How to Calculate Minnesota Unemployment Benefits

Determining the Base Benefit Year

Minnesota unemployment benefit amounts are based on the applicant's gross wages earned in the last 52 weeks. This includes gross wages from all employers during this period, other than employers specifically excluded in Minnesota Law. The base period is measured in 4 quarters. If the Sunday in the first application week for unemployment is in January, April, July or October, the base period is the first four quarters of the last five completed quarters. If there are not enough earnings to establish a benefits account in these quarters, then the base period is the last 4 quarters. If the Sunday in the first application week for unemployment occurs in any other month, wages from the most recent 4 quarters are compared with wages from the first four quarters of the most recent 5 quarters. The period with higher wages becomes the base period. If wages for these periods are the same, then the most recent 4 quarters are used.

Benefit Amount

The weekly unemployment wage equals about 50 percent of the applicant's average weekly wage in their base period up to a maximum of $640. A Determination of Benefit Account detailing the weekly benefit amount and total benefit amount available will be mailed to the applicant after the application is submitted. Benefits may also be estimated on the Minnesota Unemployment Insurance website by entering the social security number.

Situations that Affect Income

There are situations that may affect eligibility for benefits or the benefit amount. If working while receiving benefits, benefits will not be payable in weeks where more than 32 hours are worked or gross earnings are equal to or greater than the weekly unemployment benefit. If the applicant has not looked for work in a week, benefits are not payable for that week. Weekly benefits may be lowered due to deductions for income tax purposes, child support or due to unemployment overpayments. Income received for severance, vacation, sick, holiday, social security, workers' compensation or from pension accounts may also reduce the weekly benefit amount.

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