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New York Unemployment Eligibility

Non Monetary Eligibility

  • Have enough employment to establish a claim
  • Have lost employment through no fault of their own
  • Are ready, willing and able to work
  • Are actively seeking work
  • Your job was eliminated
  • The company downsized or shut down

If you worked in New York State within the last 18 months, you have the right to file a claim for benefits.

Monetary Eligibility

The New York State Department of Labor employs a base period to decide eligibility as well as the weekly benefit amount (WBA). The state uses the first four of the last five quarters before filing a claim for unemployment compensation.

New York State also uses an alternate base period for claimants who do not meet eligibility requirements with the basic base period. The alternate base period is the last four completed quarters before filing a claim for benefits.

  • Claimants should have worked and obtained wages in at least two quarters of the base period and must have also made a total of $1,600 during a least one of those calendar quarters.
  • In addition, the total wages of your base period must be at least 1.5 times the highest quarter earnings.

The state computes the weekly benefit amount by dividing the total earnings for the highest paying quarter in the base period by 26. The weekly benefit amount cannot exceed the maximum of $405.

For those earning $3,575 or less in the highest paying quarter, the state will divide the earnings by 25 to decide the WBA.

Eligibility Questions

Can I Collect Unemployment If I am Laid Off?

In a tough economic condition, many employers have to make tough choices about their staff, including who is needed to the company and who to let go.

If laid off from a New York state employer, you can obtain unemployment benefits from the state’s Department of Labor (DOL). However, if there is any problem as to whether you were laid off, you may have to illustrate proof of the reason for your job separation.

When you apply to the DOL for unemployment, the agency will confirm the details of your claim. It will get in touch with your former employer to find out why you were separated from your job. New York employers’ payroll taxes are determined in part by how many of their former employees receive unemployment. Your former employer will therefore share any information it has regarding your job termination, making you disqualified for benefits.

Can I collect Unemployment if I quit my job?

New York unemployment benefits need you to meet several eligibility guidelines to obtain benefits. Before you receive benefits, the state assesses your claim to verify you meet all of them, including one about willingly leaving gainful employment without cause. In some cases, you can quit your job to obtain benefits but it must fall under the restricted exceptions to the rule.

When you apply for jobless benefits, the state Department of Labor enquires you for the reason you are unemployed. It then contacts your former employer to confirm the reason. During this process you may have to present proof that backs up your claim to benefits.

For example, if you quit because your employer moved your job, you may need the note your employer gave you signifying the move. If you quit for health reasons, you can illustrate the state a notarized letter from your health provider.

Can I obtain Unemployment if I am Fired?

Federal law prevents states from offering unemployment benefits to claimants who are unemployed through their own fault. In New York, this includes claimants fired for cause by their former employers. The load of proof falls on the former employer, though, so if the state Employment Security Commission doesn’t obtain evidence you were fired for cause, you may still collect benefits.

However, if your employer does provide evidence, you can collect only if you can provide more-compelling evidence that you weren’t fired for cause.

When you apply for New York unemployment benefits, the Employment Security Commission asks you why you are without a job. Then it contacts your former employer to confirm the reason. Your former employer’s payroll tax rate is partly based on the number of previous employees it has that have collected unemployment benefits. So, it has an interest in keeping unqualified claimants from receiving benefits. If you were fired, your former employer will inform the Employment Security Commission in its answer to your claim.

Got more questions? Check our Q&A Section and benefit questions.

More information on New York unemployment here -
Questions on Eligibility
Calculate your weekly benefit amount
Unemployment Office locations and telephone number

Questions & Answers

  1. Ruslan says:

    I was given a two-week notice. I am being laid off by a new employer,who bought our office two months ago. I did work for a previous employer for more than 7 years. Am i eligible for unemployment benefits? And, how do i find out about the new employer’s identification number? Thank you

    • Adrian says:

      If you are loosing your job involuntarily,please consider applying.

      Ask your new employer about the identification number.

      • Ruslan says:

        Thank you for a prompt response.
        Is there another way to find about employer identification number than asking an employer (just, in case,if employer refuses to give it out?
        Thank you

  2. delores says:

    I work in the school district from February till June part time I am going back in September however I work in Monticello before I give them them two week notice in the end of January am I entice to unemployment for July and august

    • Adrian says:

      Seasonal employment does not qualify.

      Please go ahead and check with the labor dept in your state for any special rules in this regard.

  3. LeRoy Whethers says:

    Can I received unemployment if I was hired as a consultant and worked 30 hours per week? and if my benefits were extended after I was employed can I receive those benefits?

  4. LeRoy Whethers says:

    Can I receive benefits if I was hired as a consultant working 30 hours weekly

  5. Danita says:

    If I work in ny and live in nj and quit my job due the expense of commuting, will I qualify for unemployment benefits?

  6. Wayne Sunday says:

    I work part-time in a college library from September to May, but am unemployed during the summer months. Am I entitled to unemployment benefits for the almost 4 months that I am not working?

  7. sheila says:

    If I was terminated from a full time position and fill in occasionally/substitute teach 10-16 hours every few weeks, can I still file for unemployment? Thank you

  8. BOB says:

    I HAVE WORKED FOR SAME CO. FOR 3 YEARS AT 40+HRS AWEEK.DUE TO OPENING OF ANOTHER PLANT THEY HAVE CUT OUR HRS. TO 32 PER WEEK.IF IN THE FUTCHER WE ARE LAYED OFF, WILL I STILL BE ELIGABLE FOR UNEMPLOYMENT?

  9. Karen says:

    I only worked 20 weeks as my place of employment is seasonal and closed down. How many weeks do I need?

    • Adrian says:

      First of all, seasonal employment is generally not considered as an eligibility factor.You would need at least an year in hand.

  10. Amy says:

    I resigned from my position (gave 2 weeks notice) due to the fact that I was not paid for days I worked, or services performed. I was sent a letter stating that my employment was terminated that day and I could not finish my 2 weeks.

  11. Amy says:

    I resigned from my position – gave 2 wks notice, due to the fact that my employer has neglected to pay me for days, services that I have worked. I received a letter from them stating that I was terminated from my position that same day

  12. Judy Isengard says:

    Can my husband be eligible for unemployment while on short term disability? He was taken out of work from his employer at no request from him.

  13. susan says:

    I worked only from October 1 – 12/31 this year and was fired from a part time job (I am retired collecting Social Security and this is the first job I’ve had since 2009). I was fired because “I didn’t fit in” and “poor customer service”. Can I collect benefits?

  14. Chris says:

    If i quit my job as a contractor in Iraq due to stress and safety concerns, do I qualify for unemployment?

  15. Jeannie Player says:

    I have been cut back to 3 days,app.20-25 hrs wkly.Does that qualify me for partial unemployment?

  16. deborah says:

    My company was taken over without notice, I was asked to stay at current rate of pay, lose my benefit time including 3 weeks of vacation, put on probation and had been told I was not eligible for a raise for a year. my previous raises were denied as well as the company was under foreclosure and not being upfront. 401 k was also absolved not allowing me to advance, contribute to my IRA and my hourly rate decreased. The losses cant be regained and my vacation time would take me ten years to get what i started with. I was asked to apply for my cuurent position. I offered myself as per diem while I sought work that offered what I initially had and was turned down. I am not sure if i am eligible as the company no longer exists.

  17. Steve LaBarron says:

    If I am working in a hostile environment and I quit due the hostility of my boss, am I able to collect benefits without any interruption in the claim process?

    • kathy says:

      If your work environment is hostile you may qualify. However, have you done anything to try to make the situation any better? Not sure what “interruption” in the claim process you are worried about. Claims can be processed rather fast, they will give the employer a specific amount of time to respond and whether the employer responds or not, they make the decision based on the information they have. High unemployment can slow the process a bit.

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