefits will not be paid for claims, which are filed to "offset" penalty weeks.

Time frames for Filing Your Weekly Claim

Unemployment compensation benefits are paid for the seven-day period, which begins on Sunday and ends on Saturday. The earliest you can file a Weekly Continued Claim for benefits is 12:01am on the Sunday following the week for which you are filing a claim. The latest you can file a claim for a week is the following Friday before 4:30pm.

If you do not file your Weekly Continued Claim by telephone or Internet by 4:30pm on the Friday following the week being claimed, you must contact the Claimant Assistance Line toll-free at 877-214-3332. If you stopped filing for unemployment benefits for any reason or missed filing a weekly claim, you must reopen your claim on-line or call the toll-free Initial Claims line at 877-214-3330 before you can resume filing weekly claims.

What to Do if You Make a Mistake

If you have filed either by telephone or via the Internet and you discover you have made a mistake on your response to any question for your Weekly Claim, the error can be corrected as long as you re-file the claim on the same day before 4:30pm. If you discover you have made an error on a day other than the day you filed your original weekly claim, or if your error is on a claim filed through the mail, you must call the toll-free Claimant Assistance Line at 1-877-214-3332 to correct the error.

Keep Filing Claims If You Have Filed an Appeal

If you file an appeal of a determination or decision that was not in your favor, continue to file a claim for benefits for each week that you remain unemployed until a decision on your appeal has been made. Filing each week ensures that you will be paid if your appeal is successful. If you don't file claims for benefits while your appeal is pending, you won't be paid for the weeks during which you failed to file a claim, even if your appeal is successful.

Filing Claims by Internet

Filing your weekly claims over the Internet is easy, fast, and saves you the cost of a stamp. The first time you use the UI Weekly Internet Claims system, you will be required to establish your Personal Identification Number (PIN). It is your responsibility to make sure that no one else, including family members, knows your Social Security Number and/or PIN number.

If you give your SSN and/or PIN to another individual, and as a result they make a payment that should not have been made, you will be required to repay the full amount of benefits that were improperly paid. You may also have "penalty" weeks assessed against you. To file your Weekly Continued Claims via the Internet, simply select UI Weekly Claims Internet and follow the prompts. Remember, you're always filing for the week, which ended on the previous Saturday.

Once you complete and submit the Internet claim form, the screen will display general information about your weekly benefit payment amount and the maximum amount of benefits you may receive in your benefit year. If you do not complete the claim form your claim will not be processed.

Filing Claims by Mail

Mailing your claims is the slowest method of filing weekly claims. If you elect to choose this method of filing, you would mail your claim to the following address:

Vermont Department of Labor
ATTN: Mail Claims
PO Box 189
Montpelier, VT 05601-0189

Filing Claims by Telephone

After filing your first claim for unemployment benefits, you may file your weekly claims for benefits by calling the toll free Weekly Claims Line at 800-983-2300 and selecting Option #1. It's your responsibility to make sure that no one else, including family members, knows your Social Security Number and/or PIN number.

If you give your SSN and/or PIN to another individual, and as a result they make a payment that should not have been made, you will be required to repay the full amount of benefits that were improperly paid. You may also have "penalty" weeks assessed against you.

Next, you will be asked eight questions concerning the week of unemployment for which you are filing your claim for benefits. Remember, you are always filing for the week, which ended on the previous Saturday. Once you have answered the questions, and you hear the words "thank you for using the weekly claim and information line, good-bye" your claim has been accepted. If you hang up prior to the system telling you "good-bye" your claim will not be processed.

File an appeal

The Department makes a number of formal, written determinations and decisions that may affect your entitlement to benefits and/or the amount of benefits that are payable. If you disagree with a determination or decision, you have the right to file an appeal. Continue to file your weekly claims while you're waiting for an Administrative Law Judge or the Employment Security Board to decide your appeal. Detailed information about the Unemployment Insurance Appeals process follows.

Each determination or decision explains your right to appeal, and, how and when to file it. An appeal must be in writing, and submitted to the department within the time frame specified in the determination or decision, which is 30 days from the date of the determination or decision, unless otherwise noted. Your appeal should include:

  • Your name
  • Current mailing address
  • Last four digits of your Social Security Number
  • The date of the determination you are appealing
  • A brief explanation of the issue(s) and why you are appealing

You may submit your written appeal by US mail to:

Appeals, Department of Labor
P.O. Box 488
Montpelier, Vermont 05601-0488

By e-mail to: [email protected]

By fax to: 802-828-4289

Or in person to:

The Vermont Department of Labor
5 Green Mountain Drive
Montpelier, Vermont

Unemployment benefit appeals process

Appeals of unemployment benefits generally begin with a review of a determination made by Department staff. Most appeals involve a question of eligibility on a claim for benefits made by an unemployment claimant.

In other cases Department staff, make determinations that affect an employer's liability to pay unemployment taxes, either as a new, or successor employer, and/or the requirement to provide unemployment coverage to an individual or individuals the employer may have considered to be "independent contractors."

Participation in the appeals process is the best way to ensure that your interests are protected. Administrative law judges make decisions based on the information presented during the hearing. If only one party participates, the law judge will likely have no option but to rule in favor of the party that participates. There are three levels or steps in the appeal process.

  • Appeal to an administrative law judge
  • Appeal to the Employment Security Board
  • Appeal to Vermont Supreme Court

There are specific time limits in order to be considered timely for the filing of an appeal in each of the above steps. The time limits are outlined in writing at the end of the determination or decision.