Applying for Unemployment

01 Apr 2020

The federal government has passed the CARES Act, a $2 trillion economic relief plan that will offer Disaster Unemployment Assistance to tens of millions of households affected by the coronavirus pandemic. It includes workers in the gig economy. Your base benefit is based on the state formula, which in NY is around 50% your pay, based on how much you earned in your highest quarter out of the last five quarters. State benefits will be paid for 26 weeks. With Federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, eligible workers will get an extra $600 per week on top of current levels of unemployment benefits for up to four months (Until July 31, 2020), and extend state benefits for another 13 weeks if you are still unemployed or underemployed after 26 weeks. There is more information about the federal expansion of unemployment here:


According to the NY State Department of Labor, to apply for Disaster Unemployment Assistance, you will need to apply for state Unemployment Insurance Benefits first.


Here is a step-by-step guide to applying for Unemployment Insurance Benefits in New York State.  


You can apply online here or by calling the number below. If you call, there is translation. Get more information here.


Web Service
It is best to apply for UI online. Sign in with your NY.GOV ID and follow the instructions to file a claim.


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


You may file your claim: 

  • Monday – Thursday from 7:30 am to 7:30 pm (Eastern Time) 
  • Friday from 7:30 am to 5:00 pm 
  • Saturday – all-day 
  • Sunday until 7 pm 


Phone Service
Call our Telephone Claim Center, toll-free during business hours to file a claim. 

  • 1-888-209-8124 
  • We are extending telephone filing hours as follows:
    • Monday through Thursday, 8 am to 7:30 pm.
    • Friday, 8:00 am to 6:00 pm.
    • Saturday, 7:30 am to 8:00 pm.

If you file by phone, we offer translation services. Use your phone keypad to enter the number for the language you choose.  A voice recording will offer you these choices: 

  • English 
  • Spanish 
  • Russian 
  • Cantonese 
  • Mandarin 
  • Creole 
  • Korean 
  • Polish 
  • All other languages

Things you need to file your claim:

  • Your Social Security number 
  • Your driver license or Motor Vehicle ID card number (if you have either one) 
  • Your complete mailing address and zip code 
  • A phone number where we can reach you from 8 am – 5 pm, Monday –Friday 
  • Your Alien Registration card number (if you are not a U.S. Citizen and have a card) 
  • Names and addresses of all your employers for the last 18 months, including those in other states 
  • Employer Registration number or Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN) of your most recent employer (FEIN is on your W-2 forms) 
  • Your copies of forms SF8 and SF50, if you were a federal employee 
  • Your most recent separation form (DD 214), for military service
  • Bank account number
  • 1099 forms from both companies


After submitting the form, you will have to activate the application by calling the hotline number.

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