Before You Apply For Unemployment: Frequently Asked Questions
- Q: What employment do I need to qualify for benefits?
- Q: How do I know if I may file a claim?
- Q: When should I file a claim?
- Q: How do I apply for Unemployment Insurance?
- Q: What do I need to have when I file?
- Q: What if I forgot my PIN?
- Q: If I live in New York State, but worked in another state, where do I apply for benefits?
- Q: What if I work part-time?
- Q: If I have a claim with another state, how do I register with NYS?
- Q: How is my weekly benefit rate determined?
- Q: What is the maximum amount of benefits I can receive?
- Q: Can I use military service to establish a claim?
- Q: What if I work for a school system?
- Q: What if I worked in New York State, but live in another state?
- Q: What if I plan to move out of New York State?
- Q: Does receiving Social Security affect my benefits?
- Q: Does receiving a pension affect my benefits?
- Q: Does receiving workers' compensation affect my benefits?
- Q: Does receiving separation-related payments (severance pay, vacation pay, etc.) affect my benefits?
- Q: Does pregnancy affect my eligibility?
- Q: Am I eligible for benefits during a leave of absence from my job?
- Q: If I am not a US citizen, may I still file a claim?
- Q: What if I want to start my own business?
- Q: What does the Department of Labor consider work?
- Q: What if I'm out of work due to a strike?
- Q: What if I want to help a friend or relative?
- You must have worked and been paid wages for work in at least two calendar quarters in your base period,
You must have been paid at least $1,600 in wages in one of the calendar quarters in your base period,
The total wages paid to you in your base period must be one and one-half times your high quarter wages.
We use no more than $8,910 of your high quarter earnings to determine if you qualify. You must have earned at least half that amount ($4,455) in the other base period quarters.
If you qualify using the Basic base period, we use that period to establish your claim.
- If you do not qualify in the Basic base period, we will calculate using the Alternate base period.
- If you qualify under the Basic base period, you may think that using the Alternate base period would give you a higher benefit rate. You can ask us to recalculate your rate using the Alternate base period. You have 10 days from the date of the initial notice to make the request.
- If you do not qualify using either base period
You received Workers' Compensation payments
Volunteer Firefighters' benefits during the Basic base period,
We may extend the Basic base period back up to 2 calendar quarters. This will depend on how many base period quarters you received these benefits.
- If you do not qualify in any of these base periods,
You worked for pay in the calendar quarter when you filed,
You are still unemployed after that quarter ends,
You think that you may qualify using the latest work,
You should apply again for benefits after this calendar quarter ends.
- Once you use wages to establish a claim, they are void for the next claim. You cannot use them again. This may affect your entitlement to a later claim.
- If you were fired for misconduct or a criminal act, you may not use any wages paid to you for that work to establish a claim or to calculate your benefit rate.
- If you are filing a repeat unemployment insurance claim, you must have earned new wages of at least five times your benefit rate in the benefit year to qualify for a new claim.
- Have enough employment to establish a claim
- Have lost employment through no fault of their own
- Are ready, willing and able to work and
- Are actively seeking work
- You lost your job due to lack of work
- The temporary or seasonal employment ended
- Your job was eliminated
- There was an involuntary reduction in force
- The company downsized or shut down
- The company restructured or reorganized
- There was a lack of company operating funds/orders
- You were out of work for any other business reason that you did not choose or control
- Your employer discharged or fired you because you could not meet their performance or production standards, or their qualifications for the job
- Were fired because you violated a company policy, rule or procedure, such as absenteeism or insubordination
- Quit your job without good cause, such as a compelling personal reason
- Are out of work because of a work stoppage (except for lockouts) in the last 49 days that violated an existing collective bargaining agreement where you worked
Q: When should I file a claim?
A: File your claim during your first week of total or partial unemployment. If you wait, you may lose benefits. You may not file for a week when you work four or more days or earn more than $405 gross pay between Monday and Sunday. You must wait until the next Monday to file, if you are still unemployed.
New York State Department of LaborYour letter should include your:
Central Support Unit
P.O. Box 15130
Albany, New York 12212
- Phone number
- Social Security number
- Dates for which you request credit
- Reason why you did not file a claim at that time
Q: How do I apply for Unemployment Insurance?
A: See How to File a Claim for instructions.
- Call the Telephone Claim Center at (888) 783-1370
- First call the relay operator at (800) 662-1220 and ask the operator to call the Telephone Claim Center at (888) 783-1370
Q: What do I need to have when I file?
A: See How to File a Claim for instructions.
Telephone Claim Center at 1-888-209-8124 (1-877-358-5306 if out of state) and follow the menu options to change your PIN. You must have the PIN to file your claim for benefits. You will use it to inquire about your claim on the phone with the Telephone Claim Center. Never tell anyone your PIN or write your PIN down where others may see it. *You are responsible and liable for your claim. Your PIN is your electronic signature. It protects against another person certifying for your benefits and obtaining payments or information on your claim. You will use your PIN every time you access the claims processing system.* If you claim Unemployment Insurance fraudulently or let someone obtain benefits or access to your claim using your PIN, it is a serious offense. It can lead to severe penalties, including criminal prosecution and imprisonment. *You could lose up to 20 weeks of benefits if you let another person use your PIN.*
Q: If I live in New York State, but worked in another state, where do I apply for benefits?
A: If you live in New York State, but all your work in the past 18 months was in another state, file your claim with the state where you worked. See details and filing instructions in other states.
Q: What if I work part-time?
A: If you work less than four days in a week and earn $405 or less, you may receive partial benefits. Each day or part of a day of work causes your weekly benefit rate to drop by one-quarter. For example, if your weekly benefit rate is $100 and you work three days and earn less than $405, you may receive $25 in benefits. If you work two days, you may receive $50 in benefits. If you work one day, you may receive $75 in benefits.
Q: If I have a claim with another state, how do I register with NYS?
A: If you filed a claim in another state, but have moved to New York State, the other state may require you to register with New York State. To register with New York State, contact the Telephone Claim Center. On the phone menu, select the option to file a new claim. After you enter your Social Security number and PIN, the system will tell you that you do not have a current claim on our records. It will tell you to file a new claim. At the end of the recording, the system will transfer you to a person who will process the Initial Interstate Claim for you.
Q: How is my weekly benefit rate determined?
A: We calculate your original benefit rate based on your actual high calendar quarter* wages. Your weekly benefit rate is 1/26 of the high quarter wages paid to you in your base period.
1st calendar quarter: January 1 through March 31
2nd calendar quarter: April 1 through June 30
3rd calendar quarter: July 1 through September 30
4th calendar quarter: October 1 through December 31
Q: What is the maximum amount of benefits I can receive?
A: Although your claim lasts one year (your benefit year), during that time you can only receive 26 times your full weekly rate. The same amount of money applies for weeks of partial unemployment. You may also be able to receive extended benefits. For details, see the Extended Benefits information page.
- You completed the first full term of enlistment, except where discharge or early release was for:
- Government convenience under an early release program
- Medical disqualification, pregnancy, parenthood, or any service-incurred injury or disability
- Personality disorder or inaptitude (but only with a year of continuous service)
- As a reservist, you must have had at least 90 days of continuous active duty.
- You received your discharge under honorable conditions. If you were an officer, you did not resign for the good of the service.
Q: What if I work for a school system?
A: Employees of educational institutions who have a contract or believe they have work in the next academic year or term cannot receive UI benefits if they file:
- Between academic years or terms
- During customary vacation or holiday recesses
- Immediately following the vacation period or holiday recess
Q: What if I worked in New York State, but live in another state?
A: If you currently live in another state, but all of your work in the past 18 months was in New York State, you must file your claim with New York State. See How to File a Claim for instructions.
Q: What if I plan to move out of New York State?
A: If you are looking for work outside of New York State or plan to move, you must contact the Telephone Claim Center. They will tell you how to transfer your claim.
Q: Does receiving Social Security affect my benefits?
A: We do not reduce your unemployment benefits because you collect Social Security. You must be able to work and be looking for work with no restrictions when you receive Social Security.
|You did not contribute towards your pension||Your benefit rate will be reduced by the weekly equivalent of your pension|
|You contributed less than 50% of the total value of your pension||The reduction is one-half the weekly equivalent of your pension|
|You contributed 50% or more or if you rolled your pension over to a qualifying IRA account||There is no pension reduction|
Q: Does receiving workers' compensation affect my benefits?
A: If you receive workers' compensation, but you are available and physically able to work, you may be eligible for unemployment insurance benefits. However, this may reduce your weekly unemployment benefit rate. The weekly total of your workers' compensation and UI benefits cannot be more than your average weekly wage in the base period.
- Copies of the Notice that Payment of Compensation for Disability has been Stopped or Modified (Workers' Compensation Form C-8)
- A medical statement signed by your physician, stating that you are able towork
Q: Does receiving separation-related payments (severance pay, vacation pay, etc.) affect my benefits?
A: Generally, you can collect unemployment insurance benefits while you receive separation-related payments.
You continue to receive the full salary
Exactly the same benefits that your employer paid while you were working
The understanding that the salary and benefits will stop
You find work elsewhere. Pay for unused vacation accruals normally does not affect your eligibility.
Q: Does pregnancy affect my eligibility?
A: It violates federal and state law to deny benefits to any claimant because of pregnancy. If you are ready, willing and able to work, and are actively searching for work, your pregnancy does not affect benefits.
- Took a leave of absence or
- They fired you because of pregnancy
Q: Am I eligible for benefits during a leave of absence from my job?
A: To be eligible for unemployment insurance, you must be ready, willing and able to work, and actively looking for work. You must be ready to start work at once and be physically and mentally capable of working to receive benefits.
- Were working legally when you lost your job
- Are legally allowed to take a new job
- Meet the other requirements for UI
Q: What if I want to start my own business?
A: 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.
- By yourself
- With a partner or
- In a corporate arrangement
- An hour or less in self-employment
- On a free-lance basis or
- For someone else
- A friend
- A relative or
- An employer
- Doing free-lance work
- Starting a business
- Doing "favors" for another business
Q: What if I'm out of work due to a strike?
A: If you lose your job because of a labor dispute (strike, or other industrial controversy (except for lockouts)) in the establishment where you are employed, you will not be eligible for unemployment insurance benefits for 49 days. You may be eligible sooner if:
- the labor dispute ends and you are still unemployed or
- your employer hires replacement workers
Q: What if I want to help a friend or relative?
A: We may consider you employed on any day or any part of a day when you perform even minor duties or "favors" for a friend's or relative's business. It does not matter whether you get paid or not. Call the Telephone Claim Center and give all the details before you claim benefits.
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