Will an Internship Affect My New York State Unemployment?


In order for a person to be eligible for unemployment benefits in New York State, he is not allowed to hold a compensated job. This is true for two reasons: a person receiving income is generally ineligible for unemployment; secondly, a person must be available to look for a new job while receiving benefits. A person is an unpaid internship may be deemed ineligible, as he has too little time to look for employment.

Unemployment Benefits Eligibility

  • A person can only receive unemployment benefits is he was laid off recently from a job for which he was compensated. Other types of workers, such as students, for example, are not eligible for unemployment benefits. So, a student who is choosing to take an internship over the summer will likely not be able to receive benefits, as he was not laid off from a full-time position.


  • Internships come in several varieties. Paid internships are generally internships in name only, as the person is compensated for his work. In some cases, the person may receive a modest stipend that does not meet the minimum wage. In addition, internships may be uncompensated. However, a person working an unpaid internship may not be eligible for unemployment benefits unless he can show it provides valuable training for his career.


  • If the internship is compensated, then the person will likely not be able to claim benefits, even if he is otherwise eligible. However, if the person receives only a small amount of money, under New York State law, he may be allowed to receive a partial amount of benefits. However, the candidate may still be ruled ineligible for benefits for other reasons.

Searching for a Job

  • The main reason that an intern would not qualify for unemployment benefits would be that he is deemed to not have enough time to search for a job. A person must be available to search for work. Holding down an internship can make that difficult. However, if an intern can prove that his internship provides critical career experience, in a hearing before the New York Department of Labor, he may be allowed to collect benefits.

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