by Maurie Backman | March 25, 2020
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Lost your job? Here's what you need to know about unemployment benefits.
Millions of Americans are losing their jobs because of the COVID-19 crisis. If that's happened to you, you should file for unemployment benefits right away -- even if your layoff is temporary and you expect to start working again once the business that employs you reopens. Here's what you need to know about applying for unemployment in New York State.
To qualify for unemployment benefits, you'll need to have been a salaried or hourly worker on another company's payroll; self-employed or freelance workers can't claim unemployment. Furthermore, you must:
You can apply for unemployment benefits by phone at 1-888-209-8124 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, or online through New York State's Department of Labor as follows:
To apply for benefits, you'll need to provide your:
Your weekly benefit equals 1/26 of the wages you earned during the highest-paid calendar quarter that's factored into your benefits application. For example, if you earned $10,000 during your highest-paid quarter, your weekly benefit will be $384. However, there's a maximum benefit you can collect regardless of earnings, and that's $504 per week.
Currently, New York State will pay you up to 26 weeks of benefits during a one-year period. In the past, that benefit period has been extended during times of crisis, such as during the Great Recession, so it could happen again.
In addition, the CARES Act extends your benefit period by 13 weeks, allowing you to collect unemployment benefits for up to 39 weeks.
If your unemployment claim is denied, you'll receive a Notice of Determination telling you the reason(s) why. At that point, you can appeal that denial within 30 days. If you win that appeal, you'll be entitled to benefits retroactive to your initial application date.
It's important to file a claim for unemployment benefits as soon as you lose your job. Though you'd normally be subject to a seven-day waiting period following your claim, New York State is waiving that waiting period for those impacted by COVID-19, so the sooner you file, the sooner you can start getting that money in your bank account.
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