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A Quick Guide to Filing for NYS Unemployment

Based on my experience-- I am not a NYS Department of Labor expert of any kind-- the following seems to be the preferred process for filing for unemployment benefits for New York residents. It should be noted: nothing about your process is likely to go perfectly. We are in the midst of unemployment levels not seen since the Great Depression, and the NYS DOL is working overtime to keep up with the demand of applications. Many are still waiting weeks after filing. So please keep all that in mind.

With that said, for filing a new claim, these should be the basic steps:

1. First, you will need a log-in at NY.GOV
You may have one from past uses, whether past unemployment or maybe using the NY State of Health database. If you don't have a past log-in, you will need to create a new account and enter all your details. You can do so here:

2. When you're all set there, go to the NYS site for filing unemployment claims:
Here you will complete your application.

(If you are self-employed/gig worker/etc, enter Self-Employed as the name of your employer.)

3. Once your application is complete, it may tell you it is fully completed, or (most likely) it will tell you that you need to speak to a Department of Labor agent by phone to complete or confirm parts of the claim. Do not call them, they will call you, ideally within 72 hours, though sometimes more. This call may come from an unlisted number... have your phone on and with you at all times to avoid missing this call.

4. If you are self-employed, you will then also need to complete the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance form. This can be found under My Online Forms here:

If the form does not show up on the menu on the left side of that page, check your NY.GOV Messages folder for a link in the next few days.

Have digital copies of your 1099s ready to upload at the end of this application.

5. Now is the annoying part. Now you wait (days? likely weeks?) for them to process your completed claim application.

6. In the meantime, even while you are waiting for the claim to be processed (ie. before you will start receiving your benefits), they will ask you each Sunday evening to certify for the past week. While receiving unemployment, you must do this every week. For that, click here -- -- and click to the "Unemployment Services" link under the Unemployment Insurance section of that page. In addition to certifying each Sunday evening or Monday morning, that page will eventually allow to review your payment history and other items.

We hope this helps, and we wish everyone lots of luck and lots of patience.

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