Unemployment Insurance Benefit Rules for Teachers and Other School Workers
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Overview

If you work for an educational institution and lose your job through no fault of your own, you may qualify for unemployment insurance benefits. For example, if your employer discharged or fired you because you could not meet their performance or production standards or their qualifications for the job.

Other examples include:

  • Layoffs
  • Contracts Expired
  • Furloughs
  • Reductions in Force (RIF)

 

Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) is a new federal program that is part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act that extends eligibility for individuals who have traditionally been ineligible for Unemployment Insurance benefits (e.g., self-employed workers, independent contractors).

You will not be eligible for PUA if you can telework, or if you are receiving paid sick leave or other paid leave benefits (regardless of meeting a category listed above).

Additionally, the CARES Act provides:

  • An additional $600 per week, on top of regular benefits, to all UI and PUA recipients through the week ending July 26, 2020.
  • An additional 13 weeks of UI benefits, beyond the regular 26 weeks already provided, for a total of up to 39 weeks of coverage.

 

DOL has launched an updated, streamlined online application that allows New Yorkers to apply for either traditional UI or PUA, depending on their eligibility. You do not have to complete a separate application for PUA.

 

     

      Eligibility

      Eligibility for benefits is determined on a case-by-case basis. Your claim will be reviewed to determine if you qualify.

      Teachers and other school employees generally do not qualify for Unemployment Insurance benefits during breaks in the school year or the time between school years or terms. This applies when:

      • They have a contract for a similar job in the next school year or term
      • There is reasonable assurance of a similar job in the next school year or term, after the break.

      Reasonable assurance exists when an educational institution:

      • Has said it will employ a worker AND
      • Will make a good faith effort to do so AND
      • Offers a salary and benefits similar to the prior job

       

      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

      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's 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 to know your bank routing and checking account numbers. You cannot choose direct deposit if you file your claim by telephone.

      File

      It is best to apply for unemployment insurance benefits online.

      Apply Online Now

      File 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 am to 7:30 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.