Do You Need Assistance with Claiming Unemployment Insurance Benefits?
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To receive unemployment insurance benefits, you need to file a claim with the unemployment insurance program in the state where you worked. Depending on the state, claims may be filed in person, by telephone, or online.
WHO CAN RECEIVE UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE BENEFITS?
If you have worked in New York you may be eligible to receive Unemployment Insurance benefits. You must:
• Have lost employment through no fault of your own
• Have enough prior earnings from employment to establish a claim
• Be ready, willing and able to work immediately
• Be actively seeking work and keep a record (online or written) of your efforts
If you are not sure if you qualify, you should still apply as soon as possible. Department of Labor will determine if you are eligible. For more information about eligibility, please see Chapter 2 of the claimant handbook or review the NYS Department of Labor Website
Unemployment Insurance + COVID-19
On March 27, 2020, the President of the United States signed the CARES act, which provides additional Unemployment Insurance assistance to workers impacted by COVID-19. This new law provides:
- Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) – Extended eligibility for individuals who have traditionally been ineligible for UI benefits (e.g., self-employed workers, independent contractors);
- Pandemic Unemployment Compensation – An additional $600 per week, on top of regular benefits, to all UI recipients; and
- Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation – An additional 13 weeks of UI benefits, beyond the regular 26 weeks already provided, for a total of 39 weeks of coverage.
On April 8, 2020, Governor Cuomo directed the State Department of Labor to immediately make $600 in additional weekly unemployment benefits available to all New Yorkers. The additional benefits were included in the Federal CARES Act, but, unlike other states, New York began delivering the extra unemployment insurance to unemployed individuals before Federal funds are disbursed to the states. New York is also extending the period covered by unemployment benefits for another 13 weeks, for a total of 39 weeks.
On April 20, 2020, the New York State Department of Labor announced the launch of a new application for New Yorkers to apply for traditional Unemployment Insurance or the new COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Assistance. This one-stop-shop for unemployment benefits will connect New Yorkers with the benefits they deserve faster, without requiring them to call the Department of Labor. With this new application, which aligns with updated federal policy, New Yorkers will be able to simply fill out one form to get the correct benefits.
WHO IS ELIGIBLE TO FILE FOR PUA?
The Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program, which was included in the Federal CARES Act, provides unemployment benefits for individuals who are ineligible for traditional unemployment insurance. Examples of those covered by PUA include:
- Self-employed New Yorkers
- Independent contractors
- New Yorkers who worked for an app-based company (i.e. “gig workers”)
- Those diagnosed with COVID-19 or who have COVD-19 symptoms and are seeking a diagnosis
- Those living with a household member who has been diagnosed with COVID-19
- Those providing care for a family or household member diagnosed with COVID-19
- A primary caregiver for a child unable to attend school or another facility due to COVID-19
- Those unable to reach their place of employment due to an imposed quarantine or because they have been advised by a medical provider to self-quarantine due to COVID-19
- Those scheduled to commence new employment that cannot reach their workplace as a direct result of COVID-19
- Those who became a major breadwinner because the head of their household died from COVID-19
- Those who quit their job as a direct result of COVID-19
- Those whose place of employment closed as a direct result of COVID-19
- Those with insufficient work history and affected by COVID-19
- New Yorkers otherwise not qualified for regular or extended UI benefits and affected by COVID-19
What is the relationship to regular Unemployment Insurance claims?
A person may file under the PUA program; however, PUA is NOT payable if the person is eligible for unemployment compensation under any state or other federal program. Individuals are not eligible for PUA if they can telework or are receiving paid sick leave or other paid leave benefits.
How long is PUA payable?
PUA benefits are available for up to 39 weeks. The total number of weeks must include any weeks for which you receive regular Unemployment Insurance benefits or extended benefits under any federal or state law.
Before you apply, you can review NYS Department of Labor FAQ page
Promptly file your claim, in the first week that you lose your job. You must serve an unpaid “waiting period,” equal to one full week of unemployment benefits, before you receive payments. A delay in filing may cost you benefits. You can estimate your weekly benefit amount by using the benefit rate calculator on the NYS Department of Labor website.
Please note that the tool gives an estimate only. It does not guarantee that you will be eligible for benefits or a specific amount of benefits. You must file an Unemployment Insurance claim to find our if you are eligible and learn your actual benefit amount.
[Note: NYS is waiving the 7-Day waiting period for Unemployment Insurance benefits for people who are out of work due to Coronavirus (COVID-19) closures or quarantines.]
To better assist you, here are Unemployment Fact Sheets that you can view in select languages:
English | Spanish | Albanian | Arabic | Bengali | Burmese | Chinese Simplified | French | Haitian Creole | Hindi | Italian | Japanese | Korean | Polish | Punjabi | Russian | Swahili | Urdu | Vietnamese
Filing a New Claim
For the most in-depth information on filing a new claim, we encourage you to visit the NYS Department of Labor website directly.
In order to file a new claim, you must create an NY.GOV ID, or log-in if you already have an account. For assistance with your NY.gov ID account username or password please visit the following website to troubleshoot any issues or you can call 1-888-469-7365. Select your language, then press 4.
To complete the online application, you will need the following information:
- Valid New York State driver’s license or Non-Driver Photo Identification Card number (if you have either one)
- Your complete mailing address and zip code
- Telephone number where we can contact you between 8 am and 5 pm Monday through Friday
- Employer Registration number or Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN) of your most recent employer (FEIN may be found on your W-2 forms), if you have it
- Complete name, address, zip code and phone number of your most recent employer
- Alien Registration card number (if you are not a U.S. Citizen)
- If you are unable to print, have a pen and paper available to write down important information
- If you choose to have direct deposit of your weekly benefits, you must have a check handy in order to enter your bank routing and checking account numbers
If you have not worked in New York State in the last 18 months, but worked in one or more states other than NYS, you may be able to establish a claim with one of the states which you worked. If you have not worked in New York State in the last 18 months, but have worked in two or more other states, you may be able to establish a combined wage claim with any of the states in which you worked. Your wages will be combined and your benefits will be calculated under the law of the state in which you file your combined wage claim. This may increase your benefit amount. You should know that state unemployment laws, weekly benefit amounts, and eligibility requirements vary between the states.
The New York State Department of Labor understands the urgency that many of you are facing. Unfortunately, it does take time to review and process UI claims. They are working around the clock to process claims and get NYers their benefits as quickly as possible. If your claim is pending, here’s what you should know.
- If you are found eligible, you will receive any back weeks of benefits owed with your first payment. You will receive your benefits via direct deposit or bank debit card.
- If you are found ineligible, you will receive a determination explaining the reason. If you disagree, you may request a hearing within 30 days from the date of the determination.
(See Claimant Handbook page VII)
After you file your claim for Unemployment Insurance benefits, you will need to take further action. For each week that you are unemployed and looking for work, you must claim benefits by answering a series of questions. Claiming weekly benefits is also called certifying for benefits, as you are certifying to the NYS Department of Labor that your answers are true and correct. The following fact sheet is a guide to help you claim weekly benefits.
NOTE: All Unemployment Insurance claimants must also read the Claimant Handbook.
Review NYS Department of Labor FAQ page
Claim Weekly Benefits
Our goal is to provide claimants who have a denied application, with attorney assistance during the next steps of the process. If you have been denied a claim, we encourage you to fill out the below form, and we will connect you to one of our volunteer attorneys.
What are some of the reasons I could be denied benefits?
You must meet the conditions set by law to receive unemployment insurance. You cannot receive unemployment benefits if you have less than the required work and wages to establish a claim. Other circumstances under which your claim cannot be approved are listed below. For additional details on each each item click here.
- Voluntary Quit and Misconduct
- Criminal Misconduct
- Job Refusal
- Strike and Other Industrial Controversy
- Availability and Capability
- Not Totally Unemployed
For additional details on each of the items above and to review frequently asked questions click on the link below.
Note: If you are disqualified or suspended before beginning a benefit year, you can receive benefits after the suspension or disqualification ends if, at that time, you can meet all the tests for filing a new valid claim.
If you are denied benefits, a Notice of Determination will be mailed to you telling you the reasons why. This notice will also explain for what period of time benefits are being denied, how to re-qualify and how to ask for a hearing.
A hearing is an informal proceeding held before an independent administrative law judge at the Unemployment Insurance Appeal Board. Based on the evidence presented at the hearing, the judge will decide whether you are entitled to or eligible for unemployment insurance benefits. At the hearing, you, your employer and any witnesses for either side may testify. The testimony will be recorded. Either side can also present papers or other physical evidence.
To protect your rights, you must continue to claim weekly benefits for any week in which you are unemployed.
Claim your weekly unemployment benefits online with your NY.GOV ID or by calling TEL-SERVICE
Unemployment Insurance Claimant Advocate Office
The Claimant Advocate Office operates within the Department of Labor’s Unemployment Insurance Division, separate from the Telephone Claims Center (TCC). Advocates provide free, impartial and confidential services that help claimants, particularly those with limited English proficiency or other barriers, understand their rights and responsibilities under Unemployment Insurance Law.
To contact Telephone Claims Center (TCC) staff:
Call the TCC toll-free at (888) 209-8124 during the hours of operation (currently expanded): Monday through Friday, 8 am to 7:30 pm, Saturday and Sunday, 7:30 am to 8:00 pm. Due to enormous volume, there may be considerable wait time. Please be patient; everyone who is entitled will get their benefits.
If you are a hearing impaired individual who is being assisted by another person, call the Telephone Claims Center at (888) 783-1370; however, if you use TTY/TDD, call a relay operator first at (800) 662-1220, and ask the operator to call the Telephone Claims Center at (888) 783-1370.
Please note that the TCC staff cannot help you with issues related to your NY.gov account, such as difficulty logging in, changing your personal information or resetting your password. For assistance with troubleshooting NY.gov account issues and to access their various guide sheets you can visit their FAQ page here or please call 800-833-3000.
If you have a general Unemployment Insurance (UI) question or a claim-specific question not answered in our Frequently Asked Questions section, you may send us a secure message. Sign in with your NY.GOV ID and click on “Messages.” See How to Send a Secure Message for more information. See Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) and Customer Tutorials to help you get started with NY.GOV ID.
New York State Department of Labor, P.O. Box 15130, Albany, NY 12212-5130
(518) 457-9378. Be sure that your Social Security number appears at the top right hand corner on all pages. Save your fax confirmation sheet as we do not confirm the receipt of a fax or written correspondence.
To claim weekly benefits or listen to benefit payment information:
It’s best to claim weekly benefits or obtain benefit payment information online with your NY.GOV ID.
Tel-Service at (888) 581-5812. If you use TTY/TDD, call a relay operator first at (800) 662-1220, and ask the operator to call the Telephone Claims Center at (888) 783-1370. You may claim your weekly benefits Monday through Friday from 7:30am until midnight and from 12:01am on Saturday until midnight on Sunday. You must request payment the first week following the week you wish to initiate a claim or on Sunday at the end of the week that you are claiming. Weekly claims made on Sunday are for the week ending that day.
For debit card questions:
Call: KeyBank Customer Service at (866) 295-2955
To request a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge:
Write: New York State Department of Labor, P.O. Box 15131, Albany, NY 12212-5131. Your written request must be received within 30 days of the determination. Be sure that your Social Security number appears at the top right hand corner on all pages.