At Work in New York City

Unemployment Benefits in New York City

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Unemployment rates in New York State and city are around 5.7%. This is actually lower than the national average, but many people are still struggling to make ends meet economically.

Unemployment Insurance helps those unemployed by using tax revenue as a cushion so the unemployed may still collect a modest income. To collect unemployment one must not have a job, be actively looking for work in the prior 4 weeks, and are currently available for work. Actively looking for work may consist of any of the following activities:

  • contacting an employer directly or having a job interview
  • contacting a public or private employment agency
  • sending out resumes or filling out applications
  • placing or answering advertisements
  • or checking union or professional registers.

To file a claim, you should file in the first week that you have become totally or partially unemployed. It is important to file timely because your first week is an unpaid waiting week, commonly referred to as the "waiting period". A delay may cost you benefits. Some forms you will need to file:

  • Your Social Security number
  • Your New York State driver's license or Motor Vehicle ID card number (if you have either one)
  • Your complete mailing address and zip code
  • Telephone number where we can contact you between 8am-5pm, Monday through Friday
  • Your Alien Registration card number (if you are not a U.S. Citizen and have a card)
  • The names and addresses of all employers for whom you've worked within the last 18 months, including those employers in another state
  • Employer Registration number or Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN) of your most recent employer (FEIN may be found on your W-2 forms) (if you have either)
  • Your copies of forms SF8 and SF50, if you had federal employment within the last 18 months
  • Your copy of your most recent separation form DD 214, if you are an ex-service member claiming benefits based on your military service
  • If you are unable to print, have a pen and paper available to write down important information >
  • If you are choosing to have direct deposit of your weekly benefits, you must have a check handy in order to enter your bank routing and checking account numbers

For help understanding your rights, go to

For step-by-step instructions on filing a claim:

Update 27/08/2010


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Go to the Forum to talk more about unemployment benefits in New York City, at work.

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