Eligibility Requirements for the NYS Division for Unemployment

In New York, state and federal laws prohibit denying benefits to pregnant workers as long as they remain available to work.
In New York, state and federal laws prohibit denying benefits to pregnant workers as long as they remain available to work. (Image: Photos.com/PhotoObjects.net/Getty Images)

In New York, the New York State Department of Labor administers the unemployment insurance benefits to eligible claimants who are unemployed through no fault of their own. Claimants must have a sufficient earnings history during their base or covered period of employment, continue looking for work and remain able to work.

Application Process

Initially, the New York State Department of Labor conducts an initial investigation to determine eligibility. New York law limits unemployment benefits to those who are not working or working reduced hours. Employees who lost their jobs for lack of work, worked as seasonal or temporary employees, are no longer working because of company reorganization, downsizing or shutdown, are no longer working because of company underfunding or not working for any reasons not within their control are eligible to receive unemployment benefits.

Additionally, New York law does not limit unemployment benefits to those who lost their jobs simply for being unable to meet performance requirements or qualification requirements.

Unacceptable Reasons for Unemployment

The New York State Department of Labor can deny benefits to claimants who are not working because of misconduct, for quitting without good cause, those terminated for violating company rules or policies, workers terminated for insubordination or repeated instances of absenteeism or workers who are no longer working because of collective bargaining strikes. Good-cause reasons for unemployment include extenuating personal reasons or other employment-related reasons, such as illegal retaliation or discrimination by employers.

Under New York law, employees who work for union shops that stop working due to strikes are disqualified, even if they did not participate in those strikes as long as they occurred within 49 days of unemployment. However, employees who worked for companies experiencing lockouts are still eligible for benefits.


Weekly benefits depend on an applicant’s weekly earnings during their highest earnings quarter during an employee’s base period of employment. If eligible, an employee will receive approximately 1/26 of his highest quarter wages, limited to $405 weekly, as of publication. Employees will receive benefits for up to 26 weeks and may qualify for federal extensions after they exhaust their state benefits. Benefits payments are not affected by severance pay if an employee is no longer committed to working for her employer. Vacation payouts are not includable income and will not affect eligibility or benefit payments.


Employees who receive workers’ compensation benefits are eligible for unemployment benefits if they remain physically able to work and are available for work. However, claimants receiving workers’ compensation benefits will receive partial benefits if their workers’ compensation earnings during any week are less than $405. Additionally, New York law requires these workers to obtain a physician’s certification stating they are able to work.

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