How Much Do I Have to Make to Collect Max Unemployment in New York?

by Michaele Curtis; Updated September 26, 2017

New York state unemployment benefits are limited by state law to protect the integrity of the unemployment compensation program. The weekly amount is $405, and the maximum length is 26 weeks. However, most claimants don’t qualify for the maximums. The maximum weekly benefit amount requires $10,530 in your base period high quarter. You can receive the maximum length of benefits by remaining eligibile for those 26 weeks.

Maximum Weekly Benefit Amount

The amount you are eligible to receive per week on unemployment is your weekly benefit amount (WBA). Although the WBA is determined by your previously earned wages, New York state law limits the amount you can collect per week to prevent you from receiving exorbitant compensation amounts. The maximum laws are based on the average unemployment insurance covered employee’s weekly wage, which may change each year. As of April 2011, New York state’s maximum weekly benefit amount is $405.

Base Period Earnings Requirements

To receive that $405 per week, you must have $10,530 in covered wages during your base period high quarter. Covered wages are earned while working employment covered by New York state unemployment compensation laws, which includes most work. Notable exceptions include self-employed work, independent contract work or work paid only on a commission basis. Your base year is the first four of the last five full calendar quarters before you filed for unemployment. Your high quarter in your base period is when you earned the most covered wages.

Maximum Benefit Length

Unemployment benefits are distributed by the week. To receive each week of compensation, you must file a weekly claims certification. However, no matter how many times you certify, the law limits you to no more than 26 weeks of unemployment benefits per benefit year. Your benefit year is the 52 weeks that follow your initial claim. You can receive the weeks consecutively or separately.

Eligibility Requirements

Unlike most states, the maximum length of benefits in New York isn’t determined by your wages. Instead, it’s a matter of remaining eligible. You must remain unemployed or part-time employed with less than $405 per week in earnings. You also must be ready, willing and able to work, including keeping a log of your job search. You also must remain in the country, although you could possibly move to another state. As long as you maintain these eligibility requirements, you can collect all 26 possible weeks.

About the Author

Michaele Curtis began writing professionally in 2001. As a freelance writer for the Centers for Disease Control, Nationwide Insurance and AT&T Interactive, her work has appeared in "Insurance Today," "Mobiles and PDAs" and "Curve Magazine." Curtis holds a Bachelor of Arts in communication from Louisiana State University.