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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 calling the Claimant Assistance Center at 877-214-3330. 

How do I know if my benefit year is about to expire? This information can be found by logging into 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 sufficient wages in our system. Wages are reported quarterly by your employer. Claimants must earn a certain amount of wage in the past 18-months in order to be eligible for benefits. If your wages were misreported by your employer, the Department will contact your employer and update your wages in the system, and you will receive an updated monetary determination. 

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 Assistance Center to have the claim manually entered. 

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.