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Unemployment Benefits in New York City


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Unemployment rates in New York State and city are around 3.9% in 2019. 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. Use the Department of Labor tool to estimate weekly unemployment insurance benefit amount.

To collect unemployment, one must not have a job, be actively looking for work in the prior 4 weeks, and be 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 as soon as possible because your first week is an unpaid waiting week, commonly referred to as the "waiting period".

Forms to Claim Unemployment:

  • Social Security number
  • ID (such as driver license or passport)
  • Mailing address  
  • Phone number  
  • 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)
  • Copies of forms SF8 and SF50, if you were a federal employee
  • Most recent separation form (DD 214), for military service*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 more information visit the Unemployment Action Centre or the Department of Labour webpages.

Update 13/02/2020


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