The Unemployment Insurance (UI) program in NY is handled by the Department of Labor. The department helps those who have recently lost their job for no fault of their own by providing monetary assistance and also by providing various services aimed at improving the competitiveness of the applicants.
Read more to know about the eligibility factor, documents required, methods to apply and all the other information needed to file for unemployment benefits.
Eligibility To Apply For UI Benefits In New York
Eligibility for unemployment benefits in NY depends on the applicant’s monetary earnings during the base period and reason for job separation in the state of New York. The applicants are also expected to maintain eligibility during the benefit period.
Applicants are expected to meet certain monetary criteria set by the New York State Department of Labor. To understand the set criteria well, it is important to know some important concepts as defined by the New York State.
Base Period: In New York, the base period represents one year of work and wages earned by the claimants.
Calendar Quarters: Calendar quarters are a three-month block of time. A base period will consist of four calendar quarters.
Basic Base Period: This is the first four of the last five calendar quarters.
The applicants must qualify for the following monetary qualifications set by the state of New York:
Must have worked and received wages for jobs that are covered by unemployment insurance in a minimum of two calendar quarters of the base year
Must have received at least $2,200 in his or her single highest earning quarter
Total wages received in the base period must be 1.5 times more than the wages earned in the highest earning quarter. For example: If the applicant’s highest quarter wage is $5,000, he or she must then have received a minimum of (5,000*1.5) $7,500 in wages in all the four quarters combined. An exception to this rule could be if the wages in his or her highest earning quarter is equal to or over $9,900, in which case, he or she will need at least half of the highest quarter wage (i.e. $4,950) in the remaining three quarters
If the applicant does not qualify through the basic base period calculation, the Department of Labor will use the alternative base period calculation.
Alternatively, if the applicant qualifies through the base period calculation but believes that he or she may earn more through the alternative base period, the applicant could approach the department with the request to recalculate the benefit rate.
The reason for the job separation from the previous organization is an important criterion that can affect unemployment eligibility in NY. There are certain conditions regarding the reasons for job separation that the applicant must meet to gain eligibility for unemployment benefits in NY, they are:
The applicant lost his or her job for no fault of their own
The applicant was laid off from work due to lack of work or his or her employer reduce the hours of work due to a shortage of work
The applicant separated from his or her previous organization due to a convincing work-related reason, which must be accepted by the New York State Department of Labor
The applicant was not involved in any unethical or illegal activities in the previous organization, leading to the ‘misconduct of the applicant’
The Department of Labor will connect with the applicant’s previous employer to verify the reasons given by the applicant. The applicant will not gain eligibility if the reason for job separation explained by the employer is not the same as the reason given by the applicant.
The applicants have to maintain their eligibility throughout the benefit period even after becoming eligible for benefits. The Department of Labor has set conditions for the applicants, which is needed to be followed by them throughout the benefit period, such as:
The applicant must be mentally and physically capable of working
The applicant must be available and prepared to take up work throughout the benefit period at any given point
The applicant must be actively looking to get work throughout the benefit period
The applicant must maintain an online or written Work Search Record and submit it each week to the Department of Labor throughout the benefit period
The applicant would require the following documents to file a claim for unemployment benefits in NY:
The applicant can file for benefits afresh or reopen a claim using the following modes of communication in the New York State:
Applicants in the state of New York can apply for benefits on the Department of Labor’s website. One can file a claim and access other services on the website during the following hours:
Monday to Thursday – 7:30 AM to 7:30 PM
Friday – 7:30 AM to 5:00 PM
Weekends – From 12:01 AM Saturday through 7:30 PM Sunday
The applicant will need an NY.gov ID and password to create the online account. If he or she does not have the required ID and password, he or she must follow the instructions mentioned in the website to create an account. If one faces issues in creating the NY.gov account, he or she can contact the helpline at (800) 833-3000 from Monday to Friday 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM to find a resolution.
New York state’s Tel-Service can also be used to file weekly benefit claims. Dial (888) 581-5812 to reach Tel-Service, and in case if the applicant suffers from hearing impairment, TTY/TDD line can be reached at (877) 205-3119.
The applicant needs to create a PIN while filing his or her first claim, as it will be a mandatory requirement needed while filing the subsequent claims. Also, the applicant should not share this PIN with anyone including the family and friends.
The applicant could also contact the Department of Labor through a Video Relay System to file NY unemployment claims. The applicant could also contact the relay operator and request to connect to (888) 783-1370.
How To File Weekly Claims
The applicant must file the claim within a week of losing the job, as delaying in filing would cost benefits. You will have to serve an unpaid “waiting period” in the first week of losing the job.
The applicant can file for weekly unemployment benefits in NY through the website or through Tel-Service, but he or she should keep all the required job-search documents in place while filing for weekly benefits, including NY.gov ID and password and Tel-Service PIN.
This UI Benefits Calculator will help the applicant to determine the approximate UI Benefits amount that he or she can presently receive in the state of New York.
Disclaimer: The estimates are good in faith and accuracy is not guaranteed. We are not liable for any loss and damages caused by using the tools on our website. This calculator is here to assist you in evaluating what you might obtain if you are entitled to receive benefits. We make no promises that the sum you receive will be equal to what the calculator illustrates.
You can receive New York Unemployment payments through either direct deposit to your bank account or a government-issued debit card. The debit card, offered through KeyBank, is by far the easiest and quickest way to access your unemployment benefits. You can use the debit card to make purchases in-store or online, withdraw cash at ATMs, or visit a MasterCard affiliated bank to withdraw from the account.
About three weeks after you submit your initial application for unemployment benefits, you should receive your debit card in the mail. Be careful not to throw it away – it will come in a plain white envelope for security reasons, and you could easily mistake it for junk mail. Follow the instructions that come with the card to activate it to begin using your funds.
After your first deposit of benefits, you can expect to receive future payments within two to three business days after you file your weekly claim. You can sign up for text alerts to keep updated on changes to your account like deposits, low balance, or declined transactions.
Use the debit card at over 46,000 KeyBank or First Niagara ATM locations or any Allpoint ATM with no transaction fee. If used outside of the KeyBank, First Niagara, Allpoint network, transaction fees, and surcharges may apply. The transaction fees for out-of-network ATM withdrawals within the U.S. are $1.50 each and $3.00 each internationally. You may be charged a surcharge from the owner of the ATM, and these amounts can vary according to the different owning financial institutions.
You don’t need to carry cash because the card is valid anywhere MasterCard is accepted. Using a debit card to receive benefits is more convenient and safer than receiving benefits through direct deposit. If your card is stolen or lost, it’s essential to report it missing immediately. You’ll receive a new card within 7-10 business days, with an option to pay $15 to receive it overnight. One replacement card is authorized per year, and any more than that will cost you $5 each.
You can also withdraw cash from a MasterCard affiliated bank. And while the bank teller can process the transaction, they can’t see your account balance, so you’ll need to tell them the exact amount you’d like to take out. You can also get cash back when shopping at grocery stores and other retail stores.
The responsibility of the applicant does not end with filing for unemployment insurance. The applicants must know the following topics to get through the benefit period with limited hurdles:
Overpayment And Fraud
As per the Department of Labor, overpayment occurs in NY when the applicant claims unemployment benefits which he or she is not entitled to. The responsibility lies on the claimants to make sure that they pay back any excessive amount received. In the event, if claimant receives an overpayment, he or she must immediately bring it to the notice of the concerned department.
A claimant may receive overpayment for a variety of reasons, such as – made a mistake while claiming weekly benefits, was not able or available for work, did not complete the required weekly activities related work search, or knowingly or unknowingly provided false or misleading information to attract a higher monetary benefit amount or extend the benefit period.
If one receives an overpayment, the Department of Labor will send a written Notice of Determination in the mail. The notice will indicate the amount of the overpayment and notify the claimant by when the amount must be repaid.
Once the claimantreceives the Notice of Determination, he or she is expected to follow the instructions as given in the notice. If the claimant does not agree with the overpayment determination, he or she has the right to ask for a hearing.
Fraud/ Willful Misrepresentation
If claimant is found to have knowingly made a false or misleading statement to claim unemployment benefits, it will be considered as a willful misrepresentation made by the claimant.
In the state of New York, willful misrepresentation is considered as fraud, and the claimant will be subjected to the following penalties:
Will be required to pay back the entire overpayment amount
Will be assessed for ‘forfeit days’
Will be charged monetary penalty of $100 or 15% of the overpaid amount (whichever is higher)
If the claimant fails to repay the overpayment amount, the Department of Labor may take legal action against you. A judgment against the claimant will hurt his or her credit score and can make getting a loan, getting a job or renting a house difficult in the future.
Also, the state of New York also has the ‘right to offset’, which means that if the claimant fails to pay back the overpayment amount, the Department of Labor can seize any amount the state owes the claimant. This includes IRS tax refunds, future unemployment benefits, and any other federal payments.
The state of New York or the federal government presently does not offer any benefit extension programs, unless the unemployment rate is high or there is economic-downturn. The maximum duration of unemployment benefits in NY is 26 weeks, and once that is exhausted, no other alternative exists in the state.
Job Training Assistance
The Department of Labor provides a range of programs to the claimants of unemployment benefits in NY to help them find a successful career.
the claimant will be able to apply for higher education or other job-related training programs while collecting unemployment benefits if the claimant gets accepted for the 599 Program NY. The training programs must meet certain eligibility criteria to be approved. Once approved, claimants may become eligible for an extra 26 weeks of unemployment insurance benefits.
The claimant must apply for the 599 Program within the first 13 weeks of the benefit period. Delay in notifying the department will render him or her ineligible for the NY 599 programs.
The claimant may also register for the New York State Registered Apprenticeship Program to find assistance in finding jobs. In the program, he or she will get on-the-job training under the guidance of experienced workers in the concerned industries.
If the claimant loses his or her job due to international trade, he or she will be eligible for the federal program Trade Adjustment Assessment (TAA). The program will provide services in paid training, job seeking assistance, transportation, and subsistence payments, job search allowances, relocation allowances and other job-search related services.
In addition to unemployment benefits, residents may be eligible for New York disability benefits. Those who cannot work due to a chronic medical condition may be eligible for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Insurance (SSI). Both programs are federally funded, but the state administers them. If you are disabled and unable to work, you can apply over the phone, in person at your local Social Security office, or online at SSA.gov.
If you receive SSI benefits, you may receive New York Medicaid. Medicaid helps with medical costs for low-income residents with certain medical conditions, disabilities, or seniors. Eligibility is dependent on income limits. You may be responsible for paying copayments which vary depending on services rendered. The good news is your responsible portion of copayments is capped at $200 per year.
New York Veterans have a variety of benefits available to them, including health care, disability, education and employment, housing, and more. New York Veterans benefits are provided through a combination of state and federal programs. Your best bet is to visit the New York State Division of Veterans’ Services (DVS) for guidance in navigating the benefits best suited for you.
Q. If I have a claim with another state, how do I register with NYS?
If you had filed for UI in another state, and later moved to New York State, the state where you first claimed for benefits may require you to register with New York State.
To register with New York, you must contact the Telephone Claim Center. As you navigate through the options provided by the IVRS, towards the end you will get to choose the option whereby the system will transfer you to a person who will process the Initial Interstate Claim for you.
Q. What if I lost my job due to a strike?
If you lose your employment due to a labor dispute such as a strike, or other industrial controversies in the company where you are employed, you will not be eligible for unemployment insurance benefits for 49 days. Note that this will not be applied in the case of lockouts.
You may be eligible sooner if, despite the end of the labor dispute, you remain unemployed. or
If your employer hires permanent replacement workers after the dispute.
Q. Can I appeal the overpayment determination?
If you disagree with the overpayment determination, you have the right to submit a petition for a hearing. The hearing will be conducted by an impartial judge who is employed by the Unemployment Insurance Appeal Board.
If you are present at the hearing and lose all or part of the case, you may file an appeal to the Appeal Board.
If the Appeal Board does not rule in your favor, you have 30 days from the date of the Appeal Board's decision to apply to the Appeal Board for a reconsideration of the decision or appeal to the Appellate Division of the State Supreme Court, Third Department.
Q. What is a forfeit day penalty?
A forfeit day (or days) are days in the future for which you cannot receive Unemployment Insurance benefits. Forfeit days are assessed if you willfully made a false statement or representation to get benefits.
A forfeit day penalty can be for one day or for several days. For every forfeit day that is assessed, you lose 25% of your benefits for that week. If you have four forfeit days, you would receive no benefits for that week. This is because there is a maximum of four effective days of benefits in a week. If you have more than four forfeit days, the additional forfeit days are carried over to the following week
On the My Online Services page, select “Unemployment Services”
Select “View Payment History”
If you have any remaining debt, it will be listed near the top of the page.
Q. What is a Work Search Record?
You must maintain an online or written Work Search Record for each week you claim benefits and be prepared to give a copy of that record to the Department of Labor if they ask for it.
The work search record should contain dates, names, addresses (mail, email, or web address) and telephone numbers of all the employers contacted. Names and/or job titles of specific people contacted, contact methods used, position or job title applied for or a description of other work search efforts (attending job fairs or workshops, etc.).
Q. Can I file a claim if I lost my full-time work, but still work part-time?
Yes, if you work less than four days a week and earn $450 or less, you may receive partial benefits. When you file your UI claim:
You will be asked to enter the date of your last day worked. Enter the last day you physically reported to work, regardless of whether this was your part-time or full-time work.
You will also be asked to enter information about your last or most recent employer. The last or most recent employer is where you most recently reported to work, regardless of whether this was your part-time or full-time employment. If it was your part-time employer, and you will continue to work part-time, enter "lack of work" as the reason for separation.
Q. What if I want to start my own business?
Tell the Telephone Claim Center before you take any steps to start a business. Unless you are part of the Self Employment Assistance Program (SEAP), these activities may result in the loss of unemployment insurance benefits. See more information on SEAP.
The Department of Labor considers you employed if you operate or start a business:
With a partner or
In a corporate arrangement
If you spend time during the day or evening or on weekends getting ready to start or actually operating a business, we may consider that as work. It does not matter if you have not made any sales or received any compensation.