Filing for Unemployment: The Facts


Filing for unemployment – a refresher!

With parts of our state being shut down again, I know many New Yorkers are finding themselves out of work. Below, I’ve shared some basic information about how to file for unemployment. If you have a more specific question, you can reach out to me directly at

How to file for a second time?

If you were previously unemployed and claiming benefits due to the pandemic, you can restart your claim by beginning to certify weekly again. Unless your benefits expired, you can continue to receive benefits under the same claim, but be sure NOT to certify for the weeks you were working. Do not file a new claim. 

If you received benefits on a prior claim by using a debit card and you no longer have the card, or if your card has expired, you must call KeyBank at 1-866-295-2955 to get a new card.

If you received benefits on a prior claim by direct deposit, any benefits due to you on this claim will go to the bank account that Department of Labor has on file. If your bank account has changed, please immediately update your banking information by logging into your account with your id.

Background information for first-time filers.

How do you know if you qualify for unemployment? The best way to know is to apply – many filers believe they are ineligible and are pleasantly surprised.

You may be eligible for benefits if:

  • You lost your job due to lack of work
  • The temporary or seasonal employment ended
  • Your job was eliminated
  • There was an involuntary reduction in force
  • The company downsized or shut down
  • The company restructured or reorganized
  • There was a lack of company operating funds/orders
  • You were out of work for any other business reason that you did not choose or control
  • Your employer discharged or fired you because you could not meet their performance or production standards, or their qualifications for the job
File your claim during your first week of total or partial unemployment. If you wait, you may lose benefits. You may not file for a week when you work four or more days or earn more than $504 gross pay between Monday and Sunday.  You must wait until the next Monday to file, if you are still unemployed.

If you live in New York State, but all your work in the past 18 months was in another state, file your claim with the state where you worked.

If you work less than four days in a week and earn $504 or less, you may receive partial benefits. Each day or part of a day of work causes your weekly benefit rate to drop by one-quarter. For example, if your weekly benefit rate is $200 and you work three days and earn less than $504, you may receive $50 in benefits. If you work two days, you may receive $100 in benefits. If you work one day, you may receive $150 in benefits.

If you receive partial benefits, it extends the length of time you may collect benefits. If you earn over $504 in any week, no matter how many days you worked, you cannot receive benefits for that week.

First time filers:

WARNING: Use of a Virtual Private Network (VPN), proxy, or internet anonymizer service will cause problems with your ability to apply or certify for benefits. Turn these services off before applying or submitting a weekly certification.

Sign in or create a ID account and follow the instructions to file a claim.

If you have never filed a claim for benefits in New York State, you must create a PIN. This is a four-digit number that you must keep confidential. This PIN will be used to access the system to certify for weekly benefits and update your account.

Ready? Make sure you have with you:

  • Your Social Security number
  • Your driver license or Motor Vehicle ID card number (if you have either one)
  • Your complete mailing address and zip code
  • A phone number where we can reach you from 8 am – 5 pm, Monday –Friday
  • Your 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)
  • Your copies of forms SF8 and SF50, if you were a federal employee
  • Your most recent separation form (DD 214), for military service

You can file a claim without all of these documents. However, missing information can delay your first payment.

If you cannot print web pages, have a pen and paper to copy information.

If you choose direct deposit of your weekly benefits, you will need your bank routing and checking account numbers. You cannot choose direct deposit if you file your claim by telephone.

To certify for weekly benefits:

  1. Go to
  2. Enter your username and password.
  3. Click the “Unemployment Services” button on the My Online Services page.
  4. Then click “Certify to Claim Your Weekly Benefits Here” and follow the instructions.

Note: If you have a service that makes your internet address anonymous, please turn it off when claiming weekly benefits. Otherwise, your certification may be blocked.

Ready? Make sure you have with you:

You will need an ID to sign up for an online account. If you already have an ID username and password, you can use it. If you do not have an ID, follow the instructions at to create one.

If you have difficulties with ID, call the Contact Center at 800-833-3000 from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday – Friday


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