File Your First Claim for Benefits

What You Need to Know

Important Update: As of September 5, 2021, several federal unemployment benefit programs, including PUA, PEUC, EB, and FPUC, have expired, per federal law. For more information, visit dol.ny.gov/fedexp.

  • To collect regular unemployment insurance benefits, you must be ready, willing, and able to work.
  • Anyone calling from DOL will verify their identity by providing: (a) the date you filed your application and (b) the type of claim.
  • You will receive all benefits you are entitled to, including any backdated payments you are due.
  • If you are eligible, your first payment will generally be made in two to three weeks from the time your claim is completed and processed. In some cases, we must get additional information before payment can be made and your first payment may take longer. We use this time to review and process your application for benefits. You will not receive benefits during this period. This is why you may see your claim status as “pending.”

  • New Yorkers who are receiving Unemployment Insurance benefits are eligible for up to 26 weeks of benefits.

Overview

Unemployment Insurance is temporary income for eligible workers who lose their jobs through no fault of their own. File your claim the first week that you lose your job.

If you are eligible, you will be paid for all benefits from that date forward.

What You Need to Know About Filing for Unemployment Insurance Benefits During the Pandemic:
  • Following the expiration of New York State’s COVID-19 State of Emergency, the Unemployment Insurance unpaid waiting period rule is once again in effect. New Unemployment Insurance claims filed on and after June 28, 2021 will include an unpaid waiting week. Claimants will not receive payment for the first full week of a claim but must still claim weekly benefits and fulfill eligibility requirements. For more information, visit on.ny.gov/wwfaqs.
  • On March 27, 2020, a law was signed that provides additional Unemployment Insurance assistance to workers impacted by COVID-19. The benefits granted from this law expired on September 5, 2021.

Eligibility

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.

You must file an Unemployment Insurance claim to find out if you are eligible and learn your actual benefit amount.

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.

Estimate your weekly benefit amount with our benefit calculator.

Benefit Calculator

 

Payment Options

If you apply for unemployment insurance, you will be asked if you want to receive your benefits by direct deposit or debit card.

If you apply over the phone, you will automatically receive your benefits via debit card unless you had a previous claim and you received them by direct deposit.

How To File

 

WARNING: Use of a Virtual Private Network (VPN), proxy, or internet anonymizer service will cause problems with your ability to apply or certify for benefits. Turn these services off before applying or submitting a weekly certification.

Sign in or create a NY.gov ID account and follow the instructions to file a claim. 

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. This PIN will be used to access the system to certify for weekly benefits and update your account. 

Ready? Make sure you have with you:

  • 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 we can reach you from 8 am - 5 pm, 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 will need your bank routing and checking account numbers. You cannot choose direct deposit if you file your claim by telephone.

File

WARNING: Use of a Virtual Private Network (VPN), proxy, or internet anonymizer service will cause problems with your ability to apply or certify for benefits. Turn these services off before applying or submitting a weekly certification.

It is best to apply for unemployment insurance online in the hours of 7:30AM - 7:30PM. 

 

Apply Online Now

Apply By Telephone

Call our Telephone Claim Center, toll-free during business hours to file a claim.

  • 1-888-209-8124
  • Telephone filing hours are as follows:
    • Monday through Friday, 8:00 am to 5:00 pm.

If you file by phone, we 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
Hearing Impaired

Have your helper call the Telephone Claims Center at 1-888-783-1370.

TTY/TDD

Call a relay operator first at 1-800-662-1220, and ask the operator to call the Telephone Claims Center at 1-888-783-1370.

For more information, see our fact sheet: Do you help others apply or file for Unemployment Insurance?

What's Next

After you apply for unemployment insurance benefits, this is what you can expect: 

  • If you are eligible, your first payment will generally be made in two to three weeks from the time your claim is completed and processed. In some cases, we must get additional information before payment can be made and your first payment may take longer. We use this time to review and process your application for benefits. You will not receive benefits during this period. This is why you may see your claim status as “pending.”
  • You should respond to any questionnaires, messages, or phone calls from us as quickly as possible. Failure to do so will delay your claim or result in the denial or suspension of your benefits. PLEASE NOTE: Like many New Yorkers, DOL representatives are working from home, so your caller ID may show "PRIVATE CALLER.” Anyone calling from DOL will verify their identity by providing: (a) the date you filed your application; & (b) the type of claim. Once you have been verified, a representative may ask for your social security number.
  • If you received benefits on a prior claim by using a debit card and you no longer have the card, or if your card has expired, you must call KeyBank at 1-866-295-2955 to get a new card.
  • If you filed a prior claim and you received benefits on that prior claim by direct deposit, any benefits due to you on this claim will go to the bank account we have on file. If your bank account has changed, please immediately update your banking information by using our website. 
  • To find out when your most recent payment was released or to see a history of all payments made on your claim, sign in to your account.
  • After you complete your application for a new claim for benefits, you will receive a Monetary Determination in the mail informing you of your weekly benefit rate, the base period used to establish your claim, and the employers and wages used to calculate your weekly benefit rate.  
  • If the wages are wrong, or if any employers are missing, fill out and send to us the Request for Reconsideration form.
  • To speed our review of your claim, be sure to submit proof of your employment and wages. If you have no pay stubs, please send any documents you may have that can be used as proof. 
  • You should certify for benefits for each week you remain unemployed, as soon as you receive notification from the DOL to do so. Learn how to certify each week.

Claimant Handbook

Discrimination

It is against State and Federal law for the New York State Department of Labor to discriminate based on:

  • Race
  • Color
  • Religion
  • Sex
  • National Origin
  • Marital Status
  • Age
  • Disability
  • Political Affiliation or Belief
  • Sexual Orientation
  • Gender Identity or expression 
  • Military Status

We will evaluate your claim for UI benefits and decide if you qualify, without regard to any of these factors.