All states, including New York, provide weekly unemployment benefits to those who are unable to find work through no fault of their own. When moving out of the state while receiving benefit payments, the claimant must contact the New York State Department of Labor (NYDOL) to alert the agency of the move, so their claim can be transferred to their new state.
New York State Unemployment Benefits
Unemployment insurance (UI) benefits are a weekly stipend from the state of New York for workers who have lost a job and meet specific eligibility requirements. Unemployed workers seeking UI must:
- Have had enough employment to establish a UI claim.
- Have lost their job through no fault of their own.
- Be available, able and willing to work.
- Be actively seeking work while collecting benefits.
Applicants who have worked in New York in the past 18 months have the right to file a benefit claim. Even if they are not certain if they’re eligible, the state Department of Labor (NYSDOL) suggests they file nonetheless – it will independently review their claim and eligibility after it has all the necessary information.
Unemployment Eligibility Requirements in New York
The following are conditions that are required of UI claimants. They must have lost their job through no fault of their own due to:
- Lack of work.
- End of seasonal or temporary employment.
- Job elimination.
- Involuntary reduction in force.
- Employer downsized, shut down, restructured or reorganized.
- Lack of operating funds/orders.
- Any other reason that the employee did not control or choose.
- Discharge or firing because the claimant could not do the job or didn’t have the right qualifications.
- Quitting a job with “good cause.”
Independent contractors (self-employed) cannot collect UI benefits in New York, but the state may consider some to be employees under its unemployment laws. Educators with typical vacation periods or between school terms cannot file for UI benefits.
How Much Are UI Benefit Amounts in New York?
According to the NYSDOL, a claimant can collect up to $504 per week in UI benefits. If they earn less than $3,575 in their highest paid quarter, their wages are divided by 25 to calculate their weekly payments.
Claimants can get benefits for up to 26 weeks. If they are still unemployed when their regular benefits run out, New York state has an Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) program. It may also extend benefits during periods of high unemployment, like it did at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Partial Unemployment Insurance Benefits
Applicants who work 30 hours or fewer and make less than $504 weekly can still get partial benefits. The NYSDOL uses an “hours-based” process for part-time workers – they can work up to seven days a week without having benefits reduced for each day they work.
Instead, UI payments are reduced in increments of their total hours of work each week. If they exceed 30 hours or $504, they will not receive UI payments that week.
Moving Out of New York State and Collecting UI
A person who wishes to move out of New York and still collect UI benefits must contact the NYSDOL’s Telephone Claim Center (TCC) and let the agency know of their impending move. It will assist the claimant in transferring their claim, as they must register for employment services in their new state of residence.
They can contact the TCC at 888-209-8124 from Monday to Friday 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Due to the volume of calls, the claimant may have to wait a long time, but they should stay on the line nonetheless.
Collecting New York UI and Living Out of State
A person who lives in a different state can still file a UI claim in New York. However, all of their work in the past 18 months must be in New York state. For example, if they live in New Jersey and worked in New York City for that time, they would file for UI benefits in New York.
Applicants who worked in two or more states in the preceding 18 months can file a UI claim in any of the states where they were employed, no matter where they reside.
They can combine earnings from all the states they were employed in at that time, or they can report just the wages they earned in the state where they file. When they file a claim, the agency gives them filing options for receiving the highest amount of benefits.
Filing an Unemployment Insurance Claim in New York
Claimants should file for UI benefits during their first week of partial or total unemployment. They cannot file for any week if they worked at least 30 hours or made more than $504 for that week – they must wait until the following Monday to file if they are still unemployed.
Claimants can send a letter requesting credit for a period in which they did not file a claim to the New York State Department of Labor, Central Support Unit, P.O. Box 15130, Albany, NY 12212. The letter should include their name, contact information, Social Security number, dates for which they are requesting credit and the reasons they did not file the claim.
Creating an Online Account
Applicants must create a NY.gov ID account and create a PIN if they have not filed previously for UI benefits and input certain information:
- Social Security number.
- Driver’s license or state-issued ID card number.
- Full mailing address with Zip code.
- Phone number where they can be reached during business hours.
- Alien Registration card number (applicable only for non-U.S. citizens).
- Names and contact information of employers over the past 18 months.
- Employer Registration number or Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN) of their most recent employer.
- Forms SF8 and SF50 (applicable only to federal employees).
- Most recent military service separation form (DD 214), if applicable.
After a Claim Is Processed
Claimants who are eligible for UI will generally see their first payment in two to three weeks from the time of submitting their application, but it could take longer. To keep payments on track, they should respond to the NYSDOL as quickly as possible; failure to do so may delay or cause a suspension of their claim.
Successful applicants will receive a Monetary Determination notice in the mail. This gives them their weekly benefit rate and the base period, employers and wages used to calculate it. Applicants who feel there are errors regarding the amount of benefits they are to receive must fill out a Request for Reconsideration form with proof of their employment and earnings.
Weekly Certification of Benefits
In order to keep receiving UI benefits, the claimant must certify for them each week. They can begin the process as soon as they get notification from the NYSDOL. Certifying lets the agency know that the claimant was out of work for all or part of the past week, and that they have met the necessary requirements to continue receiving benefits.
For example, they were ready, willing and able to work and actively looking for a job. Certification can be done online through the claimant’s UI account or through NYSDOL’s Telephone Claim Center at 888-581-5812.
Maintaining a Job Search Record
New York state requires claimants to keep a weekly Work Search Record while receiving benefits, and the NYSDOL can ask to see it at any time. It should include dates, how contact was attempted, the name and contact information of the potential employer, and information on the open position.
A claimant who knowingly gives the NYSDOL false information risks a denial of benefits. Claimants must use the agency’s JobZone website when keeping a record of their online searches. They can also use a Work Search Record form from the claimant handbook.
How Applicants Receive UI Benefits
Claimants can have their benefits deposited into a checking account if their bank participates in such a program. They can begin, update or cancel direct deposit using their online UI account. When registering direct deposit, applicants must input their checking account number and bank routing number. If they have received benefits via direct deposit before, payments will go to the account on file with the NYSOL.
Claimants can also receive funds via debit card. If they have received UI payments in this way before, and their card has expired or they no longer have one, they must call KeyBank at 866-295-2955 for a new card.
Reasons for Denial of UI Claim
The NYSDOL may deny benefits to a claimant for a few weeks or permanently for a variety of reasons. For example:
- They were fired for violating a company’s policies, rules or procedures, like being frequently absent or insubordinate.
- They quit their job without good cause.
- They lost work due to a work stoppage in the last 14 days due to violating a collective bargaining agreement at their company (there is an exception for lockouts). Claimants do not need to take part in the strike because they only need to be out of work.
Applicants who do not have transportation or childcare or those who are too ill or injured to work may not receive benefits. Claimants who did not look for work, accept a reasonable job offer, or who started a training or school program may also miss out on payments.
Appealing a Denial of Benefits
Applicants who are denied UI benefits can appeal the department’s decision. They may request a hearing with an administrative law judge of the New York Unemployment Insurance Appeal Board and they have the right to bring an attorney to the hearing.
To do this, they must send a message to the NYSDOL via their UI account or they can complete a Claimant Hearing Request Form and send it to the New York State Department of Labor, P.O. Box 15131, Albany, NY 12212-5131.
The claimant must make this request within 30 days from their determination notice date. If the appeal is successful, they’ll receive back benefits for the time in which they waited for the decision about their claim. If they are unsuccessful, they can file an appeal with the Unemployment Insurance Appeal Board within 20 days of the date of the decision.
If they are still unsuccessful, they can appeal a third time with the Appellate Division of the New York State Supreme Court.
- NYSDOL: Before You Apply for Unemployment Frequently Asked Questions
- NYSDOL: Partial Unemployment Eligibility
- NYSDOL: Workforce Governance
- NYSDOL: Login
- NYSDOL: UI Request for Reconsideration
- NYSDOL: Certify for Weekly Unemployment Insurance Benefits
- NYSDOL: Work Search Frequently Asked Questions
- NYSDOL: JobZone Home
- NYSDOL: Unemployment Insurance Payment Options
- Eligibility.com: New York Unemployment Benefits and Eligibility
Michelle Nati is an associate editor and writer who has reported on legal, criminal and government news for PasadenaNow.com and Complex Media. She holds a B.A. in Communications and English from Niagara University.