Guide to Puerto Rico Unemployment Benefits
If you lose your job in Puerto Rico through no fault of your own, you may be eligible to receive PR unemployment benefits. This guide can help you understand which workers are eligible for Puerto Rico unemployment benefits, as well as how to apply for unemployment and what documents you'll need to have at the time of your application. For more in-depth information about PR unemployment benefits, including whether your specific situation qualifies, you may want to contact an unemployment attorney.
Who May be Paid Puerto Rico Unemployment Benefits?
In order to qualify for PR unemployment benefits, you will need to have worked a qualifying amount of time. Typically, this will require that you have performed work in at least three of the last four calendar quarters. You will also need to show that you are unemployed through no fault of your own, which typically means that you will need to have been fired but not for wrongdoing.
In some situations, employees who have quit a job may be eligible for Puerto Rico unemployment benefits. If you left your job due to harassment or discrimination, or were fired due to excessive absences due to medical reasons, you may still be able to collect PR unemployment benefits in spite of leaving “voluntarily.”
In order to continue receiving Puerto Rico unemployment benefits, you must be able to show the Department of Labor that you are actively seeking work and have not turned down offers for suitable employment.
Currently, PR unemployment benefits lag significantly behind those in U.S. states. While unemployed workers in many places can receive $500 or more in one week, even a highly-paid worker's Puerto Rico unemployment benefits will be no more than $133 per week. While this is unlikely to be sufficient compensation for most workers, you may also be able to seek out help from human services agencies to help you survive while you are unemployed.
What Documents Do I Need?
In order to apply for PR unemployment benefits, you will need to know your social security number (SSN), as well as the contact information for all of your employers in the last 18 months (the time period used to compute your base wages, which your unemployment compensation will be based upon). You will also need to know the date you were terminated on, and proof that you were not fired due to misconduct.
How Do I Apply for Puerto Rico Unemployment Benefits?
If you have gathered your documentation and are ready to claim weeks of PR unemployment benefits, you can begin at this website: https://patronos.dtrh.gobierno.pr/serviciosdesempleo/. Claims for Puerto Rico unemployment benefits are available in both English and Spanish, and can be completed entirely online once your initial application is complete.
Initial applications for PR unemployment benefits must begin over the phone or in person, and cannot be created online. You can start by calling 787-945-7900 if you are not sure where your local office for Puerto Rico unemployment benefits is located.