Vermont Unemployment Benefits and Eligibility

In this article...
  • Vermont unemployment benefits help eligible individuals cover their living costs. Find out how the Vermont Department of Labor determines eligibility.

If you're a Vermont resident and find yourself out of work, you may qualify for temporary financial assistance. The Vermont Department of Labor processes unemployment benefits for people who meet the state's eligibility criteria. This article explains how to tell if you are eligible for support and how to apply for Vermont unemployment benefits. 

Who Is Eligible for Unemployment Benefits in Vermont?

The state of Vermont requires unemployment benefits claimants to meet a minimum earnings threshold and show acceptable reasons for job separation. You will also need to undertake job search activities each week to maintain your right to benefits. 

Monetary Eligibility

The way the Vermont Department of Labor calculates monetary eligibility for unemployment is significantly more complex than in most other states. There are four methods to establish eligibility, and you must earn a minimum quarter amount in at least one base period quarter.

The DOL bases the minimum quarter amount on the state's minimum wage, making it subject to change year-on-year. It also takes your wages during your highest-paid quarter into account, and your pay in the remaining three quarters must equal or exceed 40% of your high-quarter wages. 

  • Method one counts the base period (the timeframe used to establish monetary eligibility) as the first four of the last five completed calendar quarters. You cannot opt to use a different method if you qualify through method one, even if it gives a higher benefit amount.
  • Method two counts the base period as the last four completed calendar quarters before filing for unemployment benefits.
  • Method three counts earnings from the last three completed calendar quarters and any wages received in the current quarter.
  • Method four is for people receiving workers' compensation who are unemployed because of a workplace injury. You can only qualify through method four if you claim within 6 months of your last compensation payment. This method changes your base period so that you aren't disadvantaged monetarily by lost earnings following your injury.

Reasons for Unemployment

If you meet the monetary criteria, you may be eligible for benefits if you lose your job for reasons that aren't your fault. Layoff due to lack of work is a typical example of an acceptable reason for job separation. Your application may go to the Adjudication Unit if the DOL finds an issue with your claim. You may be denied benefits if:

  • You chose to leave your employer for personal reasons. However, you may qualify if you quit due to unreasonable actions by your employer.
  • Your employer dismissed you for misconduct. You may be disqualified from claiming Vermont unemployment benefits for 10 weeks, and the DOL may impose a cap on how many weeks you can claim.
  • You were fired for gross misconduct. You can't usually claim benefits in this situation until you find a new job, earn six times your weekly benefit amount (WBA) and lose your job for a qualifying reason. You can't use wages paid by an employer who fired you for gross misconduct to establish a new claim.

Ongoing Eligibility

You must create an account with Vermont JobLink to maintain your unemployment benefits eligibility. Vermont JobLink provides free, online reemployment services to help benefits recipients rejoin the workforce. 

You must search for employment while receiving Vermont unemployment benefits and not have any barriers to immediately accepting work. Being unable or unavailable for work could affect your eligibility. For example, you may lose your entitlement if your physical or mental health prevents you from working or you lack appropriate childcare or transportation arrangements. 

Claimants must record a minimum of three reemployment contacts when they submit their weekly benefits requests. You cannot use telephone contact or job search boards as a work contact. Submitting a job application is acceptable. Resume submission or an in-person application may count, depending on the usual practices in your industry. You must also attend any reemployment services or appointments scheduled by your nearest Career Resource Center

Accepting Suitable Employment

The DOL expects claimants to have reasonable job expectations, and failure to accept a suitable job offer could result in losing your right to benefits. Furthermore, you may have to repay any payments received before refusing the position. 

The DOL is likely to consider a job suitable if it offers comparable pay to your previous positions, the industry suits your experience and qualifications and you can reasonably manage the commute. It may permit you to refuse a job if you are physically incapable of performing the work or the role poses a risk to your health or morals. You may have to accept a job for less pay the longer you're unemployed — but not if it's below the state's prevailing wage for the industry.

How Do You Apply for Vermont Unemployment Benefits

You should apply for Vermont unemployment benefits as soon as you lose your job because you can't receive backdated payments. Call the DOL's Initial Claims Line at 1-877-214-3330 to file your application. You will need to provide details of your employment history, including your reasons for separation and base period earnings. 

You must then file a weekly claim through the claimant portal on the DOL website. Claimants must certify that they were available and able to work and report any earnings, including non-wage payments such as holiday or severance pay. 

Some claimants file their weekly claims by phone at 1-800-983-2300. You can only claim using this method if the DOL exempts you from searching for work or you have a definite return-to-work date within ten weeks.  

How Much Do You Get From Vermont Unemployment?

The DOL determines your WBA by dividing your total wages from your two highest-paid base period quarters by 45, rounded down to a whole dollar amount. The most you can receive per week is $531.

You can claim 26 times your WBA per benefit year or 46% of your total earnings during the base period used to establish your claim if this is lower. Therefore, some people will qualify for fewer weeks. The DOL caps your maximum claim length to 23 weeks if your employer dismissed you for misconduct.

You can choose to receive payments via check or direct deposit. The DOL strongly recommends choosing direct deposit because it allows for quicker access to funds. You can expect to receive your first payment approximately 2 weeks after filing your initial application. However, payments may take longer if your claim goes through the adjudication process. 

What Happens If Unemployment Claims in Vermont Are Denied?

If you wish to dispute your unemployment benefits determination, you can do so within 30 days of the determination date by emailing or by fax at (802) 828-4289. Alternatively, you can mail your appeal or deliver it in person to:

Vermont Department of Labor
P. O. Box 488
Vermont 05601-0488

You will then receive a Notice of Appeal Hearing for a telephone appeal hearing with an Administrative Law Judge. You should continue making weekly claims in the meantime and supply any relevant evidence before the hearing date. 

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