Financial Assistance Available in New York if You Lost Your Job During COVID-19

As a result of COVID-19, unemployment has reached levels approaching the Great Depression as businesses hemorrhage money and remain largely shuttered under gradual reopening plans in an attempt to control the spread of the virus. Large numbers of New Yorkers find themselves out of work and wondering what programs they qualify for in order to make ends meet. Both the federal government and New York State have programs in place designed to aid qualified individuals until they and the economy can get up and running once again. 

Unemployment Benefits

New York State offers Unemployment Insurance (UI) Benefits for any workers that have, through no fault of their own lost work. This includes employees who were laid off due to coronavirus issues. However, any worker who is employed and able to work remotely or has been placed on paid leave do not qualify. It should also be known that UI benefits are only available to immigrants who are able to provide either a valid work authorization or Social Security number. 

Usually, New York statutorily requires applicants for UI benefits to wait 7 days from the beginning of their unemployment to apply. However, in consideration of the unemployment crisis that period has been waived and benefits are immediately available. New York is also trying to eliminate delays in the ability to apply either online or through the Telephone Claim Center. 

Federal Benefits for Unemployed New York Residents


The federal government has also enacted programs to both create and supplement benefits available through New York State. The federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) expands protections given by New York’s UI system significantly. CARES Act supplements an extra $600 to the weekly UI earnings of a claimant. It also extends the time period benefits may be received from 26 weeks to 39 weeks. 

PUA Program

The Pandemic Unemployment Assistant (PUA) program was created by the CARES Act. It expands benefit eligibility to a number of different workers that would usually be excluded from UI benefits such as:

  • Independent contractors
  • Freelancers
  • Gig economy workers

To be eligible for PUA benefits the worker must have lost their job for a reason that is directly related to the pandemic or may have been forced to quit because of COVID-19.

New York Employment Lawyer

New Yorkers unemployed as a result of the pandemic may be in dire need of financial assistance from the government to survive and pay bills until they are able to return to work. Though new programs have been put in place to help, it can be unclear to some people whether they are entitled to benefits and how to go about applying for them.  For help understanding developments and the application processes related to state UI benefits and federal benefits, contact the experienced employment lawyers at MOWK Law. Contact us today for help with your questions and to ensure you get the maximum benefits to which you are entitled.