Frequently asked questions about unemployment insurance (UI) benefits

Many questions you may have are answered in the UI Claimant Handbook.
Read the handbook online

What are the eligibility requirements to receive UI benefits?

  1. You must have earned wages from covered employment during the base period.
  2. You must have a total gross income of $2,500 earned over two calendar quarters of the base period.
  3. You must maintain your eligibility while receiving benefits by being able and available for full time work, actively seeking and reporting weekly work searches and registering for work as required.

What is covered employment?
Covered employment is work done for an employer who is required by Alaska Statute to pay UI tax for their workers.

What is a base period?
A base period is a time period of 18 months used to determine your monetary eligibility for a UI claim. The wages you earned in covered employment during this time period determines your monetary eligibility. In Alaska there are two base periods which can be used to determine monetary eligibility: regular and alternate base periods.

A regular base period is the first four of the last five completed calendar quarters, immediately preceding the effective date of your new claim. This is the first base period which will be looked at to determine if you are monetarily eligible.

If you are not eligible for UI benefits under a regular base period, you may be potentially eligible under the alternate base period. An alternate base period is the last four completed quarters prior to the effective date of your new claim. The alternate base period allows more recently earned wages to be calculated for monetary eligibility.

When should I apply for UI benefits?
Apply for benefits immediately when you become unemployed or are working less than full time. Weekly benefits are not paid retroactively.

How do I apply for UI benefits?
For the fastest filing method, go online. To apply online, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, go to my.alaska.gov and click on “Unemployment Insurance Benefits”.
To speak with a claims representative call the claim center Monday through Friday 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Once you open your claim you will be required to file bi-weekly claims. You can file for bi-weekly claims online at my.alaska.gov or call VICTOR, the automated telephonic system.

What information do I need to apply?

  • Your Social Security Number
  • If you are not a U.S. citizen, you will need your alien registration number and work permit type or other documentation that authorizes your employment in the United States
  • Name, mailing address and phone number of your last employer and the location where you reported to work
  • Dates of your last employment, first and last day worked
  • Earnings you made in the last week of your employment
  • Other deductible income received in the last week of employment; such as vacation, severance or bonus pay.
  • Federal employees are required to mail or fax copies of standard form SF8 and SF50, and when possible a Leave and Earnings Statement (LES)
  • Ex-military personnel are required to mail or fax a copy of the DD214 member 4
    Ex-military personnel can obtain these documents at archives.gov/veterans/
    Ex-personnel of the Department of Defense can obtain records at www.dfas.mil

When is my new claim effective?
All new claims are effective the Sunday of the week in which you filed your new claim for UI benefits.

What is my weekly benefit amount?
In Alaska, you can receive a minimum weekly benefit amount of $56 up to a maximum of $370 per week. Your monetary determination will state your weekly benefit amount and how many weeks of benefits you are potentially eligible for. To estimate your potential benefits use this worksheet.

What if during the base period, I have worked in Alaska and other states?
You may be eligible for a combined wage claim. Any earnings from covered employment in any state during the past 18 months may potentially be combined to establish a new claim. You may potentially choose to file a combined wage claim in any of the states where you have worked.

Report all work in all states when opening your claim as it may result in a higher weekly benefit amount.

If you open a claim online and report earnings from another state, you will be responsible to contact the claim center. By law, you must give Department of Labor Workforce Development (DOLWD) permission to add wages earned in another state to your Alaska claim.

States have different weekly benefit amounts. To learn more about the UI programs in other states where you have worked go to Career One Stop, sponsored by U.S. DOL at servicelocator.org/OWSLinks.asp.

I worked in Alaska and now live in another state, what state do I apply in?
If all your work in the past 18 months has been in Alaska, you need to apply for UI in Alaska.

Can I collect benefits if I am not a United States citizen?
Yes. To be eligible for UI you must have been legally authorized to work in the U.S. during the period the wages in which your claim was based on were earned AND you must be legally authorized to work in the U.S. at the time of filing your new claim. When you open your new claim, you will be required to provide documentation of your work authorization which will be verified through the U.S. Department of Homeland Security system.

Is the information I provide confidential?
The information collected as a result of your application for UI benefits cannot be disclosed to anyone except when authorized by Alaska or federal laws, by court order, or with your written consent. The confidential information both you and your employer reports may be used for any DOLWD business and may be shared with other state or federal agencies.

Will my last employer be contacted?
Yes. When you open your claim you will be required to report your last employer, dates of employment and the reason you are no longer working or reduced to less than full-time hours. Your employer will be sent a “Notice of Filing” to confirm the information you have provided. This information is needed to determine your eligibility according to state law and regulations. Each case is unique and determined individually after all the information is obtained; once a determination has been made you and your employer will be notified by mail.

What happens after I file my new claim?
You will be sent a monetary determination in the mail stating the amount of benefits you are eligible for and the wages which the determination was based on. If there are any errors you are responsible to report this to a claim center immediately.

If your wages are from the federal government or U.S. Military, your monetary determination may state you are ineligible at this time because your wages have not been reported. Once wage proof has been received, you will receive a second monetary determination based on the newly reported wages.

It is your responsibility to submit wage proof when requested by the claim center.

When any additional information is requested by the claim center, submit it as soon as possible or contact the claim center to report why you have not.

You will also receive an UI Claimant Handbook in the mail.
You are responsible to read and understand all material in the handbook. If you have any questions call the claim center.

All new claims are subject to a ‘waiting week’. The ‘waiting week’ is the first week in which you were eligible to receive benefits. You will not receive payment for this week, however you must claim for this week to receive your ‘waiting week’ credit. Your ‘waiting week’ will not be deducted from your benefit amount.

You will be required to file bi-weekly claims and be able and available for full time work. You will be required to register for work within seven days, unless deferred. You will also be required to report weekly work search contacts for each week you claim, unless deferred.