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When to file for unemployment in New York State

by Jean
(New York State)

I lost my full time, permanent job of five years, effective October 1, 2009. I have picked up a contract position effective through the end of November, making more than unemployment benefits would provide.


My question is when do I apply for unemployment? After the contract is up? Or, after the first week of not having the permanent job?

I would of course not collect until the contract is over in November, even if I was to apply after the coming week.

Thank You.


Hi Jean,

If I were you, I'd file for New York Unemployment now .. if you have not yet begun the contract job. One of the requirements for establishing a claim is that you are in fact unemployed.

It is taking a long time for claims to move through the system right now. So if you can establish the claim while still unemployed .. all the better. You would just have to reopen your claim at the end of November.

And if the contract job is 32 hours per week or less you could continue to file for partial benefits .. even though you would not get any money, but it would keep your claim open.

If you have already begun the work .. you might want to wait until the end of November when the contract job ends.

Unemployment entitlement is always based on the "most recent work". And the reason for the separation from that most recent work .. must be qualifying. This is important for those to know that have a claim, but found work and it didn't work out for some reason.

So why don't I explain the dangers for someone who might be in your type of situation.

Jean was laid
off from her full-time position, but was lucky enough to accept a contract job beginning the day after her layoff.

She didn't file a claim because there was no lapse in "full-time employment. The only thing that changed was "the employer".

About a week and a half into the new contract job, Jean finds that she has made a huge mistake. The work is not what she was told it would be. Although her prior training, job experience, and earnings made the job suitable, she felt the realities of the job were not well suited to her career goals or she simply didn't like it for some reason.

She quits and files for or reopens her unemployment claim since she was laid off and should be entitled to unemployment .. right? Wrong.

She learns that she cannot collect any unemployment because it is determined she either voluntarily quit without good cause .. or she is slapped with a "refusal to accept suitable work" disqualification.

There's any number of variables. This includes New York needing to verify that you didn't refuse any further suitable work "contract" from this employer before they make a determination that the separation from the contract work is qualifying.


Forgive me for taking your simple question and creating a warning message, but "refusal of work" disqualifications are not that easy to win.

I understand you are probably grateful for the work and may hope that it works out to be permanent, but all are not so lucky.

They may take any job out of desperation only to find out they should have considered whether it was a "suitable" job for them and suitable per their states definition of what that is exactly.

New York Interpretation of "Refusal of Employment

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