New York Unemployment Benefits
The Unemployment Insurance 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 other 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.
Alternative Base Period: This is the last four completed calendar quarters before the quarter in which you file for unemployment benefits.
The applicants must qualify for the following monetary qualifications set by the state of New York:
- You 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
- You must have received at least $2,200 in your 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 your highest quarter wage is $5,000, you 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 your highest earning quarter is equal to or over $9,900, in which case, you will need at least half of the highest quarter wage (i.e. $4,950) in the remaining three quarters
Note that if you do not qualify through the basic base period calculation, the Department of Labor will use the alternative base period calculation.
Alternatively, if you qualify through the base period calculation but believe that you may earn more through the alternative base period, you could approach the department with the request to recalculate the benefit rate.
The reason for the job separation from your previous organization is an important criterion that can affect your eligibility. 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:
- You lost your job for no fault of yours.
- You were laid off from work due to lack of work or your employer reduced your hours of work due to a shortage of work, or
- You separated from your previous organization due to a convincing work-related reason, which must be accepted by the New York State Department of Labor
- You were 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 your 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:
- You must be mentally and physically capable of working
- You must be available and prepared to take up work throughout the benefit period at any given point
- You must be actively looking to get work throughout the benefit period
- You must maintain an online or written Work Search Record and submit it each week to the Department of Labor throughout the benefit period
- You should contact at least three employers each week as a part of the Work Search Record
How to Apply For UI Benefits in NY?
You need the following documents to file a claim for unemployment benefits in NY:
You 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 at applications.labor.ny.gov/. You 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
Note that you will need an NY.gov ID and password to create the online account. If you do not have the required ID and password, follow the instructions mentioned in the website to create an account. If you face issues in creating the NY.gov account, 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 you suffer from hearing impairment, TTY/TDD line can be reached at (877) 205-3119.
You will need to create a PIN while filing your first claim, as it will be a mandatory requirement needed while filing the subsequent claims. Also, make sure to not share this PIN with anyone including your family and friends.
Video Relay :
You may also contact the Department of Labor through a Video Relay System to file your claims. Contact your relay operator and request to connect to (888) 783-1370.
How to File Weekly Claims
It is advised that you file your claim within a week of losing your job, as delaying in filing would cost you benefits. You will have to serve an unpaid “waiting period” in the first week of your of losing the job.
You can file for your weekly unemployment benefits in NY through the website or through Tel-Service, but remember to keep all the required job-search documents in place while filing for weekly benefits. Also, keep your NY.gov ID and password, and your Tel-Service PIN safely, as you will need it every time you file your claim.
UI Benefits Amount
This UI Benefits Calculator will help the applicant to determine the approximate UI Benefits amount that he/she can presently receive in the state of New York.
Things to Know After Filing An Application
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 you claim unemployment benefits which you are not entitled to. The responsibility lies on the claimants to make sure that they pay back any excessive amount received. In the event, if you receive an overpayment, you must immediately bring it to the notice of the concerned department.
A claimant may receive overpayment for a variety of reasons, such as – you made a mistake while claiming weekly benefits, you were not able or available for work, you did not complete the required weekly activities related work search, or you knowingly or unknowingly provided false or misleading information to attract a higher monetary benefit amount or extend the benefit period.
If you receive an overpayment, the Department of Labor will send you a written Notice of Determination in the mail. The notice will indicate the amount of the overpayment and tell you by when the amount must be repaid.
Once you receive the Notice of Determination, you are expected to follow the instructions as given in the notice. If you do not agree with the overpayment determination, you have the right to ask for a hearing.
Fraud/ Willful Misrepresentation
If you are 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 you will be subjected to the following penalties:
- You will be required to pay back the entire overpayment amount
- You will be assessed for ‘forfeit days’, or the days that you cannot receive benefits in the future
- You will be charged monetary penalty of $100 or 15% of the overpaid amount (whichever is higher)
Note that if you fail to repay the overpayment amount, the Department of Labor may take legal action against you. A judgment against you will hurt your 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 you fail to pay back the overpayment amount, the Department of Labor can seize any amount the state owes you. 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. 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.
You will able to apply for higher education or other job-related training programs while collecting unemployment benefits if you get accepted for the 599 Program. 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.
Note that you must apply for the 599 Program within the first 13 weeks of the benefit period. Delay in notifying the department will render you ineligible for the 599 programs.
You may also register for the New York State Registered Apprenticeship Program to find assistance in finding jobs. In the program, you will get on-the-job training under the guidance of experienced workers in the concerned industries.
If you lost your job due to international trade, you 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.