Unemployment Insurance Terms and Definitions


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Additional Claim

The reactivation of an existing unemployment insurance (UI) benefit year after a subsequent period of employment and notice of reactivation of the UI claim to the most recent employer.

Administrative Law Judge (ALJ)

An administrative hearing officer who conducts lower authority appeal hearings to obtain evidence and then make a determination of eligibility for UI benefits.

Administrative Penalty 

The disqualification of a claimant from the receipt of UI benefits due to fraud, misrepresentation or the willful and knowing failure to disclose a material fact for a period of not more than the remaining UI benefit year, including the week in which such a determination is made. 

Average Weekly Wage (AWW)

The result obtained by dividing the highest wage in a base period quarter by 13 (average number of weeks in a quarter). For example, wages during the base period for a claim filed in the second quarter (April, May or June) would be first, second, third, and fourth quarters of the previous calendar year. If the highest wage was paid in the fourth quarter of the base period, those wages would be divided by 13 to calculate an average weekly wage. 



Base Period

The first four of the last five completed calendar quarters immediately prior to the filing of an initial claim for unemployment benefits. The wages paid during this period are the basis for the computation of the maximum benefit amount (MBA) and weekly benefit amount (WBA). 

Base Period Employer 

An employer who paid wages to an individual for work performed in a quarter or quarters used to establish a claim for unemployment insurance benefits. 

Benefit Week 

For unemployment, a benefit week begins on Sunday and ends on Saturday. All continued claims for benefit weeks end on Saturday. 

Benefit Year

The one-year period that begins with the first day of the calendar week in which the individual files for benefits. The duration of a benefit year is 365 days (366 days during leap year), including the date the claim is made effective. All benefit years begin on a Sunday. 



Calendar Quarter 

The three-month period beginning on the first day of January, April, July and October each year and ending on the last day of March, June, September and December, respectively. 


A totally or partially unemployed individual who has filed a claim for unemployment benefits. 

Combined Wage Claim 

A claim for unemployment benefits filed in one state using wage credits from two or more states. 

Continued Claim 

A weekly request for benefit payment after the initial claim has been filed. Each week a claimant is totally or partially unemployed the claimant must report to certify eligibility for a benefit payment for the week. 



Department Approved Training (DAT) 

A claimant may receive unemployment insurance while attending a training course approved by the department if the training course meets the department's requirements. The search for work and the need to be available for work requirements are waived while attending the approved training course. Requests for approval of training or retraining courses must set out the educational establishment at which the claimant will receive training; the estimated time required for the training and the occupation which the training will allow the claimant to maintain or pursue. 


An individual who has been or could have been claimed for the preceding tax year on the claimant's income tax return or will be claimed for the current income tax year. 

Dependent Spouse 

An individual who does not earn more than $120.00 in gross wages in one week. The reference week for a dependent spouse is the calendar week immediately preceding the effective date of the claim. 


A decision made regarding a claimant's eligibility for benefits. A monetary determination shows the amount of money the claimant may be eligible to receive; a benefit determination is a decision about a possible disqualifying factor (quit, discharge, job refusal, etc.) that may result in the denial of benefits. 



Effective Date 

The first day of the calendar week the claimant files for benefits. All claims are made effective on the Sunday of the calendar week they are filed. 



Fact-Finding Interview 

A scheduled telephone interview with a representative of the agency, the claimant and other interested parties to gather information about a specific issue and make a determination of eligibility or disqualification for unemployment insurance benefits. For example, if an employer files a protest of a claim based on the reason the claimant is no longer employed, a fact-finding interview is held to obtain statements from the claimant, employer and other witnesses. The facts obtained in the interview are used to make a determination to allow or deny payment of benefits. 



Maximum Benefit Amount 

The maximum amount of money to which a claimant may be entitled during the benefit year, based on the claimant's covered wages paid during the base period. 




UI benefit payments made that the claimant was not entitled to because of a disqualification, earnings or for other reasons, including child support and voluntary income tax withholdings. 



Partial Unemployment 

If the claimant's gross earnings during a week are less than the claimant's weekly benefit amount plus $15, the claimant may be entitled to benefits for partial unemployment. Partial benefit checks are usually paid when the claimant's number of hours worked per week is reduced and the claimant is working all available hours. 



Total Unemployment 

A week when a claimant performs no work and earns no wages.



Unemployment Compensation for Federal Employees (UCFE) 

The benefit program specifically for former federal employees from which benefit payments are drawn. 

Unemployment Compensation for Ex-Service Personnel (UCX) 

The benefit program specifically for ex-military personnel from which benefit payments are drawn.



Weekly Benefit Amount (WBA) 

The amount of money to which a claimant may be entitled each week, based on the claimant's covered wages paid during the base period. 

Weekly Continued Claims Reporting System 

An interactive voice response (IVR) telephone reporting system that uses the numeric keypad on a touch-tone telephone to record a request for benefit payment for a week of partial or total unemployment.