Eligibility & Benefits
You must be eligible for UI benefits before you can submit a claim. Firstly, you must be unemployed due to no fault of your own. Your must be willing to work, physically able to work, and ready to work. You must also be actively seeking employment. Most importantly, you must read the “Claimant Handbook” before submitting an application for UI.
There is also a monetary eligibility requirement that you must meet, which involves using your earnings from the last 12 months before you submit your claim. This 12-month period is known as the “base period,” and it consists of the first four quarters out of the last five completed quarters prior to the date that your claim becomes effective. You must have earned an income during two of the four quarters in your base period. In addition, you must have earned at least $1600 during one of the quarters in your base period, and your total wages from this period must be 1.5 times more than the greatest amount of wages earned in one quarter. There is an exception to this condition; if you earned $8900 or more in one quarter of your base period, your earnings from the other quarters must be equal to or less than half this amount. An alternate base period can also be used to determine eligibility for UI benefits, which is considered the last four completed quarters before the quarter in which you file your claim. This alternative is only used for individuals who do not qualify for the base period.
Your earnings from your base period will also be used to determine your weekly benefit amount and the number of weeks you will receive UI benefits. You can benefit from up to 26 weeks of UI payments during one year, which is known as your “benefit year.” In terms of payment methods, you can either choose to receive your payments in the form of a check that will be mailed to you or through direct deposit.
How to File a Claim
The easiest way to apply for UI benefits is online. The online system can be used to check the status of your claim or modify personal details. You must check the website for specific times in which the online system can be used. Similarly, you can choose to contact the Claim Center by telephone at 1-888-209-8124. Before you can file a claim, you must have the following items:
Personal email address
Social Security Number
Driver’s license or identification card
Mailing address and phone number
Employment history from the last 18 months, which includes the names, addresses, and telephone numbers of all your previous employers
The dates of employment, your earnings, and the reasons for separation from all positions held within the last 18 months
Banking information if you wish to receive your payments through direct deposit
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
When will I get my first unemployment payment?
In the state of New York, it can take between 3 to 6 weeks to get your first unemployment payment once you have filed your claim. During this time, the Department of Labor is processing your claim and you will not receive any payments. Your first payment may reflect back payments for prior weeks if you qualify.
Can I claim my benefits if I’m out of the country?
You can not claim benefits from outside of the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico or the Virgin Islands. If you are collecting unemployment benefits and need to leave the country, you should contact the Department of Labor and let them know before your trip.
Can I give someone my PIN number and certify for benefits on my behalf?
No. Never give your PIN to another person. Having someone else claim weekly benefits for you is a serious offense and can lead to loss of benefits, criminal prosecution and even jail time.
How do I check my payment history and status?
In New York, you can visit their online portal at labor.ny.gov/signin and click on the “Unemployment Services” section, then click on “View Payment History”.