Connecticut Unemployment Benefits and Eligibility

In this article...
  • Connecticut unemployment benefits can provide a financial lifeline if you lose your job. Learn how to file a claim for unemployment benefits in Connecticut.

The Connecticut Department of Labor (DOL) processes unemployment benefits applications. The state's unemployment insurance program provides financial assistance to people who lose their jobs for reasons that aren't their fault using employer tax contributions. This guide explains how to claim unemployment insurance in Connecticut, who is eligible and how much you can expect to receive. 

Who Is Eligible for Unemployment Benefits in Connecticut?

Whether you can claim unemployment benefits in Connecticut depends on why you lost your job and your previous earnings. Benefits recipients must also fulfill the job search requirements to maintain their eligibility.

Monetary Eligibility

Connecticut calculates your earnings over a base period to decide if you're monetarily eligible for benefits. Like most states, it counts the first four of the previous five calendar quarters before the one in which you file a claim. However, it also allows applicants to use an alternate base period of the four most recent calendar quarters if they didn't earn enough in the usual base period. 

The state only includes wages paid by covered employers in your eligibility calculation. Therefore, your earnings only count if your employer made tax contributions toward the Connecticut unemployment insurance program. Your total base period earnings must equal or exceed 40 times your weekly benefit rate (WBA) to qualify for unemployment benefits in Connecticut. 

Job Separation Eligibility

Your reason for unemployment is another crucial factor in determining your eligibility for Connecticut unemployment benefits. People who are laid off because of a lack of work can usually claim benefits if they meet the other eligibility criteria. You'll usually be disqualified if your employer fired you due to willful misconduct, committing a felony or larceny or failing a mandated drugs test. 

You might be eligible for Connecticut unemployment benefits if you voluntarily quit your job in one of the following circumstances:

  • Your employer made significant changes to your employment terms and conditions, and you took reasonable steps to resolve the issue before leaving.
  • Your employer subjected you to dangerous or unhealthy working conditions, or your job caused a decline in your health.
  • You stopped working to care for a sick or disabled dependent, and your employer did not offer you leave to do so.
  • You no longer had transport available to attend work (excluding the loss of your own vehicle).
  • You needed to quit to escape, or protect a dependent from, domestic violence.
  • Your spouse had to relocate for work, and you quit your job to follow them.

You can't usually claim unemployment benefits after retiring. However, you may be eligible if your employer induced you to retire or your health prevented you from carrying out your duties. You'll need to prove that you requested an appropriate change in responsibilities from your employer. 

Maintaining Eligibility

You can only claim benefits if you're actively seeking employment, and the state can stop or reduce your payments if you don't provide evidence of your reemployment activities. However, you might receive a job search exemption if you attend an approved training program that prevents you from working. 

During your claim period, you must be physically and mentally able to work and remain available to accept a job offer. All claimants must register with the American Job Center and engage with any reemployment services offered to them to continue receiving payments. 

Generally, you should be able to work full time. However, the state may permit you to limit your job search to part-time roles if your doctor certifies that you have a long-term condition that makes full-time work unsuitable. 

You must take up any suitable job offer to avoid losing your right to claim benefits. If your layoff is temporary and you have a confirmed date to restart work, you should still accept any short-time work assignment in the meantime. Generally, a job may be considered suitable if:

  • It suits your previous experience and qualifications
  • You can reasonably manage the commute from home
  • It offers acceptable wages and working conditions for the industry and a salary comparable to your previous roles
  • You can safely perform the work without harm to your health or morals

How Do You Apply for Connecticut Unemployment Benefits?

You can file an initial claim or reopen an existing claim online through the CT Direct Benefits portal. Follow the on-screen prompts to create an account, or use your credentials to log in if you already have one. It's essential to file for Connecticut unemployment benefits as soon as you lose your job because you can't claim payments retroactively. 

After the department approves your application, you'll need to file a weekly claim to request your payment. You can submit weekly claims online through your CT Direct Benefits account or by calling your local Telebenefits line. 

How Much Do You Get From Connecticut Unemployment?

If your application succeeds, you'll receive your WBA paid directly to your bank account or loaded onto a debit card. You'll automatically receive a new debit card if you don't choose direct deposit as your preferred payment method. 

The lowest WBA you can receive in Connecticut is $15, up to a legal maximum of $649 for up to 26 weeks. Your WBA is your average earnings across your two highest-paid base period quarters divided by 26.

You can claim an extra $15 per monetarily dependent child for a maximum of five children. You can only receive payments for dependents if you provide most or all of their financial support. Children you claim for must fall into one of the following categories:

  • Younger than 18 years old
  • Under 21 and in full-time education
  • Disabled (any age)

Only one parent can receive additional benefits payments for a child. You might be able to claim the dependent allowance for your spouse if they are unemployed, pregnant or disabled. However, neither spouse can claim the dependent allowance for the other if you both receive unemployment benefits. 

What Happens If Unemployment Claims in Connecticut Are Denied?

If the DOL rejects your benefits application, you can appeal the decision within 21 days of the date on your decision correspondence. Submit your appeal by mail, by fax or in person to your nearest full-service American Job Center. Alternatively, you can file your appeal online on the appeals page of the DOL website.

An Appeals Referee will then assess your case at an informal hearing. It's essential to let your job center know if you can't attend, and it may not grant an alternative hearing appointment unless you have a compelling reason to reschedule. Bring any evidence that could support your appeal to the hearing, including witnesses if necessary.

You must continue filing weekly claims while waiting for the referee's decision, or you may not receive benefits for the missed weeks if your appeal succeeds. The referee will inform you in writing whether your appeal is successful. 

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