Unemployment insurance is an assistance program for temporarily unemployed workers run by the New York State Department of Labor. You do not have to be a U.S. citizen or hold a Green Card to qualify for this benefit but you must have been working with a valid work permit and currently possess a valid work permit. Learn more about the benefits you might be entitled to below.
5 Things You Need to Know About Unemployment Insurance
If you have recently become unemployed through no fault of your own, you may be eligible for unemployment insurance benefits (UI). UI is an assistance program for temporarily unemployed workers run by the New York State Department of Labor. You do not have to be a U.S. citizen or hold a Green Card to qualify for this benefit, but you must have been working with a valid work permit and currently possess a valid work permit. As long as you are ready, willing, and able to work, you can receive up to 26 weeks of benefits in an amount approximately equal to one-half of your past weekly pay – up to a current maximum (as of 2019) of $450/week.
You can apply for unemployment insurance either by calling 888-209-8124 or online here.
You are eligible for unemployment insurance if you meet the following requirements:
If you were fired for “misconduct” or you left your job voluntarily and “without good cause,” you are considered to have left your past job under disqualifying circumstances and are ineligible for unemployment insurance.
But, the Department of Labor will investigate your claim and it – not your employer – decides whether there was misconduct; whether your left the job voluntarily; and whether there was a good reason for you to leave your job.
Yes. You must certify that you did not work and were both available for employment and looking for work every week for which you want unemployment insurance benefits. You must do this every week even if you are waiting for a decision on your application or your application has been denied and you are appealing.
You should not certify:
The Department of Labor is very strict about this requirement and you may have to pay back benefits or even be subject to possible criminal consequences for misrepresentation. To certify for benefits you must either call 888-581-5812 or online.
The first determination you receive after you apply is called a “Monetary Determination.” It is the Department of Labor’s determination of whether you earned enough money to qualify for unemployment insurance. If you are found eligible, the Monetary Determination tells you how much your benefits will be. The calculation is based on how much income the Department of Labor believes you had in the last four quarters before the most recently concluded quarter.
If you think the Department of Labor is wrong about your income, you can request reconsideration of the monetary determination. You have 30 days to do this. You should submit a “Request for Reconsideration” form from the New York State Department of Labor, P.O. Box 15130, Albany, NY 12212. This form is provided in the Unemployment Insurance Claimant Handbook you receive when you apply for benefits or can be downloaded from the Department’s website.
You can also ask the Department of Labor to use the “Alternate Base Period” to calculate your benefits. If you made more money in the four most recently completed quarters than you did in the four quarters prior to the most recently completed quarter, using the Alternative Base Period to calculate your benefits may result in a higher weekly bene fi t rate. You have only 10 days from the date of your Monetary Determination to file a “Request for Alternate Base Period” form. This form is also available in the Unemployment Insurance Claimant Handbook. Forms can be downloaded here and must be sent to the New York Department of Labor, P.O. Box 15130. The form can be returned by fax to 518-457-9378 or by mail to New York State Department of Labor, P.O. Box 15130, Albany, NY 12212-5130.
An “Eligibility Determination” is the Department of Labor’s decision about whether you meet the eligibility criteria for Unemployment Insurance.
Yes. If you receive an Eligibility Determination that says you are not eligible you can request a hearing by writing a letter requesting a hearing to the New York State Department of Labor, P.O. Box 15131, Albany, N.Y 15131. You have 30 days from the date on your notice to request a hearing.
Yes. If you need representation at an unemployment insurance hearing, Legal Aid’s Employment Law Unit may be able to help you. Call our Access to Benefits helpline at 888-663-6880 on Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday from 9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. for information on requesting assistance.
Yes. You can request a delay or adjournment of your hearing—in writing or by calling ahead of time —if you have a good reason. Such reasons include needing time to meet with your representative, needing more time to gather evidence, and jury duty. If you do not request a delay in advance, you must attend the hearing and request it in person. You are only entitled to one adjournment.
If you or your employer miss the hearing, the party missing the hearing can request to reopen the hearing by writing to the Unemployment Insurance Appeal Board, ALJ Section, P.O. Box 697, New York, NY, 10014 within a reasonable time. The first time a party requests to reopen a hearing, a new hearing will be scheduled and a hearing judge will consider whether the party had good cause for missing the prior hearing.
At the hearing, a hearing judge called an “Administrative Law Judge” or “ALJ” will preside over your case. The ALJ will ask questions of both you and your employer under oath. You can present documents or other written evidence. Each side will have a chance to ask each other questions (“cross-examine”) and give the judge a final spoken summary of their case (a “closing statement”). If you or one of your witnesses needs a translator, one must be provided.
Yes. Either party who loses a hearing can appeal by writing a letter to the Unemployment Insurance Appeal Board, P.O. Box 15126, Albany, NY 12212 within 20 days of the decision.
Call our Access to Benefits helpline at 888-663-6880 on Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday from 9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. for help with:
The information in this document has been prepared by The Legal Aid Society for informational purposes only and is not legal advice. This information is not intended to create, and receipt of it does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship. You should not act upon any information without retaining professional legal counsel.
Last Updated: 29 July 2022
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