New York Unemployment Eligibility

There are two categories of eligibility criteria for UI benefits. They are

  • Non-monetary eligibility
  • Monetary eligibility

Non-monetary eligibility

  • Claimant must have lost his/her job due to no mistake of theirs
  • Should have worked minimum hours during the base period
  • Claimants should be available, willing and physically capable of doing full time work
  • Applicants should actively seek new job opportunities

Monetary eligibility

  • Claimant must have earned minimum wages during base period
  • This means that claimants must have worked for at least 2 out of 4 quarters of the base period
  • A total of $2,200 or more must be earned by the claimant during the base period
  • Total wages earned by the applicant during the base period must be 1.5 times the highest quarter earnings

Eligibility Questions

Will I be eligible for UI if I was laid off from work?

Yes. In the state of NY, you are eligible to collect UI if you were let go by your employer as part of cost cutting or other strategies. As long as your job was lost without any mistake of yours and you meet other eligibility criteria, you will qualify for UI.

You may be contacted by the DOL following the submission of your claim, to collect evidence that you were indeed laid off. The DOL will also contact your employer to confirm the facts. Should any mismatch arise, your benefit checks will be delayed until the air is cleared. Hence, make sure that the information you submit is one hundred percent genuine and accurate.

If I voluntarily quit my job, will I qualify for UI?

Sometimes yes, sometimes no. In general, voluntary quits are considered as a direct negation to the first eligibility criteria, ie claimant must have lost job due to no fault of theirs. However, the state of NY does understand that there could be reasons which force an individual to quit.

If you willingly left a job without pressing reasons, you will not qualify for UI benefits. However, if reasons like discrimination, abuse or in general hostility at work was the reason behind you quitting your job, you stand a chance to qualify for UI.

The state of NY will not deem you eligible unless sufficient evidence is provided to support your story.

Can I collect UI benefits if I was fired?

Most probably, no. Federal law prohibits UI benefits from being given to those individuals whose jobs were lost due to a mistake of their own. However, if you were fired without a cause and if your previous employer is not able to provide justification as to why you were fired, you may stand a chance to receive benefits.

Any employer’s taxes is partly based on number of ex-employees who have collected UI benefits.

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

  1. My wife moved to North Carolina after span of multiple leg surgeries for her recoveries. Can I collect NY unemployment if I quit my job to move their? ( trailing spouse)

    1. Dear Jon,
      This isn’t cut and dry. NY State wants you to have quit your last job “for good cause.” That is a gray area. You should apply. You were needed to help your spouse relocate & recover. If you aren’t approved, appeal the decision.



  2. Would I be eligible for unemployment if I left my job due to getting married and moving to live in the same location as my spouse?

  3. I work at a hotel and i’m left alone for my entire shift to deal with everything. I have complained to management that this is overwhelming due to the volume of guests at the hotel as well as the fact that people are very angry these days and I would like help. These conditions have not been considered. If this a reason where I would be eligible for unemployment?

    1. Daniel,

      You can be eligible to quit due to hostile working conditions. I suggest you speak to the Unemployment Office before making a decision.

  4. i recived my frist week of unemployment but I didn’t get my second why was that I did everything the same way

  5. If you quit your job because of unsafe work conditions such as health hazardous dust, extreme heat with no air conditioning support, exposed wiring can you still collect unemployment in nyc

  6. Hello. I live in Shohola, Pennsylvania and been working in NY State for about 15 months. From June 5 to Aug. 30, I worked for a large company in NY State. I applied since it was a large company, I thought I’d have stable employment, sadly I was wrong. Due to cut backs, I lost my job. I’m heartsick this happened, I never expected it. Prior, I couldn’t find a full time position and worked two part time jobs in NY State. From June 1, 2018 to Aug. 30 2019, I worked in NY State. And from 2004-2018 I worked in NJ, I left because needed employment close to home. My friend died and I became his daughter’s legal guardian. I’m middle age, never applied for unemployment, I don’t know the first thing about how this works. If I try to do myself, I might do something wrong. Can you pls tell me the Unemployment Office location I should go too to apply for unemployment and what docs I need to bring? Also, are there any classes to help with resume writing or any other class I can take? I have a mortgage and will need heating oil soon, neither are cheap. Thank you. Karen.

    1. Karen,

      I am sorry to hear about your recent past. Hope things get better soon. As a starting point, I suggest you visit the website of the Unemployment Office in your state to find out about opportunities including UI benefits. If required, also call the Office for assistance.

      Feel free to write back to us here.

  7. I was a delivery driver for medication. They allowed us to claim mileage for using our car i was let go for using a gas card and claiming mileage the same day but i was never told this rule or showed where this rule was written. Will i receive UI?

    1. Jamiel,

      Please note UI benefits are only extended to claimants who lose employment due to involuntary reasons. Please speak to the Unemployment Office to ascertain eligibility.

  8. I am scheduled to receive a Voluntary Retirement (live in New York State) incentive in May 2019 whereby I will receive 12 weeks pay plus 2 weeks in lieu of notice and some money in a lump sum toward health insurance.

    Will i qualify for benefits after my separation date?

    1. Ed,

      UI benefits are only extended to claimants who lose their employment due to involuntary reasons. Please call the Unemployment Office for clarification.

    2. Hey!
      I quit my old job for a new job and worked there till they laid me off like 7 months. Now NYS is giving me problems. My new job is a much better opportunity when I go from seasonal to full time. 18 to start full time. Are they going to make me pay back what i got already? :(

  9. If an employee continues to be out sick, refuses to make up hours and is constantly stating to be fired, will they qualify for unemployment if they are actually fired?

    1. Chanel,

      UI benefits are only offered to claimants who lose their job due to involuntary reasons. Personal incidents such as sickness may not be allowed. Please call the Unemployment Office for clarification.

  10. I worked full time 19 years for a retailer that closed business on 6/30/2018 and started a new job around 7/7/2018. I resigned on 9/20/2018 due to unrealistic expectations, constantly changing directions that conflicted with current directions, then demeaning talks about how this isn’t “previous company” and “not sure how you were a leader at “previous” company. This location has a history of this behavior with turnover to match.

    1. Mike,

      I am not sure of the query here. Please provide more details or call the Unemployment Office for a detailed discussion.

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