Collecting Unemployment Benefits in New Hampshire

By , J.D. · UC Berkeley School of Law

Did you recently lose your job in New Hampshire? If so, you might be eligible for unemployment benefits: payments intended to partially replace the wages of individuals who are temporarily out of work through no fault of their own. Although the basic rules for unemployment are similar across the board, the eligibility rules, prior earnings requirements, benefit amounts, and other details vary from state to state.

Below you'll find information on collecting unemployment in New Hampshire.

Eligibility Requirements for New Hampshire Unemployment Benefits

New Hampshire Employment Security (NHES) 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 New Hampshire:

  • You must have earned at least a minimum amount in wages before you were unemployed.
  • You must be unemployed through no fault of your own, as defined by New Hampshire law.
  • You must be able and available to work, 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. (For more information, see Nolo's article, Unemployment Compensation: Understanding the Base Period.) In New Hampshire, as in most states, the base period is the earliest four of the five complete calendar quarters before you filed your benefits claim. For example, if you file your claim in October of 2019, the base period would be from July 1, 2018 through June 30, 2019.

To qualify for benefits in New Hampshire, you must meet both of the following requirements:

  • You must have earned at least $2,800 in the entire base period.
  • You must have earned at least $1,400 in each of two quarters of the base period.

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

In New Hampshire, as in other states, 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 won't necessarily be barred from receiving benefits. However, if you were fired for misconduct relating to your job, you will be disqualified from receiving benefits. Under New Hampshire law, misconduct is defined as conduct that was deliberate or under your control and had an adverse effect on your employer. It includes excessive absenteeism or lateness, breaking company rules, and willfully failing to perform your job duties (among other things).

Collecting Unemployment After Quitting

If you quit your job, you will be disqualified from receiving unemployment benefits unless you had good cause. In general, good cause means that your reason for leaving the position was job-related and was so compelling that you had no other choice than to leave. For example, if you left your job because of dangerous working conditions that your employer refused to remedy, you may be able to collect benefits. You may also be eligible for benefits if you quit for certain compelling personal reasons, such as leaving to escape domestic abuse, to relocate with your spouse, because you were unable to do your job due to pregnancy or other non-work-related injury or illness (as attested to in a written notice by your physician), or to care for a family member with a serious illness or disability.

Are You Available and Actively Searching for Work?

To keep collecting unemployment benefits, you must be able to work, available to work, and looking for employment. (For more information, see Nolo's article, Collecting Unemployment: Are You Able, Available, and Actively Seeking Work?) If you're incarcerated, on vacation, or in school, or you don't have adequate transportation to get to work, you likely won't be considered able and available to work.

In New Hampshire, you must actively look for work each week, using the job search methods that are customary in your field. You must keep a record of your contacts and work search efforts.

If you're offered a suitable position, you must accept it. Whether work is suitable depends on many factors, including your fitness for the job, your previous work experience and training, how much the job pays, the working conditions, the commute, and how long you have been unemployed.

Amount and Duration of Unemployment Benefits in New Hampshire

If you are eligible to receive unemployment, you can look up your weekly benefit amount in the New Hampshire Benefit Amount Schedule. The maximum weekly benefit amount is currently $427; the minimum amount is currently $32.

You may receive benefits for a maximum of 26 weeks. (In times of very high unemployment, additional weeks of benefits may be available.)

How to File a Claim for Unemployment Benefits in New Hampshire

You may file your claim for unemployment benefits online at the NHES File For Benefits page. You may also file your claim in person, at the claims office that serves your area. You can find addresses and hours for these offices at the website of New Hampshire Employment Security.

After you file, you will receive a monetary determination from the NHES, stating the wages reported by your employers during your base period and how much you can expect to receive in benefits.

How to Appeal a Denial of Unemployment Benefits in New Hampshire

If your unemployment claim is denied, you may file an appeal within 14 days. You may appeal by mail, fax, or in person to the Appeals Unit of New Hampshire Employment Security. You may also file your appeal online at the NHES website.

The New Hampshire Appeal Tribunal conducts unemployment appeals. A hearing is usually conducted by a single officer, called a Chairman. You will be able to present evidence and witness testimony at the hearing. The Chairman will mail a decision to the parties after the hearing.

If you disagree with the Chairman's decision, you have 14 days to ask the Commissioner of New Hampshire Employment Security to reopen your appeal. If the Commissioner denies your request, you may appeal to the Appellate Board of New Hampshire Employment Security.

For more information on the unemployment process, including current eligibility requirements and benefits amounts, visit the website of New Hampshire Employment Security.

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