New York Unemployment

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Unemployment Benefits and Eligibility

General Benefits Eligibility Criteria

The Department of Labor for New York recommends that filing an application for unemployment benefits is the most accurate way to determine if you are eligible. Before claiming unemployment benefits in New York, you will need to meet a number of prequalifying conditions under work based criteria and wages based criteria.

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Work Eligibility Criteria

  • The reason for loss of employment cannot be of your own volition, meaning you cannot quit your job for personal reasons—your employment cannot be terminated because of negative disobediences, conscious disregard for your employer, or violating reasonable standards of behavior in the workplace. Keep in mind that lack of adequate performance does not automatically disqualify you from eligibility.   
  • You cannot currently be earning any full-time income. You must work less than 30 hours per week (partial unemployment), or be completely out of work at the time you file for unemployment.
  • You must proactively seek reemployment and be available and capable of working any legitimate job offer. Finding and coordinating adequate child care, if you have children, in order to work is also necessary.

You may not be eligible to receive unemployment benefits if you lose your job for one of the following reasons:

  • Quitting voluntarily or for personal reason
  • A labor dispute or company strike
  • Violation of company policy
  • Fired for negative behavior or illegal misconduct
  • Left job to get married

Before successfully claiming unemployment benefits in New York, there are a number of prequalifying conditions you must meet. These conditions fall under work and wage-based criteria and are just part of meeting minimum work search requirements. In addition, it is recommended that you read the Claimant handbook before filing for unemployment benefits.

Wage Eligibility Criteria

Determining monetary eligibility for unemployment benefits in New York is based on calculating whether you have earned sufficient wages during the first four of the previous five calendar quarters—this time is your base period.

To qualify for unemployment, you must meet the following wage requirements during your base period:

  • Must have earned wages from a job covered by Unemployment Insurance in at least two calendar quarters of the four covered quarters
  • You must have earned wages of at least $1,900 during a quarter
  • Must have earned a gross salary that was more than 1.5 times the earnings of your highest earned wages quarter

The wage requirement applies to wages earned during the “base period” as stated by New York. This base period is defined by the total earnings you received from your last 12 months of work. It consists of the first four full quarters or 18 months preceding submission of an unemployment claim.

Exception: if your high quarter wages were $9,350 or more, you must have been paid at least $4,675 (half of $9,350) total in the other three quarters of your base period

Earnings you received from your base period will be used to determine your Weekly Benefit Amount and how many weeks you will be able to receive unemployment benefits. You can receive unemployment benefits for up to 26 weeks in New York during one calendar year, which is sometimes referred to as your “benefit year”. Once you are eligible for benefits, you can choose to receive your payments through direct deposit or a check can be mailed directly to your place of residence.

Unemployment Availability Limits

You should file for unemployment benefits as soon as possible after your employment has ended; ideally the first week you are partially or completely unemployed. If you wait longer, you will delay your benefits and potentially lose them. In New York, there is a waiting period of one week before you can start receiving benefits. The first week of unemployment is called your initial claim week and you will receive no compensation during that week. Claim weeks in New York run Monday through Sunday. To continue collecting benefits after you have filed your initial claim, you should continue to file a claim every two weeks, or until you are employed full time.

Unemployment Extensions

The Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) program and Extended Benefits (EB) program are discontinued and are no longer available as of August 3, 2014. At this time, Congress has not renewed the EUC program.