Federal Benefits - Minnesota Unemployment Benefits and Eligibility

In this article...
  • Discover everything you need to know about Minnesota unemployment benefits and eligibility, including details about the application process and who is eligible for unemployment benefits.

Minnesota's unemployment insurance program is administered by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED). The state's unemployment insurance scheme provides financial support to people who have lost their jobs or had their working hours cut due to circumstances beyond their control. 

You will need to meet Minnesota's monetary and non-monetary qualification requirements if you wish to receive Minnesota Unemployment Insurance (MUI) benefits. Below, you can find out how Minnesota unemployment benefits and eligibility work and how to file your claim. 

How Do I Claim Minnesota Unemployment Benefits?

You can claim Minnesota unemployment benefits for the first time by creating an account on the UIM website and completing the online form. Alternatively, you can claim over the phone at one of the following numbers:

  • Twin Cities: 651-296-3644
  • Greater Minnesota: 1-877-898-9090
  • TTY (for applicants with hearing impairments): 1-866-814-1252

You must provide accurate information when you apply for UIM benefits and answer every question. Leaving out questions or answering inaccurately could delay your application being processed or cause you to be denied benefits. You will be asked for the following:

  • Social Security or Alien Registration number
  • Your main occupation
  • Complete work history
  • Driver's license number (if applicable)
  • Your full name and contact information, including your middle initial

You will then receive a determination of benefit account letter in the mail that will tell you if your application has been approved and how much you have been awarded. 

You should request your benefits payment online each week, even if your application is still being processed. Late or missed requests could affect your benefits payments. You can file your request online through the UIM website between 6 a.m. and 8 p.m. on weekdays. Alternatively, you can request payment over the phone at the following numbers:

  • Twin Cities: 651-296-3644
  • Greater Minnesota: 1-877-898-9090
  • TTY: 1-866-814-1252

You will be given a time slot to make your requests on a Tuesday or Wednesday if you prefer to claim over the phone, and the time is based on the final digit of your Social Security number. You can also call between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. on Thursday or Friday if you miss your allotted slot. 

How Do the Minnesota Unemployment Benefits Eligibility Criteria Work?

To receive unemployment benefits in Minnesota, you'll need to prove that you meet the state's eligibility criteria. The DEED assesses your eligibility based on your wages and the reasons you're unemployed. You will also be expected to fulfill weekly eligibility criteria to continue claiming benefits, even once your initial application is accepted. 

Monetary Eligibility Criteria

You must meet a minimum earnings threshold during a base period to receive Minnesota unemployment benefits. The base period covers the first four of the last five completed calendar quarters before you submitted your claim. 

Non-Monetary Eligibility Criteria

You can only claim Minnesota unemployment benefits if you have the legal right to work in the United States. You must also be able to provide a justifiable reason for your unemployment. 

The DEED usually accepts applicants who were laid off or had their hours greatly reduced through no fault of their own, usually due to lack of work or other business reasons. It does not pay benefits to employees who had their employment terminated due to misconduct. Still, it may consider applicants laid off for less serious reasons, such as performance issues, genuine mistakes or poor attendance where the employee was genuinely unwell and provided reasonable notice. 

You cannot usually receive unemployment benefits in Minnesota if you quit unless your reasons for leaving your job are considered compelling. Examples of circumstances where the DEED may grant benefits when you quit your job include:

  • Escaping domestic abuse
  • Leaving to start a more suitable role which has since fallen through
  • Relocating with your partner if they change jobs
  • Dangerous working conditions or discrimination by your employer
  • Quitting before a set layoff date
  • Lack of childcare, providing you are making efforts to find suitable care

Weekly Eligibility Criteria

The DEED requires benefits recipients to look for work and accept any suitable job offer. You will need to prove what steps you're taking to find employment, such as applying for advertised roles, getting support from a career counselor or attending meetings at your local CareerForce branch, when you make your weekly claim. You may not be required to look for work if you're a member of a union hall, but you must be in good standing with the organization.

The DEED classifies a suitable job offer as work that is appropriate for your skills and experience and provides a standard salary and commuting distance for your field. Failure to look for work or accept a suitable position could make you ineligible for benefits. 

You will not receive benefits for any given week if you are not available or able to work. This means that you must be mentally and physically well enough to attend and have any necessary transport and childcare in place. Minnesota does not pay benefits to claimants while they are incarcerated. 

Any earnings or other payments you receive during your claim period could affect your eligibility or how much you are entitled to. You should report any money received from work, pensions or vacation and termination payments as part of your weekly claim.

How Much Will I Get and for How Long?

You can receive your benefits via transfer to a nominated bank account or loaded onto the ReliaCard debit card. You will generally receive around half of your average weekly wages reported during your base period, up to a weekly maximum of $762. The maximum length of time you can claim unemployment benefits in Minnesota is 26 weeks

What If I Am Denied Minnesota Unemployment Benefits?

You can appeal against the DEED's decision if you feel that you have been incorrectly denied Minnesota unemployment benefits. Include your name, Social Security number and issue number and why you're appealing. You can appeal by fax at 651-205-4007 or online using your UIM account. Appeals can also be submitted in writing to the following address:

P.O. Box 4629
St. Paul
MN 55101-4629