Collecting Unemployment Benefits in Minnesota

Learn about Minnesota's unemployment eligibility rules, benefit amounts, and more—including special rules during the coronavirus pandemic.

In Minnesotaas in every other stateemployees who are temporarily out of work through no fault of their own may qualify for unemployment benefits. The eligibility rules, prior earnings requirements, benefit amounts, and other details vary from state to state. Here are the basic rules for collecting unemployment compensation in Minnesota.

Eligibility Requirements for Minnesota Unemployment Benefits

In Minnesota, the Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) handles unemployment benefits and determines eligibility on a case-by-case basis. Applicants must meet the following three eligibility requirements in order to collect unemployment benefits in Minnesota:

  • Your past earnings must meet certain minimum thresholds.
  • You must be unemployed through no fault of your own, as defined by Minnesota law.
  • You must be able and available, and you must be actively seeking employment.

Do You Meet the Minimum Earnings Requirement?

Virtually all states look at your recent work history and earnings during a one-year "base period" to determine your eligibility for unemployment. In Minnesota, the base period is either the four most recently completed calendar quarters, or the first four of the five most recently completed quarters before you filed your benefits claim.

During the base period, you must have earned wages that were at least 5.3% of the current statewide average annual wage (rounded down to the nearest $100).

Are You Out of Work Through No Fault of Your Own?

You must be out of work through no fault of your own to qualify for unemployment benefits.

Collecting Unemployment After a Layoff

If you were laid off, lost your job in a reduction-in-force (RIF), or got "downsized" for economic reasons, you will meet this requirement.

Collecting Unemployment After Being Fired

If you were fired because you lacked the skills to perform the job or simply weren't a good fit, you’ll still likely be eligible to receive benefits. For example, if you were fired for being inefficient or making honest mistakes at work (despite putting in reasonable effort), you will still be eligible for unemployment.

However, if your actions rise to the level of “misconduct,” you will not be eligible to receive unemployment. In Minnesota, misconduct means any intentional or careless conduct that shows a substantial lack of concern for the employment or that is a serious violation of standards that an employer can reasonably expect from the employee. The following are examples of misconduct:

  • repeatedly being late or absent without a valid excuse
  • showing up to work under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • violating company rules
  • intentionally failing to perform work duties
  • insubordination, and
  • theft, violence, or harassing conduct.

Collecting Unemployment After Quitting

If you quit your job, you won't be eligible for unemployment benefits unless you had good cause for quitting. In general, the good cause requirement will be satisfied if you had to relocate because your spouse got a new job, if you left to care for a family member with a serious illness, or if you quit in order to escape domestic violence.

Are You Available and Actively Searching for Work?

To maintain your eligibility for unemployment benefits, you must be able to work, available to accept a job, and looking for employment. If you’re offered a suitable position, you must accept it. A position is suitable if it is reasonably related to your qualifications and if the hours, pay, distance, and other working conditions are typical of your occupation. However, the longer you are employed, the more willing you’ll have to be to accept a position that requires less skill or that pays lower wages.

Normally, you must conduct a reasonable search for work each week. You should keep a record of your job search efforts, including the employers you’ve contacted, the dates you made contact, and the outcome. The DEED may contact you or your employer contacts to verify your efforts.

Amount and Duration of Unemployment Benefits in Minnesota

The DEED determines your weekly benefit amount. Your weekly benefit amount will be about 50% of your average weekly wage during the base period, up to a maximum that changes every year, depending on the state's average weekly wage. (The maximum in the first half of 2020 was $740.) Benefits are normally available for up to 26 weeks. To get an idea of how much your weekly benefit might be, plug your information into the DEED Benefits Estimator.

How to File a Claim for Unemployment Benefits in Minnesota

You may file your claim for unemployment benefits online or by phone. Once you file, you must continue to file weekly claims with the DEED for each week for which you are claiming benefits.

Once it receives your application, the DEED will send you some documents, including a Determination of Benefit Account, indicating your potential weekly benefit amount and duration.

How to Appeal a Denial of Unemployment Benefits in Minnesota

If your unemployment claim is denied, you may request an appeal within 20 days after the denial notice was sent. You can file the appeal online (by logging into your DEED account), by mail, or fax. A hearing will be scheduled to receive evidence from both you and your employer. An Unemployment Law Judge (ULJ) will conduct the hearing, usually held by telephone, and will issue a written decision.

If you disagree with the ULJ’s decision, you can file a Request for Reconsideration. If you are not satisfied with the result, you may appeal to the Minnesota Court of Appeals.

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