In the state of New York, if you lose your job, you can file for financial assistance to receive temporary assistance while you’re searching for a new job. Unemployment assistance gives you the financial support that you need to stay on your feet and survive the loss of a job. This Unemployment Guide for residents of New York provides all the basic information you need to access this financial assistance, maintain it, and also how to find a new job. The guide consists of 3 parts:


●      Applying for Unemployment


In this section we discuss the process involved in applying for unemployment including eligibility for this insurance program, the period of time that applicants must be employed before becoming eligible to collect unemployment, and the filing guidelines you must follow to determine your eligibility. This section specifically covers the details of how to get unemployment and how long it takes to start receiving it.


●      NY Unemployment FAQ’s


This section of the Unemployment Guide considers questions that many people have when they are on unemployment insurance in New York. For example, many people wish to continue working part-time, if possible while they’re receiving unemployment insurance to supplement their income. We discuss how long a person can stay on unemployment and how often to expect payments through this program.


●      Jobs for Re-entry into the Workplace


In this final section of the Unemployment Guide we discuss re-entry into the workplace and how people who are unemployed can get back into the swing of things with a new job. Additionally, we discuss jobs that are always in high-demand that can act as a portal for individuals who are ready right now to re-enter the workforce.

Overview of New York State Unemployment Insurance

To be eligible to receive unemployment in the state of New York, you must lose your job as a result of events that are not your fault. In other words, if you were fired from your job due to poor performance, you will not be eligible for unemployment in New York. You should file a claim for unemployment within the first week that you lose your job to begin receiving benefits as soon as possible.


For a new unemployment claim, you will need to apply for benefits on the day of the week that corresponds to the first letter of your last name according to the following scheme:


●       Letters A through F file on Mondays

●       Letters G through N file on Tuesdays

●       Letters O-Z file on Wednesdays


Individuals who missed the correct day of the week must file on Thursday through Sunday as soon as possible after they become unemployed. When you file a claim during the first week following unemployment, the claim that you file will be backdated to reflect the date when you officially became unemployed and if you’re eligible to receive unemployment benefits, you will be paid from that date onward. If you file your claim late, you can contact the Department of Labor via fax or snail mail to request benefits for the time period when you were unemployed but not receiving benefits. We discuss late claims and the filing requirements you must follow to get reimbursed for back weeks later on in this guide.

Basic Information about Collecting Unemployment in New York State

In order to collect insurance benefits in New York, you have to be ready to work and willing to work. And you also have to be able to do some kind of work. When filling out your application, be sure to answer “YES” if all of these stipulations apply to you. During the period of time that you are unemployed, you will need to certify that you are actively looking for work each week after you begin receiving benefits.


Applicants should file their claim within the first week after they become unemployed to begin receiving benefits within 2 to 3 weeks after their claim is processed. The claim will then be backdated to the date of your unemployment and you’ll be paid all of the benefits that are owed to you dating back to this time. If you file late, you’ll need to make a special request for compensation of the weeks that passed after your official date of unemployment.

COVID-19 Unemployment Benefits

The typical 7-day waiting period for unemployment benefits was waived for residents of New York who are out of work due to the Coronavirus Pandemic. On March 27th in 2020, a set of laws were signed to provide additional assistance to workers who lost their jobs as a result of Coronavirus. Unemployed residents of New York became eligible at that time to receive up to 39 weeks of benefits including an extra $600/week through July 31, 2020. Eligible recipients do not need to do anything special to receive this extra $600/week. It will automatically be added to the unemployment benefits that you would normally receive each week. Normally, unemployment benefits are provided for only 26 weeks, but during the Coronavirus Pandemic, benefits have been extended by 13 additional weeks.


People who are not usually eligible to receive unemployment benefits, but who are not able to work due to the Coronavirus Pandemic may now be eligible for insurance through the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program. Unemployment benefits may also be extended for people whose benefits are set to expire. Individuals whose benefit year ended after July 1, 2019 would have to file a new claim in order to receive 13 more weeks of unemployment payments. The Department of Labor will send more details to these individuals about new claims in a mailed letter. Individuals whose benefits have not yet expired but who have already exhausted their 26 weeks of payments will also receive a letter from the Department of Labor that will certify that you can receive another 13 weeks of benefits due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. If your benefit year has not yet ended and you stopped claiming unemployment before your 26 weeks ended because you went back to work or due to some other reason that would not affect your eligibility, you just have to ask again for benefits to start receiving them again.

Section 1: Applying for unemployment.

You can apply for unemployment online, but before you do, read this section to better understand what to expect during the application process and how to expedite your claim and avoid payment delays. Applying for unemployment is a straightforward process if you have all the necessary documents and information ready and at hand. Simply follow the instructions online and get started with the application process as soon as possible, preferably within one week after you become officially unemployed.

Who is eligible for unemployment in New York State?

Eligibility for unemployment insurance benefits in New York is determined by how much you’ve worked and whether you’ve earned enough wages to be covered by unemployment or not. In the state of New York, employers must pay contributions to the state that ultimately fund Unemployment Insurance for out-of-work employees. To find out if you’re eligible to receive unemployment benefits, you’ll first have to file a claim with the state. Through this process you’ll find out what your weekly benefit payment will be.


No matter what, you must be capable of doing work and willing and ready to go to work in order to be eligible for unemployment benefits in the state of New York. You must be actively looking for a job every week during the time period when you are receiving unemployment payment to continue to qualify for this financial assistance.

How do I file for unemployment in NY?


In the state of New York, you can file for unemployment benefits online at You’ll begin the process of filing by creating a PIN (a 4-digit number that you should keep confidential). The PIN will be used to access your account as needed while you are out-of-work and looking for new employment.


To file for unemployment, you will simply follow the instructions on the website, but first, be sure to have the proper documents and information in hand so you can complete the application in full. Below is a list of items you’ll need to file for unemployment in NY:



●       Motor Vehicle ID card number OR Driver’s license (if you have either of these documents)

●       Alien Registration card number (if you have a card and you aren’t a U.S. Citizen)

●       Complete mailing address including the zip code

●       Social Security number

●       A daytime phone number where you can be reached between 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM, Monday through Friday

●       List of employers that you’ve had for the preceding 18 months, including employers in other states. Have the full names and addresses of these employers ready for the application.

●       Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN) OR Employer Registration number of your most recent employer. (The FEIN can be found your W-2 forms)

●       If you were a federal employee: copies of form SF8 and form SF50.

●       If you were in the military: your most recent separation form (DD 214)

●       If you wish to do direct deposit of your benefits each week, have your bank routing number and checking account number available. (Direct deposit is not an option if you file your unemployment claim via telephone)


Though it is still possible to file your unemployment claim without the above information at your fingertips, doing so may delay your payments. When there is information missing from a claim, the information must be filled in before your claim can be processed.


If you don’t have a printer handy to print information while you’re filling out the form, keep a paper and pen at your side to take notes and write down any necessary information during the application process.

How long do you have to work to collect unemployment in NY?

In order to receive unemployment benefits in New York, you must have been employed for paid work for at least 2 calendar quarters during your Base Period (a Base Period is one year or 4 calendar quarters). In 2019, the job must have paid you at least $2400 in wages during one of the calendar quarters. In 2020, the job must pay at least $2600 during one of the calendar quarters. The total amount that you received in payment during your Base Period must be 1.5 times your high quarter wages.


Anyone who has been employed for paid work in New York State within the prior 18 months has the right to file a claim for unemployment benefits. But eligibility can only be determined by filing a claim. Even seasonal or temporary workers may be eligible for unemployment assistance. The only way to find out whether or not you qualify for unemployment assistance in New York state is to file for benefits and wait to find out what the Department of Labor decrees in regard to your specific situation.

How long does it take to get unemployment in NY?

You should file your claim during the first week that you are either totally or partially unemployed. Waiting longer to file a claim can mean that you lose benefits. If you have worked four or more days during a given week, or if you were paid more than $504 gross pay during a 7 day period, then you must wait until the following Monday to file your claim if you have still not found a job by that time.


Typically, if you are eligible to receive unemployment benefits, your first payment will start within 2 to 3 weeks after your claim is first made and then processed. There are certain situations in which additional information is required before an application can be processed and payments can begin. If there are gaps in the information that need to be filled in, you will receive notification from the Department of Labor. This could result in delayed payments and you won’t receive benefits during this time period.  If your claim status is listed as “pending” then it is likely that there was a need to gather additional information in order to complete and then process the claim.

How will your benefits be calculated?


Your weekly benefits will be calculated on the basis of how much you were being paid during a “Base Period”. According to the unemployment algorithm, your weekly benefits will be calculated using a Base Period along with the wages that you would earn if you worked for any length of time during one year or four calendar quarters (3 months). Your benefit rate is the weekly payment amount that you’ll receive if you are indeed eligible to receive benefits.


There are two different ways to calculate the weekly unemployment payment: the Basic Base Period and the Alternate Base Period. If you did not have enough wages to calculate your benefits using the Basic Base Period, then the Alternate Base Period is used to determine the correct amount. Unemployment workers don’t always check to see if the benefit rate would be higher using the Alternate Base Period to calculate the weekly payment, but if you believe that your benefit payment would be higher using the Alternate Base Period, you can request that it be used instead of the Basic Base Period to process your claim. Just be aware that if you opt to use the Alternate Base Period to calculate your weekly benefit rate, it could affect your ability to qualify for a future unemployment claim. In some cases, the Basic Base Period may be extended back up to two calendar quarters.


There is a weekly benefit calculator available online at the website.

Section 2: NY Unemployment FAQ’s

If you’ve never received unemployment assistance before in New York, take some time to study this section of the guide to familiarize yourself with some of these important bits of information about unemployment insurance. You need to know the frequency and amount you’ll receive for unemployment in order to manage your financial life. The amount you’ll receive for unemployment will depend on how much money you made and how long you worked during a calendar year along with other factors like whether or not you intend to continue working part-time during your unemployment. And you’ll need to certify each week that you’re willing, able, and ready to work and that you’re actively seeking work in order to continue receiving payments.

How much do you get for unemployment in NY?

If you are eligible to receive unemployment assistance, your weekly payments will be determined by how long you worked during a Base Period and how much money you earned from your employers. The Base Period is one calendar year or 4 quarters (3 months). The method used to calculate your weekly unemployment payments will be determined by which type of Base Period is used for the calculation. There are two types of Base Periods: the Basic Base Period and the Alternate Base Period. The Basic Base Period is used for the calculation for Individuals who have had enough wages during the preceding calendar year. For individuals who don’t have enough wages in their Basic Base Period, the Alternate Base Period is used for the calculation. A Benefits Calculator is available online at the website.

Can I work part time and collect unemployment NY?

Partial benefits are available to individuals who work fewer than 4 days per week and earn less than $504 during that week. Each day or partial day that you work causes your unemployment benefits rate to drop by 25%. For example, if you work three days of the week and earn $400, your benefit rate will drop to $100. If you work only two days of the week, your benefits will drop to $200. If you work one day of the week, your benefits will be only $300.


Receiving partial benefits extends the amount of time that you can collect unemployment. However, if you receive more than $504 per week (no matter how many days you worked during that week), you can’t receive unemployment benefits for that week.


When you file your unemployment claim, you’ll be asked to enter the date of the last day that you worked. This should be the last day that you were physically present at your job, whether it was full-time or part-time work. If your more recent employer employed you for only part-time work, enter this employer’s information as the “last” or “most recent employer” when you fill out your claim. If you plan to continue working part-time for this employer, you will enter “lack of work” as the reason why you wish to collect unemployment.

How long can you stay on unemployment benefits?

In the state of New York, unemployment benefits are available for up to 26 weeks. However, if you´re still unemployed at the end of this time period, you may be able to apply for Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC). During periods of economic recession or high unemployment, additional assistance through EUC or state extended benefits may be available.

Is unemployment paid weekly or biweekly in NY?


Unemployment benefits in NY are paid weekly. The pay cycle runs Monday through Sunday, so if you want to claim benefits for a week of unemployment, you must make a claim between the Sunday at the end of the week through the next Saturday to be eligible. To claim weekly unemployment benefits, you will have to answer questions certifying how many days each week you were ready, willing, and able to work. The unemployment system only manages the certification of payments for up to one week at a time.


You can’t certify that you were ready, willing, and able to work for back weeks or other periods of time other than the current week through the online system or via the Tel-Service. Credit for backweeks can be requested via secure message, regular mail, or fax.

What happens if I wait longer than a week to file a claim for unemployment?


If you don’t file your unemployment claim within a week after becoming unemployed, you could lose benefits. However, if you are unable to file for unemployment during the requisite time frame, you can request credit for a time period of lost payments by writing to the following address:


New York State Department of Labor

Central Support Unit

P.O. Box 15130

Albany, New York 12212

FAX: (518)-457-9378


Be sure to include the following information in your letter:


●       Full Name

●       Address

●       Phone Number

●       The dates for which you are requesting credit (beginning and end dates)

●       The reason why you didn’t file your claim during the required time period

●       Your Social Security Number

●       Include the last 4 digits of your Social Security number on the upper right corner of the letter or fax.


Or to submit a request for back weeks when you did not receive payments, you can sign into your account and send a secure message at and click on the envelope icon on the upper right corner of the screen on the My Online Service page. Or fax a request to (518)-457-9378.


The review process for credit takes 2 to 3 weeks, but if more information is needed it could take longer. Continue claiming benefits during this time for all weeks when you are eligible and unemployed. The Department of Labor may write or call you by telephone to request additional information. By responding promptly, you can speed up the processing of your claim in order to receive benefits more quickly.


Section 3: Jobs for Re-entry into the Workplace 


Consumer Directed Personal Assistance Program (CDPAP)

Often, elderly individuals who live on their own feel more comfortable receiving care from people they trust, like family or friends. Recently, the New York State Medicaid system implemented a new program that makes it possible for family and friends of elderly individuals to receive care in exchange for compensation.

The Consumer Directed Personal Assistance Program or CDPAP matches elderly or disabled individuals in need of personal or home health care with able-bodied men and women who are interested in this kind of work. Indeed, through this program, even relatives or friends of people who are in need of care can work for pay through Medicaid. In other words, if you have an elderly or disabled relative who receives Medicaid benefits and who is in need of at-home care, you can work through this program as a personal care or home health aide.


If you don’t have an elderly friend or family member in need of personal care or home health aide services, you can still be matched up with people who are not relatives or friends who are in need of at-home caregiving services. Employment through the CDPAP program is always in high demand and for those who enjoy caregiving work, this program provides a great opportunity to get back into the workforce after a period of unemployment.


To be eligible to apply to work through the CDPAP, you must be at least 18 years of age and not the parent, spouse, or designated representative of the person who is receiving care.



Good receptionists are hard to find, so this is another high-demand position. Receptionists play a vital role in many businesses because they’re the first point-of-contact between companies and their customers. As a receptionist, you’ll have to answer the phone, schedule appointments, provide a welcoming atmosphere to walk-in customers, and maintain an organized flow in the office space. Customer service skills are often of high-importance in this type of work. To succeed as a receptionist, you’ll need to be helpful and courteous whenever you’re dealing with the public.


Construction Work/Carpentry/Plumbing/Electrical Work


New things are always being built, so construction work and carpentry are high-demand jobs that are open to almost anyone who’s willing and able to do physical work. Construction could involve highway maintenance or large urban projects while carpentry involves working primarily with wood and drywall on different aspects of construction. If you know how to frame walls, install cabinets, or set concrete forms, there are always jobs available in this field.


Plumbers and electricians are also in high demand and they often work with carpenters and other construction workers to complete projects. There’s been a lot of growth in the construction and home renovation industry over the past few years and the demand is anticipated to grow in the future. If you don’t already have plumbing, electrical, or construction experience, consider taking a class to develop skills in this area because there are a lot of employment opportunities available to people who have basic knowledge and a willingness to learn on the job.


Though janitorial work isn’t glamorous, it is in high demand and it’s a type of work that enhances the lives of many people. Janitors work in a wide variety of different environments including hospitals, schools, stores, and government buildings. There are a number of companies that hire house-cleaners to go to private residences as well.


Janitors and house-cleaners are called upon to wash floors, windows, and restrooms. They vacuum, sweep, and sometimes even do work outdoors cleaning sidewalks or other public spaces. The ability to make minor repairs to building spaces and components could result in higher pay. Many janitors run their own company and do work for employers as contractors.


Restaurant Cook or Waiter/Waitress


Restaurant workers are in perpetual demand. Cooks earn a slightly higher salary than waiters or waitresses, but waiters and waitresses earn tips that can increase their weekly earnings substantially. Full-service restaurants are always on the lookout for people who can serve food and drinks with a positive attitude to create a pleasurable dining experience for guests. Cooks must be able to prepare excellent, flavorful food that guests want to enjoy again and again. Waiters and waitresses must be willing to sell products like desserts to guests by making menu suggestions.


Restaurant work involves working closely with the public, so in order to succeed in this environment, it’s important that you enjoy people. For waiters and waitresses, a large part of their compensation comes from tips, so the ability to relate and show sincere concern for customers is essential in order to make a good wage.