Published in: Banks | March 31, 2020

How to File for Unemployment in New Mexico

By:  Dana George

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If you are currently without a job due to the novel coronavirus in New Mexico, here's all you need to know about filing for unemployment benefits.

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham has declared a state of public health emergency as a result of COVID-19. One of the fallouts of the pandemic so far has been job loss. If you're a New Mexican and have lost your job, here are the answers to some questions about unemployment benefits. 

The New Mexico state flag in front of a blue sky.

Image source: Getty Images

Do I qualify for unemployment benefits?

In order to qualify for unemployment benefits in New Mexico, you must:

  • Be unemployed through no fault of your own.
  • Be able and available to work.
  • Have earned enough money during your base period to qualify for benefits. The term "base period" refers to the first four of the last five calendar quarters you worked. Each quarter consists of three months, meaning your base period covers the 12 months prior to the last three full months worked.
  • Be actively seeking work. Unless exempted, you are required to conduct a minimum of two work searches per week. You are required to keep a log of your work searches. An easy way to do that is to print the Work Search Verification Log and record your searches there.

How do I apply for unemployment benefits?

Applying for benefits is easy. Here's all you need to do:  

  • Register and/or log into your account in the New Mexico Workforce Connection
  • On the left-hand side of the screen you will see a drop-down "Quick Menu." Use it to locate "Unemployment Insurance." Click on the "Unemployment Insurance" link and provide all requested information.
  • You can also apply for benefits by calling (877) 664-6984, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Be prepared for a long wait period. If your call is disconnected, it is likely because the system has reached its maximum number of calls in the regular queue.

Be prepared to provide the following information:

  • Name, address, telephone number, and email address
  • Social Security number or, if you're not a U.S. resident, your Alien Registration Number
  • Names, addresses, and phone numbers for each employer you've worked for in the past 18 months
  • Dates of employment for each employer
  • Reason why you are unemployed
  • Social Security numbers and verification if you provide over 50% of support for up to two dependents under the age of 18 (New Mexico pays recipients an extra $25 per dependent each week, up to $50.00)

How much money will I receive in unemployment benefits? 

Weekly unemployment benefits normally range from $86 to $461, or 53.5% of your average weekly wage during your highest paid quarter of the base period. For example, let's say you earned $9,000 during your highest paid quarter, and that quarter consisted of 12 weeks. The state will figure your average weekly wage for this period by dividing $9,000 by 12 ($9,000 ÷ 12 = $750). Then, they will multiply your weekly average by 53.5% ($750 x .535 = $401). Your weekly benefit would be $401.

Note that the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) currently adds an additional $600 to that weekly amount.

You may choose to have your benefits deposited directly into your bank account or loaded onto a prepaid debit card. 

How long can I collect unemployment benefits?  

Benefits are normally available for up to 26 weeks. However, the CARES Act extends that period by 13 weeks, allowing you to collect unemployment benefits for up to 39 weeks.

What if my unemployment claim is denied?

If your unemployment claim is denied, you have the right to appeal to the Appeal Tribunal within 15 days of receiving the determination letter.  An appeal hearing will be scheduled, during which you will have the opportunity to present your case and any supporting evidence. Any documents you plan to use must be received by the Appeal Tribunal at least 48 hours before your scheduled hearing. The majority of appeal hearings are conducted via conference call. If you are dissatisfied with the appeal outcome, you have the right to make a Higher Authority Appeal, and then to appeal to the District Court. 

These are unusual times for all of us, and can be particularly challenging if you are without a regular paycheck. Unemployment insurance is one way to help you get by until things settle down and another job comes along.

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