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How To New York Unemployment Guide -- How to Apply for and Collect Unemployment

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New York State provides unemployment benefits to New York residents who have lost a job through no fault of their own and are actively seeking work.

Follow the steps below to find out if you are eligible for New York unemployment benefits and learn how to apply for and collect unemployment in New York City.

Please note: Unemployment extension legislation was recently approved that guarantees an additional 14 weeks of emergency benefits. Pending further legislation, another 6 weeks of emergency benefits could also be provided. See below for information about filing for extended unemployment benefits.
Time Required: Moderate

Here's How:

  1. Find out if you qualify for New York unemployment benefits
    Unemployment insurance is temporary income for eligible workers who become unemployed through no fault of their own and who are ready, willing, and able to work. You must have sufficient work and wages in eligible employment to collect unemployment benefits. If you're unsure if you qualify for unemployment, you can apply for benefits and the Department of Labor will determine your eligibility.

    Your claim should be filed in your first week of unemployment. Your first week is an unpaid waiting week, commonly referred to as the “waiting period.”
  2. Gather the information you'll need to apply for New York unemployment benefits
    See the list at the end of this article for the information that you'll need to file your claim for New York State unemployment insurance payments. You can still file a claim if you don't have all of the documents listed, but it will likely take longer to process your claim and send your first payment.
  3. File a claim for New York unemployment payments
    You may file a New York unemployment claim online between the hours of 7:30 am anf 7:30 pm Monday through Thursday (Eastern Time), Friday, 7:30 am to 5:00 pm, all day Saturday, and Sunday until 7:00 pm.

    You may also file a claim by calling 1-888-209-8124 toll-free between 8:00 am and 5:00 pm, Monday through Friday. If you choose to file your claim by phone, an automated voice will offer you the choice of filing in English, Spanish, Russian, Cantonese, Mandarin, Creole, or "all other languages" (translation services will be provided).
  4. Receive your unemployment Monetary Determination
    After filing, if you qualify for unemployment, you will be sent a Monetary Determination that includes your benefit rate (also known as how much you will receive each week). If you do not qualify, the Monetary Determination will provide the reason(s) and information on how to appeal.

    Your weekly benefit rate is generally one twenty-sixth (1/26) of the highest quarterly wages paid to you in your base period (the period of employment when your employer contributed unemployment insurance taxes to the government). The current maximum weekly benefit rate is $405.
  5. Claim your weekly unemployment benefits
    You may claim your weekly unemployment benefits online or via a touch-tone telephone by calling 1-888-581-5812.

    Both systems are simple to use and available in English and Spanish. Hearing impaired claimants who have TTY/TDD equipment can call 1-877-205-3119.

    You will need your 4-digit PIN (selected when you filed your claim) to access the system. You may claim your weekly benefits Monday through Friday from 7:30 am until midnight and from 12:01 am on Saturday until midnight on Sunday. You must file your weekly claims promptly to receive payment.
  6. Continue your job search to remain eligible for unemployment
    To remain eligible for benefits, you must be available for work and demonstrate that you are actively seeking employment by keeping a written record of your job search. Forms to record your efforts are provided in the Unemployment Insurance - Information for Claimants handbook. You may be asked to present evidence of your job search efforts.

    You must be prepared to accept "suitable work," which is defined as work for which you are reasonably qualified by training and experience.
  7. Extend your unemployment benefits
    In September 2009, Congress approved legislation to extend Unemployment Insurance benefits for an additional 14 weeks for New York residents (the previous maximum was 26 weeks of unemployment). Pending further legislation, another 6 weeks of emergency benefits could also be provided.

    To extend your unemployment benefits, continue to claim weekly benefits in the usual manner. It is not necessary to file a new claim unless you are advised to do so. You may also qualify for additional Extended Benefits.
  8. Learn more about New York unemployment benefits

What You Need

  • Social Security number
  • New York State driver's license or Motor Vehicle ID card number (if applicable)
  • Complete mailing address and zip code
  • Weekday telephone number
  • Alien Registration card number (if applicable)
  • Names and addresses of employers during the last 18 month
  • Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN),found on your W2
  • Your bank routing and checking account numbers if requesting direct deposit
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