How to Collect Unemployment Benefits in New York

by ECL Writer
Unemployment Denial in New York

Unemployment benefits provide financial assistance to individuals who have lost their job through no fault of their own. The benefits aim to provide a temporary income to help individuals cover their basic needs and search for new employment. In New York, the Department of Labor is responsible for administering unemployment benefits and determining eligibility.

Eligibility for unemployment benefits in New York is determined based on various factors, including the individual’s prior employment history, the reason for job loss, and their ability and availability to work. To be eligible, an individual must have earned enough wages in their base period, which is the first four of the last five completed calendar quarters before filing their claim. They must also be actively seeking new employment and be able to work, available for work, and not be disqualified due to a disqualifying reason, such as voluntarily quitting their job or being fired for misconduct. You might qualify for this benefit.

In this article, will outline the steps on how to collect unemployment benefits in New York.

Eligibility Requirements For New York Unemployment Benefits

To be eligible for unemployment benefits in New York, an individual must meet the following requirements:

  1. Monetary eligibility: The individual must have earned enough wages in their base period, which is the first four of the last five completed calendar quarters before filing their claim.
  2. Job loss: The individual must have lost their job through no fault of their own, such as a layoff or reduction in hours. They must not have quit their job voluntarily without good cause or been fired for misconduct.
  3. Ability and availability to work: The individual must be able to work, available for work, and actively seeking new employment.
  4. Residency: The individual must be a legal resident of New York and have worked in the state.
  5. Non-disqualification: The individual must not be disqualified from receiving benefits for any other reason, such as receiving severance pay or being on strike.

In addition to these eligibility requirements, individuals must also provide information about their employment history and earnings and may need to attend an interview to verify their eligibility.

It’s important to note that meeting the eligibility requirements does not guarantee that an individual will receive unemployment benefits. The final determination of eligibility is made by the New York Department of Labor.

Do I Meet The Minimum Earnings Requirement?

For the purpose of determining your eligibility for unemployment benefits, nearly all states consider your most recent employment history and earnings over a one-year “base period.” The base period in New York, like in the majority of states, is the earliest four out of the five full calendar quarters before you submitted your benefits claim. The base period would be from June 1, 2019, to May 31, 2020, for instance, if you submitted your claim in October 2020.

For those who are unable to achieve the earnings standards in the usual base period (below), New York recognizes an alternative base period. The final four full quarters before an individual file for unemployment are the alternate base period. This alternative timeframe takes into account more recent employment. Even applicants who are determined to be eligible using the standard base period may request that the agency calculate their benefits using the alternate base period instead if doing so will result in a greater weekly amount.

During the base period, your work history and earnings must meet all three of the following requirements:

  • You must have earned wages in at least two of the four calendar quarters that make up the base period.
  • You must have earned at least $2,700 (in 2021) in the highest-paid quarter of the base period.
  • Your total earnings in the base period must be at least one-and-a-half times your earnings in the highest-paid quarter. If you earned more than $11,088 in the highest-paid quarter, the agency will use $11,088 as your earnings during that quarter. In other words, your total earnings during the base period need not be higher than $16,632 ($11,088 x 1.5), no matter how much you made in your highest-paid quarter.

Are You Out Of Work Through No Fault Of Your Own?

In order to be eligible for unemployment benefits in New York, you must be unemployed due to no fault of your own. You will satisfy this criterion if you are fired, lose your employment as a result of a reduction-in-force (RIF), or are “downsized” for financial reasons. If you are dismissed because you don’t have the necessary skills for the position or you fall short of the employer’s expectations for performance or productivity, you will probably also be qualified for unemployment benefits.

Employees fired for wrongdoing at work may not be eligible for unemployment benefits in New York. Violations of business policies or norms, such as those that forbid insubordination or absenteeism, are examples of work-related misbehavior. You also won’t be qualified for benefits if you lose your job because you were fired for a felony conviction or admission of guilt. If you leave your work, unless you had a valid reason for doing so, you won’t be eligible for unemployment benefits.

Are You Available And Actively Searching For Work?

You must be able to work, available to work, and actively seeking employment in order to retain your eligibility for unemployment benefits. If a suitable position is presented to you, you must accept it. An appropriate position is one for which, given your education and experience, you are a good fit. You are not permitted to decline a job for this reason if it pays the going rate for equivalent labor, even if the salary is less than what you were previously earning. You must document your job search activities in writing. You might be required to bring these documents if you are invited in for a personal interview at the state agency.

Amount And Duration Of NYS Unemployment Benefits

Your weekly unemployment compensation is calculated by the New York State Department of Labor (NYSDOL), up to a maximum of $504 per week, by dividing your wages for the highest-paying quarter of the base period by 26. (If your highest paid quarter’s earnings were less than $3,575, your earnings are multiplied by 25 to determine your weekly benefit amount.)

Benefits are offered for a maximum of 26 weeks. In times of economic distress or high unemployment, you may qualify for Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) and/or state-extended benefits if you are still unemployed when your regular state benefits expire. For basic information on these programs, see the Nolo article Unemployment Benefits: How Much Will You Get—and For How Long? When you apply for benefits, get in touch with NYSDOL to learn more about the available programs.

How To File An Unemployment Claim In New York

To file an unemployment claim in New York, you can follow these steps:

  1. Gather information: Before filing your claim, gather all the necessary information, including your social security number, the names and addresses of your past employers, and your earnings and employment dates for each job.
  2. File your claim: You can file your unemployment claim online or by phone through the New York Department of Labor’s website or the TeleClaim Center.
  3. Provide additional information: After filing your claim, you may be asked to provide additional information or attend an interview to verify your eligibility.
  4. Receive determination: The Department of Labor will make a determination on your claim, which you will receive in the mail or by email. If your claim is approved, you will receive information about the amount and duration of your benefits.
  5. Report your earnings: While receiving unemployment benefits, you must report any earnings from part-time or temporary work to the Department of Labor.

You may file your unemployment claim online or by phone. Once it reviews your application, the NYSDOL will send you a Monetary Determination, indicating whether you meet the work and earnings requirements outlined above. If your claim is granted, you will have to request payment every week, either online or by phone, and meet ongoing eligibility requirements (for example, searching for work).

How To Appeal A Denial Of Unemployment Benefits In New York

The Monetary Determination will inform you if your application for unemployment compensation is rejected because you did not fulfill the job and earnings conditions. If benefits are granted but you feel the agency has withheld wages or employment history, you may submit a Request for Reconsideration of that decision. The organization will examine your request and any facts you supply before issuing a new determination. You will receive a different Notice of Determination if you are refused benefits for another reason, such as the fact that you left your previous work without justification. Within 30 days of the date on the notification, you have the right to appeal a benefit rejection by submitting a written request for an administrative law judge hearing. A hearing will be scheduled after receiving your appeal request. Your claim will be decided by the administrative law judge, who will then write up their judgment.

After the hearing, you can appeal the verdict to the Unemployment Insurance Appeal Board if you don’t agree with it. (Only if you were present for the administrative law judge’s hearing may you appeal.) After reviewing the data, the appeals board will render a written verdict. If you don’t agree with this choice, you can bring a civil complaint to the Third Department of the Appellate Division of the New York State Supreme Court.

The NYSDOL provides information on every aspect of the unemployment process on its website. select “Unemployment Assistance” to apply for benefits online, find out current eligibility requirements and benefit amounts, learn about the appeals process, and much more.

If I Live In New York State But Worked In Another State, Where Do I Apply For Benefits?

File your claim with the state where you worked if you reside in New York State but did all of your work during the previous 18 months in a different state. No matter where you live, you must file your claim with any of the states where you worked if you worked in two or more during the previous 18 months. The wages from any state where you worked during the last 18 months may be eligible to be combined. OR, you may only use income received in the state where the filing was made. To earn the largest benefit amount, file your claim in the state where you worked. That state will then inform you of all other filing alternatives.

Can I File A Claim If I Lost My Full-Time Work, But Still Work Part-Time?

Yes, if you work 30 hours or fewer in a week and earn $504 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.

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