FAQ: Opening a New Benefit Year


When a claimant opens a new initial claim, that claim is open for a 12-month period. During that 12-month period the claimant can file weekly certifications for benefits during weeks they are unemployed or partially unemployed. When the 12-month benefit year ends, the claimant must reapply for benefits by submitting a new initial claim application. This allows the Department to reevaluate the claimant’s eligibility and set a new benefit amount based on earnings during the prior year.

Frequently Asked Questions:

What is a benefit year? When an initial claim is submitted, it allows the claimant to file each week for a 12-month period, known as a benefit year. When the year expires, a new benefit year must be opened by submitting a new initial application to continue filing for the next 12-month period.

I need to open a new benefit year. How do I do that? To open a new benefit year, you will need to submit a new initial unemployment application. You can do this by clicking link at the bottom of your online claimant portal that says "open a new benefit year."

How do I know if my benefit year is about to expire? This  information can be found by logging into the your online claimant portal.

My benefit year hasn’t expired yet, can I just go ahead and open a new benefit year early? Please wait until your benefit year ends to open a new one. Trying to open it early will create an error in the system and will likely delay your ability to file claims and receive payment until it is corrected. 

I received a new monetary determination and it shows $0. What do I do? This is because you have not earned wages in the last year. The Department will manually correct this in the system so that you can continue to file and receive payment. Your weekly benefit amount will stay at the benefit amount that you have been receiving in addition to the $300 FPUC payment. 

I opened a new benefit year before I submitted my last weekly claim on my old benefit year. How can I fix this? You will need to call the Claimant Assisance Center to have the claim manually entered. 

Can I have the Claimant Assistance Center open a new benefit year for me? Claimants should open the a new benefit year by submitting a new initial claim on the website to ensure the information being entered on the claim is correct. 

Does my new monetary determination include the extra federal benefit? It does not. Your monetary determination only includes your state benefit and does not include the additional $300 that will be added to each benefit payment until the week ending September 4.

My benefit year expired and I wasn't able to file claims. How can I get my back weeks entered? If your benefit year has expired and the weeks you need to file for are BEFORE your benefit year expired (e.g. your benefit year ended on March 20 and you have opened a new benefit year before submitting your claim for the week ending March 20) you will need to contact the Claimant Assistance Center. If you need to file weeks AFTER your benefit year ended, and you have opened a new benefit year, please log back into your online claimant portal and submit one claim per day until you are caught up. 

Need further assistance?  Chat live with a Claimant Assistance Representative, or contact the Claimant Assistance Center directly. 

Contact Information

COVID-19 Update: Department of Labor offices are currently closed due to COVID-19. Please contact the Department by phone.

Vermont Department of Labor
5 Green Mountain Drive
P.O. Box 488
Montpelier, 05601-0488
(802) 828-4000

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