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Unemployment benefits are provided to unemployed citizens who need financial assistance from the government. This article defines unemployment benefits in New York, how to apply, and other relevant information.

What are Unemployment Benefits?

Unemployment benefits provide qualified people with financial assistance from the government for a finite period of time. This assistance is provided to individuals who are unemployed due to reasons out of their control. For example, if someone was laid off from their company, they can apply for unemployment benefits. However, if they willingly chose to leave their job, they cannot receive unemployment benefits in New York.

In the state of New York, an unemployed individual can file an unemployment insurance claim if they worked in New York within the last 18 months. Applying for unemployment benefits takes place online. If the individual’s unemployment claim is approved, they can receive benefits for up to 26 weeks. The amount that a person receives in benefits can vary from person to person, as there is not one set amount. The amount of funding an individual receives depends on their specific circumstances.

Expected Amount and Time

Similar to other states, New York provides weekly benefits ranging from $100 to $500 a week. Applicants can expect to receive their first payment within two to three weeks of their application being approved. For the duration of the 26 weeks, recipients are expected to be actively looking for employment. In New York, employers have funds that are created for and contribute to unemployment insurance.

In order to qualify for unemployment benefits, a person is expected to have earned enough wages in covered unemployment. Applicants may be denied if their earnings and work duration do not meet the requirements. In this case, they have the option to appeal the denial, and their case will be heard in front of an administrative judge.

Another important factor in determining if you are eligible for unemployment benefits is a base period. During an individual’s base period, they must meet all three requirements:

  1. An individual must have received at least $2,700 at the highest point of their base period;
  2. Their total earnings must be at least 1.5 times their earnings in a base period in the highest paid quarter; and
  3. In an individual’s base period, they must have earned wages in at least two out of the four quarters.

Benefits for Part Time Workers

An employee can receive unemployment benefits in New York if they work part time. In order to be classified as a part time employee in New York, a person must work between 30 and 40 hours.

As of January 2021, part time employees in New York can base their unemployment claims on the number of hours they work instead of the previous system, which was number of days per week. In the past, a part time employee who worked eight hours in one day would receive the same benefits as someone who worked one hour. This also meant that employees who worked four or more days a week, regardless of the hours worked per day, would not receive any benefits.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Is my income from unemployment benefits taxable?

A: Yes, your income from unemployment benefits is taxable for your federal and state tax returns.

Q: What items should I have ready when applying?

A: When applying for unemployment benefits, be sure to have your social security number, driver’s license/state ID, name, phone number, address, and financial information.

Q: Has the coronavirus pandemic affected unemployment benefits?

A: Yes, the coronavirus pandemic has changed a few of the criteria for unemployment. For example, under the New York State of Emergency, there exists a waiting period for unemployment insurance. This means that claims filed on or after June 28, 2021 will experience a waiting week that is unpaid. Another example is the CARES Act, which states that an individual can withdraw up to $100,000 from their 401k without receiving penalties, as long as they meet certain requirements.

Q: Does a 401k withdrawal affect unemployment benefits in New York?

A: If an individual chooses to withdraw from their 401k, this will not affect their unemployment benefits. An applicant does not need to claim 401k withdrawal on their unemployment benefits. This means that a 401k withdrawal will not affect a person’s eligibility to apply for unemployment benefits.

Q: Can I only apply online?

A: No. Although applying online is encouraged and common, individuals can apply for unemployment benefits over the phone.

Q: Can I collect benefits while on disability benefits?

A: This depends on your circumstances. If you are physically able to work, you may be eligible for unemployment. You are encouraged to apply and see if your application is approved.

Q: If I am not a United States citizen, can I still file for unemployment?

A: Depending on your circumstances, you can still apply and get approved for unemployment benefits although you are not a United States citizen. Satisfying one or more of these criteria will increase your chances of approval:

  1. If you are legally authorized to work;
  2. If you were working legally when you lost your job; and
  3. If you met the aforementioned requirements for unemployment insurance.

Note: If you do not have legal status in the U.S., you will most likely not be able to receive unemployment benefits.

Contact Pride Legal

If you or a loved one wishes to apply for unemployment benefits, we invite you to contact us at Pride Legal for legal counseling or any further questions. To protect your rights, hire someone who understands them.


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