To reduce the spread of COVID-19, many businesses are temporarily closed or have been forced to lay off workers. If you have been affected by reduced work hours, furlough, or layoff, you may be eligible for unemployment benefits. Here are some of the commonly asked questions and answers to help you understand the unemployment benefits and process.
You must apply for UI directly to the HI Department of Labor. The State is responsible for evaluating your eligibility, processing your claim, determining your benefit amount and distributing your benefits. Proservice represents your employer and will help with reports that employers are required to provide to the State. You, as the employee, are responsible for submitting your own weekly/biweekly claim certification as Proservice cannot assist with that requirement.
If you have contacted our ProService Unemployment Team, please know that we are working hard to respond to all requests as quickly as possible. Thank you in advance for your patience and understanding as we are experiencing an unprecedented number of requests. You can expect to receive a response to emails within 24-48 hours and to voicemails in 48+ hours. Please note that requests are answered in the order they are received, so sending multiple requests will not speed up the response time. Mahalo!
If your employer offer you to return to work for the same wages/salary and the same number of hours and you refuse that offer, you may lose your unemployment benefits. Additionally, be aware that the unemployment benefits under the CARES Act are not permanent or long-term. Refusal to return-to-work may be considered an unexcused absence. If you cannot work your regular schedule or the requested hours for any reason, you should talk to your employer about your options.
These are the most common reasons your claim may have been denied. If any of these reasons apply to your claim and you believe you made an error on your application, please contact the State to correct it:
Yes! You need to create a login on the UI Website; this is a separate process from submitting your application and will give you access to your online account and dashboard; for step-by-step instructions on how to create your online account please click here.
You will receive an email from the state with a temporary password. Once you log in and create your own permanent password, you have completed the process.
Yes, if you do not create your online account then you will not be able to file your weekly certifications and you will therefore not receive any benefits.
After everything has been approved, your first payment can take up to a month to be processed. You should receive subsequent payments 3-5 business days after you update your weekly certification.
If you are still waiting for your first benefits check, you can check the status of your claim here.
You can check the status of your weekly claims by logging into your online account and looking at your dashboard.
Email [email protected] with a screenshot of your dashboard and any detail which may assist us with guiding you through your next steps with the State.
Yes, you can backdate to the beginning of your claim year. You will need to submit a certification for each week you are claiming benefits.
You can file your certification on Sunday for the previous week; UI Weeks start on Sunday and end on Saturday.
Unfortunately you will not receive payment for any week that you have not completed your weekly certification for. Please continue to try to file your certifications and email the State at the following email address to have them backdate your claim: [email protected] This email address is for those who would like to have their claim backdated. The backdate will be for their first week of less than full employment due to COVID-19. Individuals are to submit their full name, last four digits of their Social Security Number, telephone number (including area code), and the week that they would like their claim backdated to.
Weekly certifications have to be completed by the individual claimant on their UI portal; no one else can enter this information on your behalf.
The State department of labor unemployment office will determine eligibility. Generally, you may be eligible for unemployment benefits if you are still considered employed but there are no hours or reduced hours because there is little or no work to do, or if you have been laid off and are no longer an employee. The main factors for eligibility include:
Yes, you may be eligible for UI since you are no longer receiving pay from your employer.
No, since you are still receiving pay from your employer.
Yes, you may be eligible for UI depending on how much you are still being paid and how many hours you are still working.
No, since you are receiving pay (as sick/vacation pay) and are still employed.
No, you are still being paid so you are not considered “unemployed.”
Yes, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security(CARES) Act expanded UI coverage to include independent contractors and self-employed individuals.
Yes, under the CARES Act if you quit your job to care for a family member sick with COVID-19 then you are eligible for UI.
Yes, the expanded coverage under the CARES Act includes people who are at home caring for kids due school and daycare closure.
Yes, if you used up all your UI after February 2, 2020 then you will receive 13 additional weeks of benefits under the CARES Act.
The unemployment office reviews the past 5 quarters of work history, so even if you haven’t been with your current employer that long your prior employment can be counted. They also consider why you left your previous jobs to see if those reasons qualify or disqualify you from receiving benefits. For State UI benefits, you must have worked at least 2 of the 4 Quarter “base periods” (either the first four quarters of the last five calendar quarters; or an “alternate” base period of the last four completed quarters). For federal UI benefits, the CARES Act has waived the minimum work history requirement.
Yes, employees receiving severance may still apply for unemployment benefits. You may need to provide the severance information when you apply for unemployment benefits.
If people are unable to work directly because of COVID-19 and they are not ordinarily eligible for State UI benefits may be eligible to receive the PUA Benefit. People may qualify for the PUA Benefit if they meet one or more of the following requirements:
No, workers are not eligible for PUA if they can telework with pay.
No, workers are not eligible for PUA if they are receiving paid sick days or paid leave.
The State unemployment office will determine the type of benefits you receive and your benefit amount. Generally, you will likely be eligible for partial unemployment benefits if you are still considered employed but there are no hours or reduced hours because there is little or no work to do. Any employee who is unable to work because of a COVID-19 related reason (diagnosis, exposure, self-quarantine, government order, workplace closed) may qualify for unemployment benefits. If you have been laid off and are no longer an employee, you may be eligible for full unemployment benefits. Each case is unique.
The 2020 weekly benefit amount for partial unemployment claims ranges between $5.00 – $648.00. The specific benefit amount you will receive depends on your previous employment and salary history for the past 18 months, any current income you are still earning, and any other benefits you still receive. You can use the Hawaii Unemployment Insurance Benefit Estimator as a quick reference for determining the approximate benefit amount from the State. This is only an estimate based on the information you provide. This estimate may differ from your actual benefit amount.
Under the new Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, individuals who qualify for unemployment benefits may be eligible to receive $600 per week through July 31st.
If you are eligible for the $600 CARES benefit, you will receive this benefit in addition to the unemployment amount you receive from the State. For example, you may receive up to $648 (State maximum UI benefit) and the $600 (CARES Act benefit) per week.
The additional CARES $600/week benefit is available through July 31st. CARES also extends State coverage by 13 more weeks, meaning an individual can receive unemployment benefits for up to 39 weeks.
You will need to have your name, social security number, valid email address, and employment history for the past 18 months, including names and addresses of your employers. You will also need to have your bank account information including bank name, routing number, account type, and account number. Unemployment payments in Hawaii are made via direct deposit.
No, the State is very strict and each employee must submit his or her own application for unemployment and weekly claim certifications.
For both public safety and increased efficiency, the State of Hawaii Unemployment Insurance Office is requiring all employees to submit their unemployment application online here.
*You can also watch this instructional video on how to file for unemployment. Please note: this video directs you to file a new claim using UI Online. We recommend you file using the web form instead of UI online as the web form takes less server space and is more accessible during high traffic time
There is no additional application process for the CARES $600/week benefit. If you applied for UI through the State, the $600/week benefit will be automatically distributed to you as well. Follow any directions the State gives you regarding the $600/week benefit. The State will release information about the timeframe for distributing CARES benefit funds as soon as it is available.
If you used a phone number or email not listed below, then the State UI office did not receive your message. Please reach out again using the correct contact information below. Since the State is experiencing a never before seen number of calls and emails, please be aware that it may take some time to get a response. Multiple calls/emails will not speed up the process, however, as requests are answered in the order they are received.
Please be sure to follow all instructions provided by the State. Make sure you also submit your resume as directed (see below). Once you submit your application and complete the resume submission, the State will contact your various employers and/or ProService to verify the information you provided in the claim. If there is missing information the State needs from you, the State will contact you directly. If your application is approved, the State will make the determination on the benefit amount. You find more information about your claim by logging into the unemployment website at Unemployment Insurance Claims.
The State provided several varying messages about this requirement. We strongly recommend you follow the directions given to you from the State when you submit your application. If you receive an email that instructs you to apply for jobs and you do not do so, your benefit amount may be delayed or denied. Again, since some claimants are receiving messages that they do need to apply for jobs and some are not, we strongly recommend you follow the specific instructions the State sends you.
You must be registered for work within seven calendar days after applying for unemployment benefits by posting your resume online in HireNet Hawaii, 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 HireNet Hawaii.
You must file a continued claim for each week that you wish to receive benefits and the continued claim must be filed on time.
You claim starts from the Sunday of the week you apply. If you do not apply immediately, you will not receive benefits for past weeks for which you would have been eligible.
The State of Hawaii has waived its one-week waiting period for claimants to receive their checks. HOWEVER, the State estimates that claims may take up a month to be paid considering the increased demand. If your payment is delayed, you will still be paid beginning with the effective date of your eligibility, as long as you submitted your application on time. If you submit your application late, there is no back-pay. Please note, you may receive separate checks for your State benefit and your CARES additional $600/week benefit.
A shortage of State UI funding will not impact whether or not you receive your State benefit amount. However, it will impact when you receive your benefit amount. Expect your benefit payments to be further delayed due to the State funding shortage. The funding shortage will NOT affect the federal benefit once is ready for distribution because that money is coming from a different source.
Taxes on unemployment Insurance benefits are not automatically taxed. You must request withholding at the time of registration.
The State makes the final determination for qualified claims. Common reasons for disqualification include:
If you receive a disqualification notice via phone, email, letter or screenshot and would like more information, you can email [email protected]. In your email, include:
You may still have access to your regular health insurance plan. Check with your employer to confirm if you can keep your existing plan.
If not, you may be eligible for COBRA or you may need to acquire health care insurance on your own. COBRA is the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act and includes the opportunity for a temporary extension of health coverage (called continuation coverage) in certain instances. If you are eligible for continued health coverage, you will receive this information in your Benefits term notice. Continued coverage under COBRA is not guaranteed and is not free of charge.
Unemployment recipients, or even those who are without work and do not have access to unemployment (like 1099 contractors), may apply for health insurance via HealthCare.gov and receive a subsidy to offset their costs. Coverage can be as little as $1 per month with the subsidies.
Within 60 days of the loss of your health care coverage, if you have not returned to work or found alternative employment, you should apply for health coverage through HealthCare.gov. It is preferable to do this at least 5 days before your current coverage ends. There is no waiting period for pre-existing health conditions and applicants cannot be declined if they apply within 60 days of their loss of coverage.
No, the FFCRA is a new federal law that went into effect on April 1, 2020. The FFCRA provides emergency sick leave and child care leave, related to COVID-19 and is not a form of unemployment insurance.
The State has set up a call center with two numbers to assist people who need to file for unemployment. The labor department is currently working on improving their current online claims filing process and does not allow walk-in and in-person requests.
The State unemployment office and website are experiencing a high volume of users attempting to file claims in the wake of the COVID-19 global pandemic. Therefore response time may be delayed and you may receive error messages and / or dropped connections. The State apologizes for any inconvenience and encourages you to try again later.
You will receive an email with your temporary password. You must go back to the site to finish the registration process by setting up your permanent password. Your temporary password will expire, so be sure to finish your registration right away. Once you have registered with a permanent password and completed the security questions, you will be able to submit your application (or claim) for unemployment benefits.
If you did not receive an email with your username and temporary password after submitting your registration, then your registration did not go through. You need to complete the registration process again. If you did receive an email with your temporary password and the password has expired, you need to complete the registration process again. The temporary password expires 24 hours after the email is sent.
When you file a claim using the PDF form, you should immediately receive a congratulations message. If you did not receive this, you need to file the claim again. You should also receive a confirmation email within two weeks of filing.
Please contact your local UI office if you made an error on your claim. You can make updates to your contact information by logging into your UI account.
If you need to backdate your claim, email [email protected]. Be aware that you can only backdate your claim to the first week of less than full employment. In your email, be sure to include: