Categories: Strategy & Industry Insights, Unemployment,
File name: content.php

Unemployment Vocabulary Lesson Part 2

Unemployment can feel like another universe sometimes. Part of the mystique is simply due to vocabulary. Here are some more words and phrases that are used regularly in Unemployment that can help you understand things a little better.

Base Period
The last lesson talked about what it meant to be a “base period employer”. In this definition, the base period is the time frame the state looks at to pull wages to create a claim for the claimant. The Base Period is the first four completed quarters of the last five quarters. Refer to the table below:

The Lag Quarter and the quarter the claim is filed in are not considered when the claim is filed. This is due to the fact that the wages earned in those quarters are either in the process of being reported or have not yet been reported. So if someone files a claim in October of 2012 the base period will be July 2011 – June 2012. This is the reason we tend to tell employers that you can possibly have liability on any former employee for roughly 18 months after they leave your employment.

Benefit Year
This is a much simpler calculation. The benefit year is the time frame the claimant has to collect on their claim. It is a 52 week year that begins on the Sunday of the week the claim is filed. ODJFS considers a work week as Sunday – Saturday, so all of their payments are based on that schedule.

Weekly Benefit Amount
The weekly benefit amount (WBA) is the amount a claimant is eligible to collect each week they are on unemployment. This amount is determined based on the average weekly wage that was earned during employment. The average weekly wage is determined by taking the total gross wages earned during the base period and dividing by the number of weeks worked. The weekly benefit is roughly half of the average weekly wage. Each employer in the base period is liable for a portion of these charges, based on how much they paid compared to other employers.
There are maximum weekly benefit amounts that can be paid that are based on average weekly wages and number of dependants.


# of Dependants



Claim Total







1 or 2





3 or more




The ODJFS has a benefits calculator on their website.

Allowable Dependants
Spouses and children may be claimed as dependants if a few criteria are met. To claim a spouse, they must be legally married to the claimant, be living with them at the time of the claim filing and have an average weekly wage that is less than 25% of the claimant’s average weekly wage.
To claim a child as a dependant the child must be under 18 and have more than half of their support coming from the claimant.
Additional details and criteria for claiming dependants can be found on the ODJFS website.

Are there any words you hear regarding unemployment that you need defined? Let us know!


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *