New Hampshire Unemployment Benefits and Eligibility

In this article...
  • New Hampshire’s unemployment benefits provide temporary income for out-of-work residents. Learn what to expect when filing a claim and how to appeal a denial.

New Hampshire’s unemployment benefits provide temporary income for recently jobless or underemployed state residents. The New Hampshire Employment Security Agency oversees the program through its Unemployment Compensation Bureau, which administers benefits to eligible claimants. The agency also runs the Employment Service Bureau and Operations, which hosts work search programs, virtual job fairs and other job seeker services to help workers secure gainful employment. Unemployed veterans and their spouses may receive priority for employment and training services.

Who Is Eligible for Unemployment Benefits in New Hampshire

Workers who become unemployed or underemployed for reasons outside their control may qualify for unemployment benefits if they meet certain conditions. This eligibility criteria, which is defined under New Hampshire law, includes monetary and non-monetary requirements.

Monetary Requirements

Monetary eligibility is determined using a base period, which is defined by the state as the four-quarter period prior to filing an initial unemployment benefits claim. During this period, a worker must have earned a minimum of $1,400 in at least two separate quarters through employment with a covered employer.

The state aims to maximize a claimant’s potential for being approved by looking at two possible timeframes:

  • The primary base period: This standard considers an employee’s earnings during the first four of the last five full calendar quarters before the initial claim’s effective date.
  • The alternative base period: This option considers the last four full calendar quarters prior to the filing of the initial claim.

Non-Monetary Requirements

To qualify for unemployment benefits, claimants must also satisfy several non-monetary requirements. To do so, they must be:

  • Fully or partially unemployed
  • Available for full-time work during applicable hours for the type of work performed
  • Mentally and physically capable of working
  • Registered for available work with the Job Match System

However, some workers, including those enrolled in approved training programs, may be exempt from the work registration requirement.

Reasons for Disqualification

Applicants who meet the state’s monetary and non-monetary requirements can still be disqualified for various reasons. Common grounds for disqualification include separation of employment due to:

  • Committing a theft, arson, sabotage or physical assault
  • Engaging in criminal threatening
  • Work-related misconduct
  • Intoxication or drug use
  • Disciplinary suspension
  • Closing a self-owned business

Additionally, workers who voluntarily quit a job without good cause, as defined by the state, typically can’t collect benefits. Claimants may also be disqualified if they’re receiving unemployment payments through another state or from the federal government.

Requirements for Maintaining Benefits

Workers who have been approved for unemployment benefits must also adhere to state guidelines to continue receiving weekly payments. These ongoing requirements include:

  • Filing weekly benefits claims in a timely fashion
  • Keeping contact information current
  • Actively continuing a job search
  • Reporting any job referrals
  • Providing weekly proof of a job search
  • Reporting any refusals to job offers
  • Responding to any official request for information
  • Attending any mandatory NHES meetings
  • Reporting any earnings, including those from freelance, part-time or temporary work
  • Participating in re-employment services, as directed by NHES
  • Reporting overpaid food stamp coupons or court-ordered child support payments

How Do You Apply for New Hampshire Unemployment Benefits

Upon separation from their job, out-of-work New Hampshire residents may file an application for unemployment benefits online at Workforce Connect. Individuals who don’t have access to the internet may apply using a public-use computer at their local NHES office. The application typically takes 20 to 30 minutes to fill out, and applicants should be prepared to provide the following information:

  • Telephone number
  • Email address
  • Home and mailing address
  • Social Security number (Alien Registration Number for non-U.S. citizens)
  • 18-month work or military service history

Applicants should make sure to answer all questions honestly and accurately, as errors can cause an underpayment or overpayment of benefits. Intentional misinformation on an application can even result in a charge of fraud, which carries up to $4,000 in fines and imprisonment of up to 15 years. Applicants who need help completing the application should call the unemployment hotline at (603) 271-7700 to speak with a trained agent.

After submitting the completed application form, claimants receive a confirmation number, which should be written down or printed as proof of filing. If the agency requires additional information to process the claim, they'll contact the applicant through email or the Workforce Connect correspondence box. Applicants should respond to any requests for information promptly. When the agency reaches a decision, they'll send the applicant a Determination of Eligibility notice indicating whether benefits have been approved or denied. 

How Much Do You Get From New Hampshire Unemployment?

How much money an applicant receives depends on their monetary determination, which is sent separately from the Determination of Eligibility. A successful applicant's weekly benefit amount ranges anywhere from $32, for individuals who just met the minimum earnings eligibility requirements, up to a maximum of $427 for individuals who brought in $41,500 or more in wages during the base period.

Approved applicants typically receive benefits over a maximum of 26 weeks, not including the initial waiting week, which is the first week an individual is eligible for benefits. Individuals who file partial weekly claims after accepting a part-time job may be able to receive benefits for a longer period. Payments may also be extended during periods of high unemployment in the state.

What Happens if Unemployment Claims in New Hampshire Are Denied?

If a New Hampshire unemployment claim is denied for any reason, the applicant has a right to appeal the decision. The state offers multiple levels of appeal before a decision is considered final, including:

  • An Appeal Tribunal hearing
  • A reopen request
  • The Appellate Board
  • A reconsideration request
  • The New Hampshire Supreme Court

All appeal requests should be submitted in writing to the proper agency within the allotted deadline, as indicated on the Determination of Eligibility or another relevant state document. Appeals that are filed past this deadline should include a reason for the late filing.

Applicants are expected to attend appeals hearings, and the assigned hearings officer may dismiss the case if the claimant doesn’t show up. If this happens, the initial unemployment benefits decision becomes final. However, some hearings may occur over telephone or video conference. The Appeals Unit may also make special arrangements for individuals who are unable to travel.

During the hearing, appellants may present evidence and testimony or call on witnesses who have firsthand knowledge of the situation. Although a lawyer isn’t required for the proceedings, appellants may hire representation at their discretion. A claims representative is also available to help individuals prepare their case.

A decision is typically returned within 2 weeks of the hearing. The notification the applicant receives also contains information on escalating the appeal.

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