This page will be updated continuously to reflect the most recent information. This page was last updated on May 27, 2020.
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act will provide additional funding to Hawaii’s Unemployment Insurance (UI) program to increase the amount of benefits, who can receive them, and the duration. In addition, the Hawaii Department of Labor and Industrial Relations has waived the one-week waiting period to file a UI claim and the requirement to search for three jobs weekly.
Am I eligible?
If your employer closes, your work hours are cut, or you are directed by your employer to remain home, you are likely to be eligible for Unemployment Insurance.
The CARES Act will also expand UI to cover individuals who are self-employed or independent contractors.
How much money could I receive?
Your weekly benefit amount would be based on your past wages. To get an estimate of your weekly benefit amount, you can use the Hawaii Unemployment Insurance Benefits Estimator.
In 2020, Hawaii maximum weekly benefits is $648. The CARES Act will add an additional $600 a week to the benefit amount until July 31, 2020. In addition, the normal maximum benefit duration of 26 weeks has been extended to 39 weeks.
How do I apply?
The recommended way to apply is by using the new online Initial Claim Application. You must file your claim during these hours:
Monday through Friday
6:30 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. HST
Weekends and Holidays
9:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. HST
If you do not have access to a computer, you can arrange a phone appointment by calling (808) 762-5752 between the business hours of 7:45 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Local unemployment offices are currently closed to walk-in services.
How do I check my claim status?
Update 4/15/20: Added claim status website.
Due to the large volume of claims during the emergency, DLIR estimates it will take up to a month to receive the first payment. Do not refile your claim if you are waiting for a response. You can check your claim status online using the new Claim Status website.
How do I recertify my UI claim?
Update 5/14/20: Added recommended filing schedule.
After your initial claim is filed, you must file a recertification each week if you are still unemployed. To file each week, you will need to make an account on huiclaims.hawaii.gov, log in to your account, and use the “File a Claim Certification” option.
Due to the high volume, DLIR has requested that claimants file on specific days based on their last name:
- Monday: A – G
- Tuesday: H – O
- Wednesday: P – Z
- Thursday to Sunday: Anyone can file
What should I do if I am self-employed or an independent contractor?
Update 5/6/20: Added self-employment resources.
You can apply for the newly created Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program using the web portal at pua.hawaii.gov. To qualify, you must have been denied regular unemployment benefits.
As of April 27, 2020, you can submit a PUA pre-application, but it will not be processed yet. By May 15, 2020, filers will be sent an e-mail with additional information.
Will UI affect my Supplemental Security Income (SSI)?
Yes. The first $20 of UI will be ignored. After that, each dollar of UI benefits will reduce SSI benefits by one dollar.
Because of the large increase in UI benefits, filing a weekly UI claim is likely to make you ineligible for SSI payment. SSI payment can be suspended up to one year and reinstated without a new application, so it would be possible to claim 39 weeks of UI benefits, then reinstate your SSI when those benefits end.
Will UI affect my Medicaid health insurance?
Update 4/15/20: Added clarification of what part of UI is counted by Medicaid.
Hawaii’s Medicaid program, provided through the Med-QUEST Division, is not counting the enhanced Unemployment Insurance benefits as income or assets when determining eligibility. This means that the additional $600/week of UI added through the CARES Act is not counted as income, but the normal unemployment benefits received based on past wages will be counted.
Furthermore, Med-QUEST Division has stopped all Medicaid terminations during the national emergency. Anyone who had Medicaid coverage on 3/18/20 or who became eligible after that date will maintain coverage, even if they receive a notice stating otherwise.
Will UI affect my Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefit?
Update 5/27/20: Amended based on updated information provided by BESSD.
SNAP Administrators have confirmed that UI benefits will be counted as unearned income and will affect SNAP eligibility. It’s recommended that you contact your SNAP office upon receiving UI benefits to avoid SNAP overpayment.
Will UI affect my Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), Childhood Disability Benefit (CDB), or Disabled Widow’s Benefit (DWB)?
No, these benefits are not affected by unearned income, including Unemployment Insurance.
However, Hawaii will offset the amount of UI you receive if you are receiving certain disability benefits at the same time. You should report receiving SSDI/CDB/DWB when you file an unemployment claim to avoid overpayment.
Will UI affect my Medicare health insurance?
No, this type of coverage is not affected by unearned income.