Hawaii (HI) Unemployment Insurance

Updated July 5, 2019

In Hawaii, as in every other state, employees who are temporarily out of work through no fault of their own may qualify to collect unemployment benefits.

Unemployment benefits are paid as a matter of legal entitlement and past employment, and not on the basis of need.

Employers pay all UI costs through a tax on their payrolls or on a reimbursable basis. Employees do not contribute any part of their wages to the UI program.


How to qualify for unemployment in Hawaii?

In order to qualify for unemployment in Hawaii, you must meet the following eligibility requirements:

  • Have enough prior earnings from employment to establish a claim.
  • Be totally or partially unemployed.
  • Be unemployed through no fault of your own.
  • Be ready and willing to immediately accept work.
  • Be actively looking for work and make at least three job contacts each week.1

As a condition of eligibility, you must register for work with the State Workforce Development Division (WDD). In addition, you will also need to register with HireNet Hawaii within 7 days of filing an initial UI claim application.2

In addition, you must continue to certify for benefits and meet eligibility requirements each week in order to receive benefit payments.


FAQ

  • What is the maximum unemployment benefit in Hawaii?

    Hawaii is one of two states in which the average UI payment covers more than half of the state’s average weekly wage, up to a maximum of $630 per week.

    For a quick reference, this benefit estimator may be used to estimate the unemployment benefits for which you may be eligible.

  • How long can you collect unemployment in Hawaii?

    In Hawaii, you can collect unemployment benefits for a maximum of 26 full weeks during a one-year period called a “benefit year”.

  • Does Hawaii have unemployment extension?

    Yes, extended benefits may be available for those who continue to be unemployed after exhausting 26 weeks of regular unemployment insurance benefits.

    This extension is a temporary federal program which pays up to 13 weeks of extended unemployment benefits, plus additional 7 weeks for those who qualify.

  • Is Hawaii unemployment taxable?

    Yes, unemployment benefits are considered taxable income. You may elect to withhold 10% for federal taxes and 5% for Hawaii state taxes from your UI benefits.

    To request withholdings, go to: https://uiclaims.hawaii.gov. Login to your online account and under “My Account” click on “Tax Withholdings” and follow the prompts.

  • How do I apply for unemployment benefits in Hawaii?

    Effective October 1, 2014, Hawaii’s telephone claim filing will no longer be available. All claims must be filed online. To file a claim, click here.

    After logging onto the system, select “File an Initial Claim” for a new application or “Reactivation” to restart an unexpired claim for benefits.

If you are denied benefits and disagree with the “Notice of Decision on Unemployment Insurance Claim,” you may either request a reconsideration or file an appeal to the ESARO3 within 10 calendar days after the date the notice was mailed to you.

References
  1. Keep a record of all your work search contacts on Form UC-253, “Record of Contacts Made for Work,” and submit it upon request.
  2. HireNet is the state’s official job placement program administered by the Hawaii’s Department of Labor and Industrial Relations.
  3. Employment Security Appeals Referees’ Office
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