Eligibility for Unemployment in Rhode Island

Eligibility for unemployment in Rhode Island focuses on three aspects of your current work scenario. If you are asking yourself, “What are the requirements to get unemployment in RI?” it is crucial that you have sufficient eligible earnings, can show proof that you lost your former job through no fault of your own and are currently engaged in an active job search. Unemployment insurance (UI) is also known as “EDD” (Employment Development Department) insurance in some states, and it is intended to lend temporary aid to people who have unexpectedly lost wages. Unemployment insurance eligibility is not associated with any governmental assistance programs and is funded completely by employers.

What are the requirements to get unemployment in Rhode Island?

The beginning step to establishing eligibility for unemployment in Rhode Island is figuring out what is called your base year. As part of the RI qualifications for unemployment, a base year is categorized as the first four of the last five calendar quarters. A calendar quarter is a three-month block of time that separates the twelve months of the year into four units that will be used to track your income for the base year. Your unemployment insurance eligibility in Rhode Island depends on you having made $12,120 total gross wages during the course of your base year. Note that this figure will raise any time the state minimum wage does.

You may still meet qualifications for unemployment in Rhode Island without having earned that minimum base year sum if you meet several other income-related requirements. Who qualifies for unemployment includes individuals who meet the following requirements:

  • Have total base period earnings representing one and a half the amount of your highest calendar quarter.
  • Have earnings in at least one calendar quarter of your base period that were a minimum of $2,020.
  • Have total base period wages that were a minimum of $4,040.

Your eligibility for EDD can be determined even if you had a pre-existing unemployment compensation claim as long as you have returned to work since your former claim, and have earned a minimum of eighty times the Rhode Island hourly minimum wage. If you fail to qualify for unemployment benefits via the traditional base period measurement, Rhode Island will reevaluate you on an alternate base period model in which the last four completed calendar quarters before the submission of your claim are utilized to check for qualifying wages.

How do I maintain eligibility for unemployment in Rhode Island?

In any evaluation of how to qualify for unemployment in Rhode Island, there must be the same emphasis on remaining qualified throughout the natural course of your claim, which can last up to twenty-six weeks. To continue successfully meeting qualifications for unemployment, making weekly certifications of eligibility by phone or internet to Rhode Island’s unemployment claim system, called Teleserve, is mandatory. Before you can begin certifying each week, you must first use Teleserve to generate a unique PIN number. Any time you need access to your Rhode Island unemployment claim information and when you claim benefits each week, this PIN will function as your password. You must answer all certification questions fully and truthfully. Eligibility for unemployment will also require you to serve out the first official week of as an unpaid waiting week. Your unemployment eligibility waiting week “credit,” which is simply the completion of the unpaid first week, must be recorded before paid unemployment benefits can begin. To continue to qualify for unemployment, you must submit proof of active searches for work each week and cannot refuse any offers of suitable work. You must not receive severance, vacation pay or pension funds. Lastly, you must report any earnings whatsoever, or any other streams of income, including lottery or inheritance funds, that may come your way.

It is entirely possible to comply with unemployment insurance eligibility even if you return to part-time work. The state of Rhode Island considers your eligibility for unemployment continuously valid until you return to full-time work for which your total gross wages meets or exceeds your established minimum weekly benefit. If you return to part-time work during the course of your Rhode Island unemployment benefits claim, you must report your total gross earnings in your weekly certifications. As long as you meet the remaining unemployment insurance eligibility requirements, you will continue to receive weekly payments of benefits in a sum representing the difference between your original benefit rate less the amount you earned plus twenty percent of your original benefit rate. The key to continuous unemployment insurance eligibility is forthright honesty about all aspects of your financial and work life during the course of your claim.

Download our comprehensive guide for more information on unemployment insurance eligibility.

What can cancel my unemployment insurance eligibility in Rhode Island?

The greatest danger to your unemployment insurance eligibility in Rhode Island is any sort of falsification on eligibility application documents or questions. In the context of qualifying for unemployment in RI, even an omission, whether accidental or not, can delay or even cancel your claim. Make a point to double-check every item you submit to or receive from the Rhode Island UI office. Punctuality is also vital. If you receive any requests, letters or notices from any representative of the Rhode Island UI Department, respond immediately and fully in order to ensure preservation of your eligibility for benefits. You forfeit unemployment insurance eligibility automatically if you return to full-time work, whether paid or unpaid. Paid full-time work disqualifies you on financial grounds and unpaid full-time work means you are not available for paid work (the end goal of all UI services) and thus ineligible for benefits. Certain kinds of pensions can disqualify you from receiving benefits. Due to a federal pension offset law in Rhode Island, many pensions are deducted at fifty or one-hundred percent and thus negate any potential unemployment benefits you may be eligible to receive.

For more detailed information on unemployment benefits eligibility, download our official guide today.