Rhode Island Unemployment Guide

If you've recently lost your job in Rhode Island, you may be eligible for Rhode Island Unemployment Insurance benefits. This is a guide to filing your claim for Rhode Island unemployment benefits. Since each situation may have its own unique circumstances, make sure you check with the contact numbers and websites listed below to make sure you get the maximum benefits you can claim.

Filing for Unemployment:

Unemployed Rhode Island workers can file an initial claim for unemployment benefits one of two ways:

  1. Online – File your initial unemployment claim online
  2. Telephone – File your unemployment claim via telephone at 401-243-9100 (Mon - Tues 7:30am to 5:30pm, Weds - Thurs 7:30am to Noon, Fri 9:00am - 3:00pm, closed Thurs in January)

File your claim right away after you've stopped working – don't delay. Your claim starts the week you file. Unemployment benefits are not retroactive, so if you delay you may lose benefits.

  • Name, address & phone
  • SSN & date of birth
  • Drivers license or State issued ID
  • Name, address, phone number, gross earnings, occupation, dates worked, and reason for separation for all employers for the past 18 months
  • If you were discharged from the military in the last 18 months, you'll need Copy #4 of your DD Form 214
  • If you were a Federal employee in the last 18 months, you'll need SF 8 or SF 50 (or W2 or pay stubs)
  • If you are not a US Citizen, you'll need your Alien Registration Number, expiration, and type
  • Your Employer Information Form (if you have one)
  • Dependent children names, birth date and SSN
  • Blank check if requesting direct deposit

After filing your initial unemployment claim, you will receive a Determination Notice , describing benefits, eligibility and giving additional information.

-- Find jobs in Rhode Island

Filing Your Weekly Claim:

Rhode Island weekly unemployment benefits are based on 4.62% of your highest quarter's wages, with a minimum of $68/week to a maximum $546 per week. You may also claim a dependent allowance of an additional 5% for each dependent (up to 5) with a minimum of $10 per dependent. Federal Additional Compensation (FAC) currently adds an additional $25 per week to your benefit.

Unemployed Rhode Island workers can file weekly unemployment claims one of two ways:

  1. Online – File your weekly unemployment claim online (Sunday 12:01am - Monday 5:30am, and weekdays from 7:00am to 6:30pm and from 9:00pm to 5:30am)�
  2. Telephone – File your weekly unemployment claim using by calling the Rhode Island TeleServe system at 401-243-9600 (Sunday 12:01am - Monday 5:30am, and weekdays from 3:00pm to 6:30pm and from 9:00pm to 5:30am)

Online and TeleServe claims are unavailable weekdays from 5:30am - 7:00am and from 6:30pm - 9:00pm

Beware of the Waiting Week. Your first week of benefits is called a "waiting week" – this means you will not be paid benefits during your first week of eligibility, but you must still file a claim to get credit for waiting.

Expect your first unemployment benefit payment within 4 weeks of your initial filing. Expect your unemployment benefits to be transferred to your debit card or direct deposit account within 48 hours of approval.

Unemployment Benefits:

Health care benefits may also be available through the Health Coverage Tax Credit - Check COBRA and The IRS for details.

Rhode Island workers may be eligible for online career and training assistance at netWORKri online or a local netWORKri center. Unemployed Rhode Island workers may be eligible for free credit courses at any Rhode Island state university, subject to class availability (you are still responsible for fees, books, and other student expenses other than course tuition). Call 401-243-9100 or check online for more information.

Filing for extensions:

If an extended benefit period is declared, based on unemployment rates, and it appears that you qualify, you will be notified with instructions to extend your unemployment benefits.

Ending Unemployment:

When you return to work, file for credit for the remaining few days you didn't work, and report wages earned for the week. Then, just stop filing - when you stop weekly filing, your unemployment benefits automatically end.


Make sure to keep a copy of your work search record. You may be required to supply copies to the Rhode Island Department of Labor & Training.

If you receive a busy signal when you call, try again during a less busy period. Call volumes can be busy Monday - Tuesday. The easiest times to call are late each day, and towards the end of the week.

-- Find jobs in Rhode Island

Read Full Story