It takes three to six weeks from the time you file your claim to when you receive your first payment, because we have to review and process your application for benefits. You will not receive benefits during this time period. If you are found eligible, you will receive any back weeks of benefits owed with your first payment.
During this time there are two things you should do:
Complete and return any questionnaires and return any phone calls you receive from the Department of Labor right away; and
Continue to claim weekly benefits as long as you are unemployed and meet the eligibility requirements. If you are found to be eligible for benefits, any back weeks owed will be paid to you.
No. "Filing for benefits" or "filing a claim" means to apply for Unemployment Insurance benefits: you are filing a claim for Unemployment Insurance, similar to filing a claim with an insurance company. You provide us information about yourself, your employer and how you came to lose your job and we decide if you meet the requirements to receive Unemployment Insurance benefits. You can apply for Unemployment Insurance either on our website at http://www.labor.ny.gov/ or toll-free by phone at (888) 209-8124. Most people file online.
Please see the next question for a definition of "claim weekly benefits" or "certify for benefits."
Both "claim weekly benefits" and "certify for benefits" refer to the way you tell the Department of Labor that you are still unemployed, ready and able to work, looking for a job, and in need of Unemployment Insurance benefits. You do this each week either online at http://www.labor.ny.gov/ or by calling our Tel-Service toll-free phone line at (888) 581-5812.
When you claim weekly benefits, you will be asked a series of questions. It is important to answer truthfully, as you are certifying to the Department of Labor that your answers are true and correct. That is why the process is also called "certifying for benefits."
If you will be traveling for vacation or personal reasons, you cannot claim and receive benefits for the time you are gone. If you try to claim weekly benefits from outside the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico or the Virgin Islands, your certification will be blocked and your benefits will be held. Important: Do not give someone else your PIN and have them certify for benefits for you. This can lead to severe penalties, including loss of benefits, criminal prosecution and prison.
Please contact us before you travel, even if you are traveling to look for work or for a job interview. You can send us a secure message or call the Telephone Claims Center toll-free at (888) 209-8124. To send a secure message, sign in to your account at www.labor.ny.gov/signin. Then, click on the envelope icon at the upper right of the My Online Services page. Be sure to tell us your travel dates and reason for traveling. By giving us this information before your trip, your benefits may be held while you are away, but will resume when you return.
The first thing you need to do is go to your local New York State Career Center as soon as possible, in person. You do not need an appointment. Do not call the Telephone Claims Center, as they cannot help until after you have visited the Career Center.
After you have visited your local Career Center, you will be contacted by the Department of Labor either by secure message through your online account or a questionnaire mailed to you. Please complete and return the questionnaire right away so we can promptly review your claim.
This visit to the Career Center is intended to help you find a job more quickly. For example, we may help you develop a written work search plan that addresses your specific needs.
Most likely the Department of Labor received information that may affect your eligibility for benefits. That information may have come from a former employer, a questionnaire you returned, or you may have tried to certify for benefits from outside the United States (please see question 4 above). When this happens, we are required to investigate. Your benefits will be held while we do that.
This investigation can take several weeks. There is nothing you can do except respond to any questionnaires, messages, or phone calls from us as quickly as possible. The Telephone Claims Center cannot authorize the payment of benefits while an investigation is going on. When the investigation is complete, you will either receive all benefits due or receive a Notice of Determination1 from us in the mail.
If your benefits have been held for less than five weeks and you have heard nothing, do not call the Telephone Claims Center. The investigation is still underway. However, if it has been five weeks or more and you have not heard anything, you can send us a secure message from your online account. Sign in at www.labor.ny.gov/signin and click on the envelope icon at the upper right of your My Online Services page. You can also call the Telephone Claims Center toll-free at (888) 209-8124 if it has been five weeks or more.
Important: While the investigation continues, please continue to claim weekly benefits as long as you are unemployed.
1For the purposes of the Unemployment Insurance program, a determination is the formal name for a decision the Department of Labor makes concerning your claim. It is important to read, understand and keep any notice you receive from us that has "determination" in its title.
The Department of Labor has received information that shows you might have been working while you certified that you were not working. This information may have come from an employer or a national database that we cross-check weekly certifications against. Sometimes the database shows that you were working even if you recently became unemployed. When this happens, the Department of Labor must confirm that you are indeed unemployed.
To resolve this, you must call (855) 822-6536. This number is for the NYSDOL New Hire Call Center -- not the Telephone Claims Center. The Telephone Claims Center cannot help you with this issue; they will only ask you to call the New Hire Call Center.
Return the questionnaire anyway. Write on the top or end of the questionnaire that you think a mistake was made and provide appropriate details. Then return it by secure message: go to www.labor.ny.gov/signin and click on the envelope icon located in the upper right of the My Online Services page. Or, fax or mail to the fax number or address shown on the questionnaire. We will review and correct the mistake if appropriate. If we need more information, we will contact you by phone or secure message through your online account with us. You do not need to call the Telephone Claims Center; they will not be able to address this type of concern.
For a complete record of your Unemployment Insurance benefit payments, sign in to your online account at http://www.labor.ny.gov/signin. On the My Online Services page, click on "Unemployment Services," then "View Payment History."
You can also call our Tel-Service line at (888) 581-5812. Follow the prompts to check your payment history and payment status.
Changes from a debit card to direct deposit or direct deposit to a debit card can only be done online, for security reasons. Sign in to your online account at www.labor.ny.gov/signin and click on "Unemployment Services" on the My Online Services page. This brings you to the Unemployment Insurance Benefits Online page. Click on "Payment and Tax Withholding Options," and "View/Print 1099G" button. Follow the directions to change to direct deposit or cancel direct deposit and receive your benefits via a debit card. If you are changing to direct deposit, be sure you have a check handy, since you will need important numbers from the check. Be sure to enter your checking account information accurately and print a copy of the Direct Deposit Information Review page for your records. Allow five business days for changes to take effect.
For more information, please see Chapter 3 of the claimant handbook: "Receiving your benefits: Your PIN, NY.gov ID, direct deposit and the direct payment card."
You can request another copy of the questionnaire/form/letter via secure message through your online account at www.labor.ny.gov/signin. Sign in to your account; then click on the envelope icon at the upper right of the My Online Services page. Or, you can call the Telephone Claims Center toll-free at (888) 209-8124. Important: Please request a replacement promptly. Many items have due dates. These due dates are not adjusted, even if a replacement is issued.
The easiest way to update your address and/or telephone number is online. Sign in to your online account at www.labor.ny.gov/signin and click on "Unemployment Services." This brings you to the Unemployment Insurance Benefits Online page. Click the "Claim Weekly Benefits" button, which brings you to the Benefit Payments page. Click the "Continue" button at the bottom of that page, which will bring you to the Claim Weekly Benefits page. Click the "Change Address/Telephone Number" button to change your address and/or phone number.
You can also call the Telephone Claims Center toll-free at (888)209-8124 and select the menu option for "PIN or Address Changes" to change your address or phone number.
Also, be sure to update your contact information with Chase Customer Service at (877) 221-1634 (if you receive benefits via a direct payment card) or your bank (if you use direct deposit).
You must send us a letter with legal documentation (such as a copy of a marriage certificate, certified record of divorce, certified court order or a valid, unexpired United States passport issued in your current name) that verifies the name change and mail it to:
New York State Department of Labor P.O. Box 15130 Albany, NY 12212-5130
You can also send a name change request via secure message through your online account. Sign in at www.labor.ny.gov/signin. On the My Online Services page, click on the envelope icon at the upper right to send us a secure message. Attach a pdf of your legal documentation to your request.
If you disagree with our determination: Requesting a Hearing
If you disagree with any determination that denies you benefits or affects the amount of benefits you can receive, you have the right to request a hearing. The hearing will be held before an impartial Administrative Law Judge.
You can request a hearing through your online account at www.labor.ny.gov/signin. Sign in to your account and click on the envelope icon at the upper right of the My Online Services page. Then, from the drop-down choices:
Select "Hearings and Appeals" as the first subject line. Then:
Select "I want to request a hearing" as the second subject line.
If you do not have an online account with us, please see Chapter 3 of the claimant handbook:"Receiving your benefits: your PIN, NY.gov ID, direct deposit and the direct payment card" for instructions on how to set one up.
You may also make your request in writing, sign it and mail it to:
NYS Department of Labor PO Box 15131 Albany, NY 12212-5131
Important: Your online or mail request must be made or postmarked no later than 30 days from the date of the determination notice that you disagree with. If your request is after 30 days have passed, you must state why your request is late. Include your full name, the last four digits of your Social Security number, the mailing date of the determination, and the reason(s) you disagree with our decision in your request.