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New York State has an unemployment insurance program that:
• supports people who have lost their jobs and cannot find enough work,
• pays about half as much as the job you lost, up to $405 each week, and
• lasts for up to 26 weeks.

How do I qualify for benefits?
The main requirements for unemployment insurance are:

(1) You must have lost your most recent job through no fault of your own;

(2) You must be currently unemployed, or partially unemployed;

(3) You must currently be able to work and be looking for work; and

(4) You must have worked and earned enough in the past year and a half.

(5) Immigration status: You may receive unemployment insurance if you are a U.S. citizen, a lawful permanent resident (“green card”), otherwise authorized to work in the U.S., or in one of several special immigration categories. In almost all cases, if you are in the country illegally, you cannot receive unemployment insurance.

Applying for unemployment benefits in New York State can be difficult. If you are having trouble, or need more information, call the New York Unemployment Project at 212.625.0288.

You can file for unemployment insurance benefits by calling the Telephone Claims Center at 1-888-209-8124. The phone system is in English and Spanish. You can also apply on the web at

If you speak Chinese, you can apply in person at the Employment Service Office at 115 Lawrence Street in Brooklyn or 25-15 Queens Plaza North in Long Island City.

You should have the following information ready when you call:

(1) Your Social Security number.
(2) Your New York State driver’s license or Motor Vehicle ID card number, if you have one.
(3) Your alien registration card, if you have one.
(4) The names and addresses of all employers for whom you’ve worked within the past 18 months.


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