How to Apply for Unemployment in NYC

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New York State provides unemployment benefits that are meant to serve as temporary income to New York residents who have lost a job through no fault of their own and are actively seeking work. Read through the Q&A below to find out if you are eligible for New York unemployment benefits and to learn how to apply for and collect unemployment in New York City.

How Do I Find out If I Qualify?

Unemployment insurance is temporary income for eligible workers who have become unemployed through no fault of their own and who are ready, willing, and able to work during each week of claims. You must have sufficient work and wages in covered employment in order to collect unemployment benefits (in New York State, it is your employer's duty to pay into unemployment; it is not deducted from your paycheck). If you're unsure if you qualify for unemployment, you can apply for benefits and the Department of Labor will determine your eligibility.

When Should I File?

Your claim should be filed promptly, during your first week of unemployment. Your first week is an unpaid waiting week, commonly referred to as the “waiting period.” A delay in filing may lead to a loss of benefits.

What Information Do I Need to Apply?

You'll need the paperwork and information below in order to file your claim for New York State unemployment insurance payments. You can still file a claim if you don't have all of the documents listed, but it will likely take longer to process your claim and send your first payment.

  • Social Security number
  • New York State driver's license or Motor Vehicle ID card number (if applicable)
  • Complete mailing address and zip code
  • Weekday telephone number
  • Alien Registration card number (if applicable)
  • Names and addresses of employers during the last 18 month
  • Employer Registration number or Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN)
  • Your bank routing and checking account numbers if requesting direct deposit

How Can I File a Claim?

You may file a New York unemployment claim online between the hours of 7:30 am and 7:30 pm Monday through Thursday (EST); 7:30 am to 5 pm on Friday; all day on Saturday; and until 7 pm on Sunday.

You may also file a claim by calling 1-888-209-8124 toll-free between 8 am and 5 pm, Monday through Friday. If you choose to file your claim by phone, an automated voice will offer you the choice of filing in English, Spanish, Russian, Cantonese, Mandarin, Creole, Korean, Polish, or "all other languages" (translation services will be provided).

How Do I Receive My Unemployment Monetary Determination?

After filing, if you qualify for unemployment, you will be sent a Monetary Determination that includes your benefit rate (also known as how much you will receive each week). If you do not qualify, the Monetary Determination will provide the reason(s) and information on how to appeal.
Your weekly benefit rate is generally one twenty-sixth (1/26) of the highest quarterly wages paid to you in your base period (the period of employment when your employer contributed unemployment insurance taxes to the government).

How Can I Claim My Weekly Unemployment Benefits?

You may claim your weekly unemployment benefits online or via a touch-tone telephone by calling 1-888-581-5812. Both systems are simple to use and available in English and Spanish. You may claim your weekly benefits Monday through Friday from 7:30 am until midnight and all day on Saturday and Sunday. You must file your weekly claims promptly to receive payment.

For more information, visit the New York State Department of Labor.