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How to claim dependency benefits, if you're eligible

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If your weekly benefit rate is less than the maximum weekly benefit rate and you have dependents, you may qualify for Dependency Benefits. Dependency Benefits will increase your weekly benefit rate.

Dependency Benefits are equal to 7 percent of your weekly benefit rate for the first dependent, and 4 percent for each of the next two dependents.

The maximum amount of Dependency Benefits you can collect is an additional 15 percent of your weekly benefit rate for up to three dependents. Dependency Benefits will only increase your weekly benefit rate up to the maximum weekly benefit rate, as no claimant can receive more than the maximum weekly benefit rate.

The following rules apply:

  • You need to apply for Dependency Benefits within 6 weeks of the date of claim or you will be ineligible to receive Dependency Benefits for the duration of the claim. No Dependency Benefits will be paid until proof is provided to the Division.
  • If your spouse/civil union partner is employed during the week you establish your claim, you cannot receive Dependency Benefits.
  • A dependent is defined as an unemployed spouse/civil union partner or an unemployed, unmarried child (including stepchild or legally adopted child) under the age of 19 (or 22 if the child is attending school full-time).
  • If you and your spouse/civil union partner are both unemployed, only one may claim Dependency Benefits.
  • You will be asked to provide the social security number(s) of your spouse/civil union partner and other claimed dependents.
  • You will be asked to provide proof of dependency. The Division will accept, as verification of dependency status, a copy of your most recent federal or state income tax return. If this is unavailable or insufficient to provide current dependency status, the Division may consider a combination of the following documents: birth, baptismal or marriage certificate(s), civil union license(s), certified divorce, dissolution, child support, annulment or adoption order(s) or any other legal documents.
  • No one may receive more than the maximum Weekly Benefit Amount.

How to apply

If you indicate that you are interested in Dependency Benefits when you submit your claim, you will get an email with instructions and a link to the application.

Otherwise, you need to call us within six weeks of submitting your claim. An agent will send you an email with instructions and a link to the application.

You'll receive an email determination letting you know if you're eligible for Dependency Benefits or not. If you are eligible, you'll get a letter in the mail with your new benefit rate. Remember to keep certifying for benefits while you're waiting for our determination.