Hawaii Unemployment Guide

If you've recently lost your job in Hawaii, you may be eligible for Hawaii Unemployment Insurance benefits. This is a guide to filing your claim for Hawaii unemployment benefits. Since each situation may have its own unique circumstances, check with the contact numbers and websites listed below to make sure you get the maximum benefits you can claim.

Filing for Unemployment:

Unemployed Hawaii workers can file a claim for unemployment benefits online, on the telephone, or at a local Hawaii Department of Labor Career Center.

  1. Online - File for Benefits Online from 6:30am to 11pm, M-F, or 9:00 am to 11 pm on weekends and holidays.
  2. TelephoneCall Hawaii Tele-Claim at 643-5555 (instate) or 1-877-215-5793 (out of state), from 6:30am to 11:00pm M-Th, 6:30am to 4:30pm Friday, or 9:00am - 11:00 pm on Sunday
  3. In Person – Find your local claims office
File your claim right away after you've stopped working – don't delay. Your claim starts the week you file. Unemployment Benefits are not retroactive, so if you delay you may lose benefits.

When you file your initial unemployment benefit application, you will need the following information:

  • Name & address
  • SSN
  • Separation notice or letter from firmer employer if one was issued
  • Name, address, and dates worked for all employers over the past 18 months
  • Reason for separation for all employers over the past 18 months
  • If you were discharged from the military in the last 18 months, you'll need Copy #4 of your DD Form 214
  • If you were a Federal employee in the last 18 months, you'll need SF 8 or SF 50 (or W2 or pay stubs)
  • If you are not a US Citizen, you'll need your Alien Registration Number, expiration, and type
After your claim is filed, you'll receive an additional packet via US Mail. Make sure to complete and return to your local claims office quickly to avoid delaying benefit payments. Included in the packet will be instructions describing how to register for work and post your resume online, which must be completed 7 days after you filed your unemployment claim.

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Filing Your Weekly Claim:

Weekly benefits are based on your highest quarterly wages of the base period (first 4 of the last 5 quarters), minimum $5 and maximum $560 per week. Federal Additional Compensation (FAC) currently adds an additional $25 per week to your benefit payments.

File your ongoing unemployment claims bi-weekly:

  1. Online - File for Benefits Online from 6:30am to 11pm, M-F, or 9:00 am to 11 pm on weekends and holidays.
  2. TelephoneCall Hawaii Tele-Claim at 643-5555 (instate) or 1-877-215-5793 (out of state), from 6:30am to 11:00pm M-Th, 6:30am to 4:30pm Friday, or 9:00am - 11:00 pm on Sunday
For your bi-weekly claim, you'll need to demonstrate that you made at least 3 weekly job communications, keep a contact record on form UC -253 "Record of Contacts Made for Work". You will be asked to present photocopies of this record.

After you file on Hawaii Tele-Claim, you will be mailed a Reminder Claim Certification within 3 days giving notice of the next filing period and due dates.

Beware of the Waiting Week. Your first week of benefits is called a "waiting week" – this means you will not be paid benefits during your first week of eligibility, but you must still file a claim to get credit for waiting.

If your unemployment claim is approved without delays, you can expect your first unemployment check in 3 weeks from the date of filing, and within 2 weeks of filing your continuing bi-weekly claims.

Unemployment Benefits:

Health Insurance benefits may be available to you through the Health Coverage Tax Credit - Check COBRA and The IRS for details.

Health Care coverage may be available for children through Hawaii Covering Kids.

Career Services and Training are available through the Hawaii Workforce Development Division

Filing for extensions:

As your regular unemployment benefits come close to being completed, you will receive notification to file in person or through Hawaii Tele-Claim for an Extended Unemployment Claims (EUC) to extend your unemployment.

Ending Unemployment:

When you start work again, report your employment when you claim via Hawaii Tele-Claim or online.

FAQ:

The Hawaii Tele-Claim system sometimes has problems connecting to cellular phones, especially those with out of state numbers, or if your call originates outside Hawaii. If you have this problem, call via land line.

Monday and Tuesdays are the Division of Unemployment Insurance's busiest times. If you experience long hold times, call back between Wednesday and Friday.

Download the Hawaii Department of Labor and Industrial Relations FAQ list for more information, and download Hawaii's Unemployment Insurance Handbook.

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