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Wages used to establish an account

In order for wages to be included in the establishing of an account, they must be earned in "covered" employment.

Your benefits are based on the amount of earnings (gross wages) paid to you from all covered employers during a recent 52-week period of time. This is called your base period. Commissions, bonuses, overtime, vacation pay, severance pay (depending on timing), and wages earned in other states are included. Earnings from self-employment are usually not included.

Your benefits will be based on wages paid by all employers in your base period. You must provide information about all your employment in the past 18 months. Employers who did not cause you to be unemployed will usually not be affected by your receipt of benefits.

What is covered employment?

Covered" employment and noncovered employment are defined in Minnesota Law; §268.035 Subd.12 and Subd.20. Wages earned in covered" employment can be used to establish an unemployment benefit account. Noncovered" employment cannot be used. Most employment is covered.

"Noncovered" employment includes, but is not limited* to:

  1. Employment by most churches or religious organizations
  2. As a sheltered worker in a rehabilitation facility
  3. In a government work relief or training program
  4. Student employment/work study
  5. Academic and hospital internships, and student nursing
  6. Services performed for a sole proprietor by their parent, spouse, or child under the age of 18
  7. Commission-based insurance and real estate sales, and employment as a direct seller
  8. Agricultural employment if performed for someone who did not pay $20,000 in wages in a calendar quarter in the current or prior calendar year AND who did not employ four or more employees and provide employment in 20 weeks in the current or prior calendar year.

*For a complete listing of noncovered employment, reference Minnesota Law, §268.035 Subd.20

Wages Earned:



In Another State

To establish a Minnesota unemployment benefit account using wages from another state, you must have at least some wages in your base period that were paid by a Minnesota employer. If you did not work in Minnesota during your base period and your employment was in another state(s) or U.S. territory(ies), you should contact the state in which you last worked to apply for unemployment benefits.

In the Federal Government

All federal civilian wages can be used, but if you had no covered employment in Minnesota, you must apply against the state of your last federal duty station. If your last duty station was in another country, and you reside in Minnesota, you can apply to Minnesota.

In the Military

To use military wages to establish an account, you must:

  • be physically present in Minnesota to establish a Minnesota account; and,
  • have completed your first term of service and been discharged under honorable conditions.

If you did not complete your first term of service, your branch of service determines your eligibility for unemployment benefits based on the narrative reason for your discharge.

National Guard or Military Reserve wages can be used if earned in unbroken active duty for 90 days or more, with an honorable discharge.


As an Independent Contractor

Independent contractors operate an independent business wherein they contract with other businesses and individuals to provide a service.

If you receive a form 1099 instead of a W-2 form, this is an indication that your employer considered you self-employed and not covered by unemployment insurance. If you were indeed self-employed, those earnings cannot be used in computing your unemployment benefits.

If your employer treated you as an independent contractor, but you believe your working relationship and responsibilities were those of an employee, or are not sure, complete the Wage and Employer Correction sheet included with your Determination of Benefit Account. Include a brief description of your job situation with this employer, along with a note regarding the type of work you did and how you were paid. A department auditor may contact you and the employer before the customer service specialist determines your status.


From Workers' Compensation

Unless you have been disabled from working for two years or more, you may still qualify for unemployment benefits. Try to give accurate dates of all periods in the past 18 months that you received wage loss payments under Workers' Compensation or other insurance.
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