While it may initially sound unlikely, more than a few workers end up living in one state and getting unemployment benefits from another state. This happens in New York as often as anywhere else. The city's workforce includes many employees who live outside the state and commute to New York to work. It's also possible that employees live and work in New York, but move across state lines when they lose their jobs.
TL;DR (Too Long; Didn't Read)
The key question is whether the person worked in New York during the past 18 months. If they did not, they cannot qualify. If they did, they can apply for New York benefits even if they live outside New York. A worker must still meet the other eligibility requirements like not having been fired for fault and continuing to look for work.
In either case, a person who worked in New York state and meets its eligibility requirements will be able to collect unemployment compensation from New York.
New York State Unemployment Insurance Program
The New York State Department of Labor (NYSDOL) handles and manages unemployment insurance claims for the state. An out-of-work employee files a claim with the DOL, and the agency reviews it and determines eligibility. The DOL website provides an online claims process and instructions for filing.
Generally, to be eligible for unemployment insurance benefits, a person must work in New York and:
- Have earnings in a base period that meet certain minimum thresholds.
- Be unemployed through no fault of their own, as defined by New York state law.
- Be available to work.
New York does not impose different requirements for UI eligibility on those who reside in state and those who reside out of state. That means that unemployment eligibility requirements are identical for out-of-state claimants and for New York residents.
UI Eligibility Requirements
In order to claim UI benefits in New York, a person must be out of work through no fault of their own. This means that they were not fired for misdeeds like embezzlement or misconduct on the job. They must also be ready and willing to work.
The minimum earnings requirement is a little more complicated. New York requires a certain amount of wages earned in a base period. That period consists of the earliest four of the five complete calendar quarters before the worker filed a claim for benefit payments. It offers an alternative base period – the last completed four calendar quarters – for workers with more recent earnings.
A worker must have earned wages in at least two of the calendar quarters of their base period, earned at least $2,700 in the highest paid quarter of the base period, and earned during the four-quarter base period at least 150 percent of the amount earned in the highest paid quarter. Wages earned in other states during the base period should also be reported.
When would a worker who lives out of state be eligible for NY unemployment benefits? Remember that the key question is whether the person worked in New York during the past 18 months. If they did not, they cannot qualify. If they did, they can apply for New York benefits even if they live outside New York. A worker must still meet the other eligibility requirements like not having been fired for fault and continuing to look for a new job.
This situation might arise if an employee works in New York but resides in a neighboring state and commutes to work. In that case, the worker should file their unemployment claim with the NYDOL since their work history has been in New York.
This could also happen if the worker lived and worked in the state but moved to a new state when they lost their job, such as to live with family, look for work or take advantage of cheaper living costs. In this case, the relocating worker should file a change of address with the NYDOL if they moved after they began receiving unemployment benefits. They should continue to certify their UI claims and report their job search activities in order to continue collecting their weekly benefit amounts.
Teo Spengler earned a J.D. from U.C. Berkeley's Boalt Hall. As an Assistant Attorney General in Juneau, she practiced before the Alaska Supreme Court and the U.S. Supreme Court before opening a plaintiff's personal injury practice in San Francisco. She holds both an M.A. and an M.F.A in creative writing and enjoys writing legal blogs and articles. Her work has appeared in numerous online publications including USA Today, Legal Zoom, eHow Business, Livestrong, SF Gate, Go Banking Rates, Arizona Central, Houston Chronicle, Navy Federal Credit Union, Pearson, Quicken.com, TurboTax.com, and numerous attorney websites. Spengler splits her time between the French Basque Country and Northern California.