How Does Unemployment Work? What You Need to Know

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Before You Apply for Unemployment Frequently Asked Questions

Following the expiration of New York State’s COVID-19 State of Emergency, the Unemployment Insurance unpaid waiting period rule is once again in effect. New Unemployment Insurance claims filed on and after June 28, 2021 will include an unpaid waiting week.

You must have worked and been paid wages for work in at least two calendar quarters in your base period,
For claims filed in 2022, you must have been paid at least 5000,900 in wages in one of the calendar quarters (this amount increases from 5000,700 for claims filed in 2021) 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.

If you worked in New York State within the last 18 months, you have the right to file a claim for benefits. We encourage you to file a claim even if you are uncertain. File a claim even if a former employer told you that you would not be eligible or that you were not ‘covered.’ The department will make an independent assessment of your eligibility.
You must meet the qualifying conditions set by law to qualify for benefits. (See list above.)
We can only determine your eligibility to benefits after you file a claim and we have all the required information.
You may be eligible for benefits if:

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 more than 30 hours or earn more than $504 gross pay between Monday and Sunday. You must wait until the next Monday to file, if you are still unemployed.

To request credit for a period for which you did not file a valid claim, write to:
New York State Department of Labor
Central Support Unit
P.O. Box 15130
Albany, New York 12212
Your letter should include your:

If you are hearing-impaired and another person is helping you:
Call the Telephone Claim Center at (888) 783-1370
If you use Telephone Device for the Deaf (TTY/TDD) equipment:
First call the relay operator at (800) 662-1220 and ask the operator to call the Telephone Claim Center at (888) 783-1370

To reset your PIN, call the Telephone Claim Center at (888) 209-8124 and speak with a representative. Call during the hours of operation: Monday through Friday, 8 am to 5 pm.
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.*

If you worked in 2 or more states in the past 18 months, you must file your claim with any one of the states where you worked, no matter where you live. You may be able to combine wages from all the states where you worked in the past 18 months. OR, you may use only the wages earned in the filing state. File your claim in a state where you worked, then that state will tell you all your filing options to receive the highest benefit amount. See details and filing instructions in other states.

If you receive partial benefits, it extends the length of time you may collect benefits. If you earn over $504 in any week, no matter how many hours you worked, you cannot receive benefits for that week.

If you filed a claim in another state, but have since moved to New York State, the other state may require you to register and receive re-employment services with New York State. To register with New York State, please go to the nearest New York State Career Center office and ask them to register you for re-employment services.

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.

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.

We will base your weekly benefit rate on your high quarter earnings in your base period. We base your earnings in military service on a Federal schedule that takes into account the base pay in your last grade, plus allowances for food and clothing.
Please have your most recent separation (Form DD214, Member 4) with you when you file your claim. Mail a copy of this form to the Telephone Claim Center to process your claim.
Note: New York’s Wage Reporting System does not show wages earned with the Federal Government, a branch of military service, or on work done outside of New York State. Thus, the initial Monetary Determination may not list them. Follow the instructions on the Monetary Determination for missing employment and earnings, so we can use those wages to calculate your correct benefit rate.

Are You Eligible for Unemployment?

  • You are unemployed through no fault of your own: That means you are out of a job due to reasons beyond your control, like a layoff. So, if you quit your job without good cause or are fired for gross misconduct, you’re not eligible. “Gross misconduct” is a vague term, but generally refers to illegal or dangerous acts committed in the workplace, like stealing from your employer.
  • You meet your state’s requirements for time worked or wages earned: Every state has different rules. For example, New York requires you to have worked in at least two calendar quarters of your “base period” (generally that just means the year before), be paid at least 5000,600 in wages in one of those quarters, and during that period made a total of 1.5 times the amount you made in your highest-paid quarter that year. Complicated, right? Fear not: If you had a solid, long-term job that you lost, you probably meet your state’s minimum time and wage requirements. You can learn about your state’s rules at CareerOneStop.

You also need to be actively looking for a new job, so those who head back to school full time won’t be able to collect because they’re no longer actively job-searching. Nonetheless, if you’re seeking training in a high-demand field, some states (like Washington and Oregon) have allowances that let you receive additional weeks of unemployment benefits without looking for work, as long as you’re enrolled and making satisfactory progress in your training program.

How to Collect Unemployment Longer (Sort Of)

Sanborn’s best tip for the newly unemployed? Look for a part-time job. “Any week that you make enough so you don’t need unemployment is an extra week tacked on to the unemployment period you can collect,” she says.

Unemployment rules for dealing with part-time work vary regionally. Some states will prorate your unemployment by a percentage (or deduct a certain amount from your unemployment check for every dollar you earn over a set limit), and others will let you earn a certain amount from part-time work as a supplement to your unemployment before they reduce your benefits. If there are weeks when you make too much to collect benefits, you’ve just earned yourself a safety net of an extra week.

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