Alaska Unemployment Benefits and Eligibility
- Find out if you're eligible for Alaska unemployment benefits if you lose your job and how much you'll get, including how to file initial and weekly claims.
If you're an Alaska resident and find yourself unemployed for reasons that aren't your fault, you may be entitled to support through the Alaska Unemployment Insurance program. The Alaskan Department of Labor and Workforce Development applies monetary and non-monetary eligibility criteria to assess who can claim unemployment benefits. Below, you can find out who's eligible and how to apply.
Who Is Eligible for Unemployment Benefits in Alaska?
When you apply for unemployment benefits in Alaska, you'll be asked a series of questions to determine your eligibility. These include questions about the reasons for your unemployment and details of your previous jobs and earnings.
You may be eligible to claim Alaska unemployment benefits if you earned more than $2,500 over two quarters during the base period before application. Usually, the Department of Labor and Workforce Development counts the first four calendar quarters of the previous five as the base period.
However, the state may consider your earnings over an alternate base period if you don't qualify via the regular route. The alternate base period is the last four completed calendar quarters before your application date.
Your earnings must come from covered employment to count toward your unemployment benefits calculation. A covered employer makes UI tax contributions. You might be able to make a combined wage claim if you worked in Alaska and one or more other states during your base period. In this situation, your wages earned out-of-state count towards your calculation.
You'll usually qualify for unemployment benefits in Alaska if you meet the monetary eligibility criteria and lose your job through no fault of your own. For example, you'll likely be eligible if your employer terminated your contract through lack of available work or you were forced to quit because of workplace discrimination. The state may reject your application if you were fired due to misconduct or you chose to quit without a compelling reason.
You'll need to fulfill ongoing eligibility criteria to continue receiving unemployment benefits during your claim term. These include:
- Registering for employment on AlaskaJobs and maintaining an up-to-date online resume
- Being ready and prepared to work, including making suitable transport and childcare arrangements
- Accepting any suitable job offer
- Applying for suitable positions every week and providing accurate records of your job-seeking activities
- Engaging with any re-employment services offered to you
- Reporting any income received
In the context of receiving unemployment benefits, a suitable job means any role that suits your educational background and previous experience and offers acceptable pay and conditions for the industry. You may be required to accept a lower salary than you received in previous roles. Refusing a suitable job could result in a 6-week disqualification and 3 further weeks of reduced payments. People enrolled in an approved training or educational course can sometimes claim unemployment benefits.
How Do You Apply for Alaska Unemployment Benefits?
Applying online at myAlaska is the quickest and most straightforward way to start a new unemployment benefits claim. Alternatively, you can also apply over the phone and get help with your application by calling an Alaska Unemployment Claim Center.
You should file a weekly claim for unemployment benefits after the state department approves your application, including during the waiting week. You'll need to verify that you were available for work, explain what you did to find a job and report any earnings for the week. You can submit your weekly claim through your myAlaska account. If you live in an area with underserved broadband, you can file over the phone at the VICTOR toll-free line.
How Much Do You Get From Alaska Unemployment?
How much you receive in unemployment benefits per week depends on your income. You can claim benefits for between 16 and 26 weeks, and how long you receive payments depends on your base earnings total and distribution.
You'll need to pay federal income tax on any benefits you receive. You can ask the department to hold back 10% of your benefits payments to cover tax if you prefer.
You can also claim an extra $24 per week for up to three child dependents living with you, including step-children by marriage. You may also be able to claim this allowance for adult dependents if they have a permanent disability. You must be able to prove that you provided at least 50% of the support for any dependents you claim over the last year.
If you receive some earnings while claiming unemployment benefits, this will affect how much you get. Every dollar of earnings over $50 reduces your payment by 75 cents. You won't receive a payment if you earn 1 1/3 of your awarded weekly amount plus $50 in any given week.
You can request benefits payment by direct transfer into your bank account. Otherwise, you'll receive a debit card in the mail. The department will load your benefits payment to the debit card each week.
What Happens if Unemployment Claims in Alaska Are Denied?
You have the right to appeal the decision if the Department of Labor and Workforce Development rejects your unemployment benefits application or restricts your payments. You should submit your appeal within 30 days by phone, email or fax to your UI office or in writing to:
P.O. Box 115509
Juneau, AK 99811-5509
You'll receive a written notice of the time and date of your appeal hearing and a written letter of determination after the hearing concludes. Don't stop filing your weekly claims while waiting for the decision, or you won't receive backdated payments if your appeal succeeds.