New York's unemployment benefits program will pay roughly half your weekly wages, up to a maximum benefit set by law. If you were making a salary of $35,000 before you lost your job, you'd get a weekly benefit of about $336. However, that assumes you were working in that job, at that pay rate, long enough to qualify for benefits.
Like other states, New York bases your eligibility for unemployment benefits and the size of your weekly benefit on how much you were earning in wages before you lost your job. Specifically, it looks at your earnings during a time frame called your "base period." To determine your base period, start on the date you first file for New York unemployment benefits. From there, go back to the five most recently completed "calendar quarters." Calendar quarters are the three-month periods of the year running from January through March, April through June, and so on. Your base period is the first four of those five quarters.
Assuming you were earning a salary equivalent to $35,000 a year during most of your base period, then you are definitely eligible for New York unemployment benefits. New York requires you to have earned wages in at least two calendar quarters of the base period, with wages of at least $1,600 in one quarter and total base-period wages equal to 150 percent of those in your highest-earning quarter. If you had a regularly paid, $35,000-a-year salary for at least two quarters, you would meet all these requirements.
To determine your weekly benefit amount, New York takes the wages you made during the highest-earning quarter of your base period, then divides by 26. The number it uses is your gross wages—your earnings before taxes and deductions—not your take-home pay. If your salary was $35,000 a year, that breaks down to $8,750 for each quarter. Divide that by 26, and you get your benefit amount: $336.54, rounded down to $336. As of 2011, New York's maximum benefit was $405 a week, so someone with a $35,000 salary wouldn't be affected by the limit.
If you take part-time work while on unemployment, your benefits will be reduced, but not necessarily eliminated. The reduction is based on the number of days you work in a week. New York counts you as working if you work any part of a day, even less than an hour. If you work one day in a week, your benefit for that week is reduced by 25 percent; if you work two days, it's 50 percent; three days, 75 percent; and if you work four or more days, you get no benefit for that week. On a $336 weekly benefit, that translates to a benefit of $252 for a week in which you worked one day, $168 for working two days and $84 for working three days. Also, as of 2011, you are not eligible for benefits in any week in which you earn more than $405, regardless of how often you work.
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