Know Your Rights: You may be eligible for unemployment benefits due to a new policy issued by the Department of Unemployment Assistance (DUA)

With many public schools shifting fully online and limited spots available in child care programs, many working parents are struggling to find care for their children. However, a recent policy change from the Massachusetts Department of Unemployment Assistance (DUA) may offer some support for parents who are not working because they need to care for a child or supervise remote learning. A brief summary of the policy can be found below to help parents navigate these changes. To read the policy itself, please click here.

To receive Unemployment Insurance, there is a requirement that one prove they are available for “suitable work” in their occupation and that they have “good cause” to refuse such work. According to the recent DUA policy, a parent has good cause to refuse work
and may be eligible for unemployment benefits if:

  1. The jobs available to them pose a “substantial risk” to their health or the health of their household, including their child.
  2. They need to care for their child full-time because no other care, including in-person school, is available. Please note that to evaluate whether schooling is available, the DUA refers to the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance policy which considers schools that are fully online to be “closed,” and schools that are hybrid to “closed” on the days in which the child cannot attend in person.
  3. Their child’s circumstances make them unable to attend in-person school. For example, if the child is unable to wear PPE because of their mental/physical health or they are too young.If workers were denied UI during the pandemic despite meeting these conditions, they may now be eligible for benefits under the new policy.

General information on Massachusetts unemployment insurance can be found here:


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