How to Calculate Gross Wages for Unemployment Benefits

by Larry Simmons ; Updated September 11, 2015
With a calculator and a copy of past pay stubs, you can determine your gross wages for unemployment benefits.

The level of unemployment benefits a worker is eligible to receive depends largely on that employee’s gross wages during the eligibility period. For a worker, a gross wage is simply everything earned during the period before the removal of taxes or any special payments. Because an eligibility period may extend more than a year into the past, determining the gross wages can mean tracking payments made from multiple sources. Because of this, some basic calculation is required to figure out the wage amount used as a base for the benefit level.

Examine your paystub. Locate your net pay, the amount of money you take home each payday, and the deductions taken from net pay such as state and federal taxes, social security and insurance costs. Write down these amounts.

Add the deductions to your net pay to calculate the gross pay for the pay period.

Repeat the process for each month during the last complete four calendar quarters. Each calendar quarter is three months, with the first quarter of the year beginning in January. If your income was from more than one source, repeat the gross pay calculation for each and add all income sources together for the month.

Add the pay for each month in the last four completed quarters to calculate the gross wages used to determine the level of your unemployment benefits.

About the Author

Larry Simmons is a freelance writer and expert in the fusion of computer technology and business. He has a B.S. in economics, an M.S. in information systems, an M.S. in communications technology, as well as significant work towards an M.B.A. in finance. He's published several hundred articles with Demand Studios.

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