[Background image: Picture of Carly, a Customer Service Representative]
Hi, I’m Carly, a Customer Service Representative for the Minnesota Unemployment Insurance Program.
In this video, I’ll explain how unemployment benefits paid to a former employee are charged to your unemployment insurance employer account, why this matters to you, and how you can review these charges.
When an individual applies for unemployment benefits, the Unemployment Insurance Program assigns a “base period” that is used to determine how much the applicant might get in benefits if he or she is eligible.
The base period also determines which employers will be charged for any benefits that are paid.
An applicant’s base period is always four calendar quarters. The exact base period for an applicant is determined by law. It can start as many as sixteen months prior to when they apply for benefits.
The employers an applicant worked for during his or her base period are called “base period employers.”
All base period employers are notified when an applicant applies for benefits. They will be charged for any benefits paid to the applicant in proportion to the total amount of wages they paid in the base period.
For example, an employer who paid 100% of the wages in the applicant’s base period will be charged for 100% of the benefits paid. An employer that paid 50% will be charged for 50% of the benefits paid.
There are two types of employers: tax-paying and reimbursing.
Tax-paying employers are assigned a tax rate that is the result of dividing the total taxable wages they paid in the last four years into the benefits charged to their account.
This calculation is called an “experience rate” and is recalculated for each employer for each calendar year.
Tax-paying employers pay a tax every quarter based on their tax rate and the amount of taxable wages they paid to their employees.
Reimbursing employers are governmental entities and charitable non-profits.
They simply make a payment to the Unemployment Insurance Program for the benefits paid to their former employees in the previous quarter.
Whether you are a tax-paying or reimbursing employer, charges to your account matter.
If you’re a tax-paying employer, charges will affect your future tax rates. If you’re a reimbursing employer, charges result in a bill you have to pay.
Charges cannot accrue to your account if the applicant is not eligible for benefits or if one of the exceptions to charging that exist under the law applies.
When an applicant applies for benefits, we notify the applicant’s base period employers and give each of them a chance to let us know if there is a reason the applicant should not be eligible for benefits or the employer should not be charged.
The notice a base period employer receives provides a partial list of “issues” the employer can “raise” to let us know if the applicant should not be found eligible or the employer should not be charged.
There will be a link to more information about when employers ARE NOT charged at the end of this video.
Even if an applicant is initially found eligible, as a base period employer, you can watch your charges and let us know if the applicant has returned to work for you or another employer and may be failing to let us know about their new employment.
Finally, by watching your charges, you can anticipate changes in your tax rate (or the bill you will get as a reimbursing employer) and plan accordingly.
Now let’s take a look at how you can review the charge information available from your online account. We’ll show you three different ways to access the information: Calendar Year Summary and Detail Benefits Paid Charges by Applicant, and Fiscal Year Summary.
To begin, log in to your account. It’s always a good idea to start at www.uimn.org. Select Employers & Agents and then click “Log in to my Account.”
Enter your User ID and Password, click Login, and you will be taken to the home page for your employer account.
From the home page, you’ll see a number of menu options. Depending on the access your System Administrator has assigned to you, you may not see ALL the menu options shown here.
To view benefit charges, select the option titled “Benefit Paid Charge Activities.”
You will notice there are a number of options for viewing the charges to your account.
Benefits Paid Charges by Applicant allows you to look up benefits paid and charges for a single applicant. This works well if you know which individual you are looking for.
Calendar Year Summary and Detail allows you to “drill down” into charges starting with a calendar year and then working your way down to the charge records associated with an individual applicant.
Fiscal Year Summary allows you to look at charges to your account based on the experience rating period. The experience rating period for all employers is the four year period ending on the previous June 30th.
Near the bottom of the page, you’ll see an option to download a file of your charges.
You should NOT select this option unless you are very comfortable with spreadsheets. We will not be discussing this option here.
Charge data are updated once a day. You will be able to see yesterday’s transactions, but not transactions that occurred today. The download option is only updated after a calendar quarter is completed.
Let’s start with Calendar Year Summary and Detail. This is probably the most useful way to review your benefit charges and a good way to understand the features available in the other views.
You’ll see benefit paid charge activity summarized by year.
You can click a year to get more detail or enter a Social Security number along with a quarter and year. Let’s just click a year.
If the year you clicked is completed, you’ll see four quarters. If the year is not completed, you’ll see only the current and completed quarters. Click the quarter you wish to review.
You will now be able to see all the applicants who were paid and had benefit paid charges for the calendar quarter selected.
If you’re a large employer with a lot of former employees who have applied for benefits, there could be a lot of records on this page.
There are a number of columns on this page worth noting:
The Begin Benefit Account date is the first day of the applicant’s benefit account.
It will always be a Sunday. An applicant can receive payment on this benefit account for any week during the one year period following the Begin Benefit Account date.
The Base Period is a one year period of time made up of four calendar quarters. Base periods can cross calendar years. Notice that the base period began quite a bit before the Benefit Account Date.
Even if an applicant left your employment a year ago, he or she may still have wages from you in their base period.
Wages Paid are the wages YOU paid this individual during the base period.
Percent Benefits Paid is the percent of all the applicant’s base period wages you paid.
If you were the only employer in the applicant’s base period, this will be 100%. If it’s less than 100%, there were other employers in the applicant’s base period.
Benefits Paid Charges lists the amount of benefits paid to each applicant during the year and quarter you selected that will be charged to your employer account.
Remember, applicants can receive payments in more than one quarter and more than one year.
You can click an applicant’s Social Security number to see more detail for that applicant.
The detail information for each applicant will have a few more pieces of information.
The Maximum Estimated Amount of Benefits Paid is the maximum amount that might be charged to your account if the applicant is paid all the benefits for which he or she might be eligible.
You can think of this as the maximum amount of benefit charges that could be charged to your account for this applicant.
Charge Relieve Date will have a date only if you have been relieved of benefit charges.
Benefits paid, if any, for periods after this date WILL NOT be charged to your account. Remember, there will be a link to more information about when charges are relieved at the end of this video.
There are links near the bottom of the page that allow you to select other quarters in the same year.
The detail rows list all the transactions that can result in charges or adjustment to charges. The most common activity will be Payments.
The Transaction Date is the date a benefit payment or adjustment occurred. If the applicant requests payment for a week, the transaction date is usually the day the request was made.
The Requested Week column lists the weeks for which the applicant requested benefits. Weeks always begin on a Sunday and are usually the week before the transaction date.
The Charge Date is the day the particular transaction was written to your charge record. Typically, the charge date is the day after the transaction date.
Finally, you’ll see the amount charged in the Benefits Paid Charged column.
Now, let’s look at an example of how you can use this information.
Let’s suppose you had a brief layoff and you wanted to make sure that none of your employees accidentally continued to request benefits after they returned to work.
This page would help you see which weeks they requested benefits for and whether or not they received a payment for the week.
Remember, if they got paid for the week there will be an amount in the Benefits Paid Charged.
If you were the applicant’s only base period employer and Benefits Paid Charged equals the applicant’s weekly benefit amount—usually about one half of the applicant’s gross, weekly wage
—you know the applicant was paid full benefits for the week and this suggests the applicant failed to report earnings for the week.
So one use of this information is to help you identify any weeks the applicant may have received benefits to which they were not entitled.
This doesn’t happen that often, but it’s important for the integrity of the program AND an easy way to avoid being charged for benefits when you should not be.
There will be a link at the end of this video on Raising an Issue.
Now let’s take a quick look at the other two views starting with Benefits Paid Charges by Applicant.
Enter your former employee’s Social Security number or first and last name and then enter the year you would like to review.
Choose the year during which payments would have been made. Remember, an applicant’s benefit year can cross calendar years.
You can only search one year at a time. You may have to search different years to find the information you’re looking for.
When you click Search, your former employee’s name will display along with the Total Benefits Paid and Charged to your account in the calendar year selected.
You can see details of the payments made by clicking the applicant’s Social Security number.
On the detail page, you’ll see the same information we covered in the Calendar Year Summary and Detail section.
Finally, let’s take a look at the Fiscal Year Summary. Remember, this view allows you to review charges for the experience rating period.
The experience rating period is always four years and ends on June 30th of the previous year.
The Benefits Paid Charges Fiscal Year Summary page will display the total charges for the current year and each of the previous five completed experience rating years, if they exist.
Notice that the time period for each of the years starts on July 1st and, if the year is completed, ends on June 30th.
This is the page you might choose if you are trying to estimate your tax rate for future years.
I hope you’ve found this video helpful in understanding how to view charges on your account.
Remember: Base period employers are charged for benefits paid to former employees.
You can review your charges to better understand and track your unemployment insurance costs.
You can also use benefit charge information to ensure that former and current employees are not receiving benefits during periods when they should not be eligible.
If you have any questions or you need assistance, call Customer Service.
[Screen text: Call Customer Service, 651-296-6141, press 4 to speak to a representative | Links for more information: Log in to my account, Raise an Issue, Charges Resulting From Benefits Paid (includes information about exceptions and relieved charges), Video Library]