Unemployment Assistance

The American Rescue Plan extends the critical financial lifeline of enhanced unemployment insurance for the millions of Americans that are currently relying on these benefits.

If you’ve lost your job because of the pandemic, here’s what you need to know:

The American Rescue Plan extends emergency unemployment including coverage for self-employed workers (Pandemic Unemployment Assistance) and additional weeks of coverage for workers who have exhausted their state benefits. The weekly supplement (Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation) amount will be $300 per week until September 6. Each state administers its own unemployment insurance program, so unemployed workers should continue to apply for and receive these benefits through their state unemployment office.

Who is eligible?

In addition to standard UI eligibility, you may qualify for UI benefits via this legislation if:
  • You are self-employed, including an independent contractor, freelancer, or a gig-economy worker;
  • You are a part-time worker;
  • Your work hours have been cut or reduced to zero, but you are still employed; or
  • You have a limited work history that would typically disqualify you from UI.

How much will I receive?

  • Your base weekly benefit amount is calculated by dividing the wages in the highest quarter of your base period by 21, up to a maximum of $648 per week.
  • If you are partially unemployed, your weekly benefit amount is calculated the same as the above by using the amount of reduced income you are currently receiving.
  • In addition to this base amount, the American Rescue Plan provides an additional $300 per week for beneficiaries through September 6, 2021.
    • This amount may come together with your UI benefits, or as a separate payment. 
    • Please ask the New York Department of Labor if you have questions regarding your weekly benefit amount.

For how long will I receive benefits?

  • Between standard UI and the enhancements available under these laws, UI benefits are available for a total of 79 weeks.
    • You may also be eligible for additional weeks under the Extended Benefits program after exhausting these other UI programs.
    • If you are newly eligible for UI, you may still be able to qualify for the back payment of UI benefits starting on, or after, January 27, 2020 through December 31, 2020, if your job loss was due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Do I qualify for the Unemployment Insurance Taxation?

The bill creates a $10,200 tax exclusion for unemployment compensation income for tax year 2020 for households with incomes under $150,000. For those with incomes less than $150,000 in 2020, the first $10,200 of unemployment insurance benefits will not be taxed.

How can I apply for benefits?

Unemployment insurance is distributed by the states. New Yorkers can visit New York State’s Department of Labor website for more information.