I started working in NY state in December '13, and for various reasons I'm currently unemployed. Can I still claim unemployment benefits, or 4 months are not enough for it?
Please refer to the Claimant Handbook, pp 6-7, for New York Unemployment Insurance:
To qualify for benefits, you must meet all three of the following requirements:
You must have worked and been paid wages for covered employment in at least two calendar quarters in your Basic or Alternate Base Period.
You must have been paid at least $1,700 in wages in one of the calendar quarters
in your base period. Effective January 1, 2015, you must have been paid at least
$1,900 in wages in one of the calendar quarters in your base period.
The total wages paid to you in your Basic or Alternate Base Period must be at least one and one-half times your high quarter wages. Your high quarter wages are the wages paid in the calendar quarter in which you were paid the most money. Exceptions: If your high quarter wages equal $8,910 or more, your wages in the other base period quarters must total at least one-half of $8,910, or $4,455. Effective the first Monday of October 2014, if your high quarter wages equal $9,240 or more, your wages in the other base period quarters must total at least one-half of $9,240, or $4,620.
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If you worked four months, then you worked in at least two quarters. The Basic Base Period is the first four quarters of the five-quarter period immediately prior to your claim. If your claim begins this quarter, then that means the period Jan-Dec 2013, so you won't have 2 worked quarters. But under the Alternate Base Period, the last four quarters before the quarter your claim begins, you have Q1 '14 and Q4 '13. So you have the two worked quarters.
You must have made at least $1,700 in a quarter. And you must have made no more than 2/3 your wages from your highest paid quarter. This latter rule may be tough for you if you were employed Dec to Apr, so you may be in a situation where 3/4 or more of your income from the Alternate Base Period came from first quarter of 2014. The $8,910 rule does not help you out, even if you made that much in January through March, because you only have two worked quarters.
Work out the details based on your situation. I suspect that you will not qualify because of the income distribution rule #3.