How To File For New York Unemployment

This page provides information on how to file for unemployment in New York. If you lost your job or your hours were reduced at no fault of your own, you may qualify to receive unemployment benefits in your state. Review the information below, if you still have questions or issues about these benefits, then we suggest to contact your local New York Unemployment Department for assistance. It is important that you file your new claim right away because New York unemployment insurance are not retroactive.

New York unemployment insurance is temporary income:

  • For eligible workers
  • Who lose their jobs
  • Through no fault of their own

To collect benefits, you must be ready, willing, and able to work, and actively looking for work during each week in which you are claiming benefits. To qualify for Unemployment Insurance benefits, you must have worked and earned enough wages in covered employment. In New York State, employers pay contributions that fund Unemployment Insurance. It is not deducted from your paycheck. The Department of Labor decides if you qualify for benefits.

  • When to File
  • 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
  • How to File
  • Web Service

Apply for New York unemployment benefits

The best way to apply for unemployment is to use their online system. Sign in with your NY.GOV ID and follow the instructions to file a claim. You may file your claim:

Monday - Thursday 7:30am to 7:30pm ET
Friday 7:30am to 5:00pm
Saturday All Day
Sunday Until 7:00pm

If for some reason you cannot apply online, then you can do it over the phone. Call their Telephone Claim Center toll-free during business hours to file a claim at 888-209-8124 from 8am to 5pm Monday - Friday. If you file by phone, they offer translation services. Use your phone keypad to enter the number for the language you choose. A voice recording will offer you these choices:

  • English
  • Spanish
  • Russian
  • Cantonese
  • Mandarin
  • Creole
  • Korean
  • Polish
  • All other languages
  • Information you need when you apply for benefits
  • Your Social Security number
  • Your driver license or Motor Vehicle ID card number (if you have either one)
  • Your complete mailing address and zip code
  • A phone number where they can reach you from 8am - 5pm Monday - Friday
  • Your Alien Registration card number (if you are not a U.S. Citizen and have a card)
  • Names and addresses of all your employers for the last 18 months, including those in other states
  • Employer Registration number or Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN) of your most recent employer (FEIN is on your W-2 forms)
  • Your copies of forms SF8 and SF50, if you were a federal employee
  • Your most recent separation form (DD 214), for military service

You can file a claim without all of these documents. However, missing information can delay your first payment. If you cannot print web pages, have a pen and paper to copy information. If you choose direct deposit of your weekly benefits, you need a check that has your bank routing and checking account numbers.

Personal Identification Number (PIN)

If you have never filed a claim for benefits in New York State, you must create a PIN. This is a four-digit number that you must keep confidential. If you have a disability and need help to file your claim, you may allow another person to aid you.

  • You must be present each time they help you and use your PIN
  • You will be held accountable for the actions of your helper
  • You may be subject to penalties, including forfeiture of benefits, if you are not present when your helper assists you

Callers may ask a friend or relative to help with phone claims if they:

  • Have problems with hearing or speech or
  • Have difficulty using the phone for any reason

Determining weekly unemployment benefits

They 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.

Exception: if your high quarter wages are $3,575 or less, your weekly benefit rate is 1/25 of your high quarter wages. For claims effective 1/6/14 and later, if you only have two or three quarters of earnings in your base period and your high quarter is greater than $4,000, your high quarter wages will be calculated based on the average of your two highest quarters. The rate applies wages to the quarter when your former employer paid them (not when you earned them). The current maximum weekly benefit rate is $435.

They establish your entitlement and benefit rate with information that your employers report to the New York State Wage Reporting system. They will send you an initial Monetary Determination based on this. If you qualify, the Monetary Determination will show your weekly benefit rate. If you do not qualify, the Monetary Determination will explain why. It will also tell you what to do if the wages on the form are wrong or if your employment and earnings are missing. They must reduce your weekly benefit payment by one-quarter for each day you work or are not eligible. If you earn over $435 in any week, no matter how many days you worked, you cannot receive benefits for that week.

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
What is the maximum amount of benefits I can receive?

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.

If I am not a US citizen, may I still file a claim?

If you are not a US citizen, you may receive unemployment insurance if you:

  • Were working legally when you lost your job
  • Are legally allowed to take a new job
  • Meet the other requirements for UI
I filed a claim, what next?

For each week you wish to receive benefits, you must request payment by claiming benefits for that week. Before they can pay any benefits, you must serve an unpaid waiting period. This equals one full week of unemployment benefits. You must claim credit for your unpaid waiting week during the period that:

  • Begins on the first Sunday after you file your claim and
  • Ends the next Saturday

The waiting period extends into the next week if you:

  • Work at all during the week in which you filed your claim or
  • Do not serve a full waiting period for other reasons

Each week that you are unemployed, you must request payment if you want to receive unemployment benefits. You certify that weekly claim on Sunday, for the week ending that day.

Claiming your weekly unemployment benefits

You can make your weekly claim online with your NY.GOV ID. Or if you prefer you can make your weekly claim over the phone use TEL-SERVICE, along with a touch-tone phone. Both systems are available in English and Spanish. If you are a hearing-impaired person who uses TTY/TDD equipment, call 877-205-3119. They can only provide service at this number to English and Spanish callers using TDD equipment.

If you are claiming weekly benefits on-line, you may do so:

  • Beginning Sunday - all day
  • Monday through Friday 7:30 am to midnight
  • Saturday - all day

An unemployment week runs Monday through Sunday. If you wish to claim benefits for a week of unemployment, you have from the Sunday date at the end of that week through the next Saturday to do so. The first week of your claim is a waiting period and is not paid. However, you must claim benefits for that week and get credit, so that you may claim benefits for future weeks of unemployment. When you claim weekly benefits, you must answer questions to certify how many days you were ready, willing and able to work during the past week. The certification system only handles certification for one week at a time.

You cannot claim for a given week more than a week later either online or using Tel-Service. The system will not accept certifications for any back weeks or other periods of time. If you miss claiming benefits for a week during which you were unemployed, you can request credit for this week by secure message, fax or regular mail. Do not call the Telephone Claims Center to request back credit for a week.

To submit a request by secure message, sign in to your account at and click on the envelope icon at the upper-right corner of the My online Services page. To fax your request, send to 518-457-9378. By mail send to:

New York State Department of Labor
PO Box 15130
Albany, NY 12212-5130

Be sure to include the beginning and ending dates of the time period for which you did not claim benefits and the reason you did not claim benefits promptly in your request. Also, include the last four digits of your Social Security number on the upper right corner.

They will review your request and decide if you are eligible to receive benefits for that time period. This review can take up to six weeks. During this time, be sure to continue claiming benefits for all weeks you are unemployed and eligible for benefits. If they write or call you to request more information, please respond promptly so the review is not delayed.

When you use the phone or online systems to claim your weekly benefits, you must certify for yourself. Having someone else claim your weekly benefits for you is a serious offense. It can lead to severe penalties, including criminal prosecution and jail time.

How will I receive my unemployment payments?

There are 2 ways they can issue you your unemployment benefits payment, debit card or direct deposit.

Debit Card

The debit card lets you withdraw your benefits via an ATM or at a Point-of-Sale terminal. Debit cards are safer than checks. Only the Department of Labor can deposit money into the debit card account. For details, visit their Debit Card for Unemployment Insurance Benefits page.

Direct Deposit

You may choose to have your weekly benefits electronically transferred into your checking account, if your bank has a direct deposit program. For details, visit their Direct Deposit Information page.

File an appeal

You have 20 days to appeal the judge's decision to the Unemployment Insurance Appeal Board. If more than 20 days have passed, you must explain why your appeal is late. Send a letter to NYS Department of Labor PO Box 15126, Albany, NY 12212-5126 and state the reason why you do not agree with the judge's decision. You must have been at the hearing to request an appeal. If you did not appear at the hearing, you may request that your case be reopened. Your employer (or the Department of Labor) may also request an appeal. After your appeal has been filed, you will receive an acknowledgment and instructions on how to submit additional written statements.

Once your request for an appeal of the ALJ's decision has been received, the Appeal Board will send you a "Notice of Receipt of Appeal". The notice will explain your rights and the time limits for you to inspect your file, instruct you to submit a written statement to the Appeal Board as to why you disagree with the judge's decision, and to reply to statements by other parties. You may get an attorney or someone else to help you prepare your statement. Your employer will also be allowed to file a statement.

You can review the transcript of your hearing before you write your statement. (The transcript is the written record of everything said at the hearing). To review the transcript, write a letter to the Appeal Board once you receive the "Notice of Receipt of Appeal" and before your statement is due. Request that the Appeal Board notify you know when the transcript is ready and to give you two weeks from the time the transcript is ready to submit your statement.

These time limits will be strictly enforced. Therefore, you should read the Notice of Receipt of Appeal very carefully. If the Appeal Board finds that there was a problem with your hearing, it can send your case back to the judge for another hearing or it can decide to hold a hearing itself. If the Appeal Board decides that the judge's decision was not correct, it can overturn the judge's decision.