It Just Got A Lot Simpler For New Yorkers To Apply For Unemployment Benefits

On Monday, April 20, the New York State Department of Labor launched a new application process to make filing for unemployment due to COVID-19 easier. In conjunction with federal policies being eased, New York State now offers one application for filing unemployment. This new process cuts down on unnecessary delays in receiving benefits and no longer requires people to jump through extra hoops, like having to call the Department of Labor.

In addition, the Department of Labor has increased the number of representatives solely dedicated to responding to unemployment-benefit issues from about 400 to more than 3,000.

The Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program, which was included in the Federal CARES Act, provides unemployment benefits for individuals who are ineligible for traditional unemployment insurance. The following types of workers are covered by PUA:

—Self-employed New Yorkers

—Independent contractors

—New Yorkers who worked for an app-based company (i.e. “gig workers”)


—Those diagnosed with COVID-19 or who have COVD-19 symptoms and are seeking a diagnosis

—Those living with a household member who has been diagnosed with COVID-19

—Those providing care for a family or household member diagnosed with COVID-19

—A primary caregiver for a child unable to attend school or another facility due to COVID-19

—Those unable to reach their place of employment due to an imposed quarantine or because they have been advised by a medical provider to self-quarantine due to COVID-19

—Those scheduled to commence new employment that cannot reach their workplace as a direct result of COVID-19

—Those who became a major breadwinner because the head of their household died from COVID-19

—Those who quit their job as a direct result of COVID-19

—Those whose place of employment closed as a direct result of COVID-19

—Those with insufficient work history and affected by COVID-19

—New Yorkers otherwise not qualified for regular or extended unemployment benefits and affected by COVID-19

For more information, check out the Department of Labor’s list of who qualifies and this Pandemic Unemployment Assistance fact sheet.