Unemployment Insurance Benefits and COVID-19

Unemployment Insurance Benefits and COVID-19

New York State Governor Cuomo signed an Executive Order on March 14, 2020 waiving the usual seven-day waiting period for workers in shared work programs to claim unemployment insurance benefits. This waiver applies to those workers that have been put out of work by COVID-19 closures or quarantines.

Federal law allows states to pay benefits where:

  • An employer temporarily ceases operations due to COVID-19, preventing employees from coming to work;

  • An individual is quarantined, with the expectation of returning to work after the quarantine is over, or

  • An individual leaves employment due to a risk of exposure or infection, or to care for a family member.

  • Federal law does not require an employee to quit in order to receive benefits related to the impact of COVID-19.

If you are filing a new unemployment insurance claim, the day you should file is based on the first letter of your last name. If your last name starts with A-F, file your claim on Monday. For last names starting with G-N, file your claim on Tuesday. For last names starting with O-Z, file your claim on Wednesday. If you missed your filing day, file your claim on Thursday, Friday or Saturday. Filing later in the week will not delay your payments or affect the date of your claim, as all claims are effective on the Monday of the week in which they are filed.

To file a claim online, follow these instructions: https://www.labor.ny.gov/ui/pdfs/Unemployment-Filing-Instructions.pdf

The telephone number for filing is: 1-888-209-8124. Telephone filing hours for unemployment insurance are extended. The hours are:

  • Monday through Thursday, 8:00am-7:30pm

  • Fridays, 8:00am-6:00pm

  • Saturdays, 7:30am-8:00pm 

Phone interpretation services are provided for all languages. For TTY, call a relay operator first at 1-800-662-1220, and ask the operator to call the Telephone Claims Center at 1-888-783-1370.

In-person appointments at New York State Career Centers are canceled until further notice. Unemployment insurance benefits will NOT be impacted, and customers should continue to file for weekly benefits as normal. All appointments will be rescheduled at a later date or offered virtually. Customers will receive a follow-up letter or phone call with additional information at a later date.

Governor Cuomo also enacted a law that provides benefits-- including sick leave, paid family leave, and disability benefits-- to New York employees impacted by mandatory or precautionary orders of quarantine or isolation due to COVID-19. If you have any questions about this law, please visit: www.ny.gov/COVIDpaidsickleave.

The federal government also enacted the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, which includes extended unemployment benefits. New York has not qualified for these extended benefits at this time, but will continue to monitor the situation and leverage all federal resources to help New Yorkers survive the economic hardships associated with the novel coronavirus. If New York State DOES qualify for the extended benefits, New Yorkers do NOT need to do anything new. Please do NOT call the unemployment hotline with questions about extended benefits -- this helps to keep phone lines available for New Yorkers who need to file new claims. 

This and additional information can be found at: https://www.labor.ny.gov/home/


This information was updated on March 23, 2020.

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