New York Unemployment Insurance FAQ

New York Unemployment Insurance Frequently Asked Questions FAQ

The New York unemployment website is very thorough, but it would benefit from having a breakdown of the items people are in need of finding out as easily as possible.

How do I verify New York Department of Labor Identity Verification with ID.Me for PUA unemployment?

Check out our how to verify guide link below.

How To Verify New York Department of Labor Identification

What is the phone number for NY Unemployment Office ?

The phone number is 888-209-8124.

What is the fax number for filing your New York Record of Work Search form?

If faxing is an option then its listed on the official document you are looking at. If it does not have a fax and a hard copy must be sent in then it will provide the address on the document.

How do I apply for New York DOL unemployment benefit payments?

There are many websites that will tell you they can help you out, but the only one that can is the New York Government website.  Here is the link to the specific part of the website for this information:

How is my Unemployment payment amount calculated?

The State of New York’s UI calculator can be found here:

What is the maximum amount of weeks for New York unemployment?

Workers laid off will qualify for up to 26 weeks of unemployment.

*During the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic the duration granted is 39 weeks.

What is the maximum unemployment benefit amount in New York?

$504 per week or $1004 per pay period.

March 25, 2020 – The US Government passed a bill that would allow for the COVID-19 Coronavirus crisis an additional payment increase the top weekly payout by $600, so this may be a short term increase, and is a fluid situation.

Is there a minimum weekly unemployment benefit rate?

Yes in New York state the minimum weekly unemployment benefit rate is $104.

Where can I find the latest COVID-19 unemployment information?

Check out COVID-19 pandemic for the latest updates on New York Unemployment news and how it might affect you.

I am a small business owner or an app “gig” worker that is out of work because of non-essential business status can I file for unemployment?

Yes it appears as the COVID-19 pandemic created massive economic disruption the CARES Act allows that you can file for Federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Application PUA unemployment benefits, typically that would not be the case. If you are small business owner government forgivable loans may also be available through the Small Business Administration.

If you need to file for New York unemployment insurance as a gig-worker see our guide for how to file for New York state gig worker unemployment insurance.

Do I have to pay taxes on my unemployment benefit?

Yes it is considered income and you will need to set up your tax withholding information for Form 1099-G, Certain Government Payments. This also means that come tax filing season you will also need to collect your 1099-G form to submit with your IRS and New York Treasury tax filings.

What is certifying with The TEL-SERVICE Line?

Certifying is when you call Tel-Service and answer all of the questions AND it then tells you your payout, and says goodbye and hangs up on you.

What is the TEL-SERVICE’s phone number?

The phone number for Tel-Service is 888-581-5812.

What Hours can I call the Tel-Service?

You may call TEL-SERVICE

  • Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. until midnight
  • Saturday from 12:01 a.m. until Sunday at midnight

Calls made Sunday are for the week ending that day.

How often do I call the Tel-Service?

You need to call on your official appointment date.  You may be able to certify for multiple available weeks in one call.

I forgot to certify with the Tel-Service for my weekly New York Unemployment certification what do I do?

You can request for the prior week, see how to do this here.

How long does it take UI to pay me after I certify for unemployment?

After you call to certify it will take typically 2 business days for money to get to your account.  This does not matter much if you are on the Debit Card or utilizing Direct Deposit.

Example if you call to certify on Friday, you should have money in your account by Tuesday.

There are exceptions to every rule, and I’ve been made aware that it can take up to three full weeks for payment to process during the current COVID-19 pandemic.

How does the Department of Labor pay me?

By default the State of New York prefers to set up those collecting unemployment with a Debit Card for payments.  The other option is a Direct Deposit to your current banking institution.  The older method of paper checks that were mailed to your residence are now extinct.

Can I work a part time job while on unemployment?

If you work fewer than four days in a week and do not earn over the maximum benefit rate ($504 as of October 2019), you may receive partial benefits as follows:

• 1 day of work = 3/4 of your full weekly benefit rate

• 2 days of work = 1/2 of your full weekly benefit rate

• 3 days of work = 1/4 of your full weekly benefit rate

• 4 days of work = No benefits due

Important: If you did any work on a day, even if it was an hour or less and even if you did not receive pay, it counts as a day of work and you must report it that way. Also, you are not eligible to receive benefits for any week in which you earn more than the maximum benefit rate (in gross wages, before any deductions), regardless of the number of days worked. You will be asked if you worked during the past week and if you earned more than the maximum benefit when you claim weekly benefits.

How do I figure out how many weeks I have left on my claim?

It is on your Monetary Benefit Determination and many other documents mailed to you

Can I attend school or training while collecting unemployment?

You may be able to participate in an education or training program while collecting benefits if you are accepted into the 599 Program. The 599 Program is a special provision in the Unemployment Insurance (UI) Law that makes it possible for UI recipients to collect benefits while they attend training. If your training is approved under this program, you are not required to look for work. The 599 Program does not pay for tuition or other school-related expenses.

Are there any private businesses that offer assistance or discounts for unemployed people?

Yes you can find a list of these businesses here.

Can I change answers after I made a Certification call?

To report a mistake you made when claiming weekly benefits

Online: Go to Enter your username and password. Click on the envelope icon at the top right corner of the page. This will bring you to your message inbox. Click on the menu button (the square with three lines). Select “Compose New.” Select Subject: “Certifications and Payments.” Select Second Subject: “I made a mistake when I certified for benefits. How do I correct it?” In the body of the message, explain the mistake.

Telephone: Call our Telephone Claims Center Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 888-209-8124.

What about COBRA do you have some help there?

Yes we have a guide for COBRA here.

Do I need to pass a drug test to apply and/or certify with Department of Labor?

Currently, no. While the Federal Government permits drug testing for unemployment benefits to be paid, New York does not have this stipulation currently.

Do these answers apply to any other states besides New York?

Possibly, we feel that most states have similar unemployment guidelines so this guide is a good approximation to how your state system works.  If you feel inclined to let us know how your state works send us an email at [email protected].  If you want to plug your own website or blog we’ll do that for you.

Did you miss anything relating to unemployment in New York?

Probably, but you can feel free to inform us of new developments, errors, or tips to improve our guides by sending an email to [email protected] you can also do this by using our form above.  If that isn’t good enough for you feel free to leave comments for us.  We’ll post updates as often as we figure out new things but feel free to bookmark us and come back.  We have new posts up every week, in the mean time have a look around and support our sponsors.

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Any other unemployment tips for me?

Yes check out our unemployment checklist,it has a great starting point of areas to focus on as you get your bearings collected, money saving ideas, and resources for other benefits often for free.