Unemployment Insurance

Important Information for Unemployment Insurance Claimants:   (as of 5/14/20)

*NEW* the DOL announced they will send texts or emails when...

  • They have your claim
  • Your claim is ready for you to certify 
  • Your benefits can be paid


File a NEW claim here 

It is best to apply for unemployment insurance online during the hours of 7:30am - 7:30pm. If you are filing a new unemployment insurance claim, the day you should apply is based on the first letter of your last name.

  • A - F file on Monday
  • G - N file on Tuesday
  • O - Z file on Wednesday

If you missed your day:

  • File Thursday - Sunday.
  • Any claim you file will be backdated to the date you became unemployed.
  • If you are eligible, you will be paid for all benefits from that date forward.

To Apply by Telephone

Call the Telephone Claim Center at 1-888-209-8124 toll-free

Filing hours are:

  • Monday through Friday, 8:00 am to 7:30 pm.
  • Saturday and Sunday, 7:30 am to 8:00 pm.
  • To collect benefits, you must be ready, willing, and able to work, and actively looking for work during each week in which you are claiming benefits. 
  • If you apply for unemployment insurance, you will be asked if you want to receive your benefits by direct deposit or debit card.

If you apply over the phone, you will automatically receive your benefits via debit card unless you had a previous claim and you received them by direct deposit.

After you apply for unemployment insurance benefits, this is what you can expect: 

  • Any claim you file will be backdated to the date you became unemployed. If you are eligible, you will be paid for all benefits due.
  • Your first payment will generally be made 2-3 weeks from the time you file your claim. We use this time to review and process your application for benefits. This is why you may see your claim status as “pending.”
  • You should respond to any questionnaires, messages, or phone calls from us as quickly as possible. Failure to do so will delay your claim or result in the denial or suspension of your benefits. 

NOTE: Like many New Yorkers, DOL representatives are working from home so your caller ID may show "PRIVATE CALLER.” Anyone calling from DOL will verify their identity by providing:

  1.  the date you filed your application; and 
  2.  the type of claim. 

Once you have been verified, a representative may ask for your social security number.

  • If you received benefits on a prior claim by using a debit card and you no longer have the card, or if your card has expired, you must call KeyBank at 1-866-295-2955 to get a new card.
  • If you filed a prior claim and you received benefits on that prior claim by direct deposit, any benefits due to you on this claim will go to the bank account we have on fileIf your bank account has changed, please immediately update your banking information by using our website. 
  • To find out when your most recent payment was released or to see a history of all payments made on your claim, sign in to your account.
  • After you complete your application for a new claim for benefits, you will receive a Monetary Determination in the mail informing you of your weekly benefit rate, the base period used to establish your claim, and the employers and wages used to calculate your weekly benefit rate.  
  • If the wages are wrong, or if any employers are missing, fill out and send to us the Request for Reconsideration form.
  • To speed our review of your claim, be sure to submit proof of your employment and wages. If you have no pay stubs, please send any documents you may have that can be used as proof. 

If you already have a claim, please click HERE to make weekly certifications.

If you are having trouble with an NY.Gov account: 

To speak with a representative regarding an NY.Gov account, please call: 

  • 1-800-833-3000 Monday through Friday 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. EST 
  • Or you can use the E-mail Contact Form

If you are having trouble with the debit card for your Unemployment Insurance benefits:

  • Contact KeyBank Customer Service at (866) 295-2955 for all debit card related issues such as; payments released from DOL and not showing in your account, or if you have a have lost or stolen debit card.
  • Debit Card Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) page

Did you know?......the initial card you receive is good for 3 years, so if you are filing a new claim within that time frame, your benefits should automatically be issued to that account.

To check the Status of your Payment: there are two ways

1) Online:

Sign in to your account

Click the "Unemployment Services" button on the My Online Services page

Click "View Payment History"

2) Call the Tel-Service automated phone service at (888) 581-5812 

 [(877) 205-3119 TTY/TDD users]


How can I get information about my Claim and payments?

You will need to access your NY.GOV ID account to obtain information about the status of your benefits or to check your payment history. 

Go to the NYS Department of Labor's Unemployment Insurance page at http://labor.ny.gov/unemploymentassistance.shtm and click on "Check Payment History". You will be linked to the Online Services page and from there you can either Log In to your NY.GOV account or Create an account.

How can I speak with someone about my Claim?

Representatives at the Telephone Claim Center can be reached toll-free at (888) 209-8124 from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm, Monday through Friday. If you live outside of NYS, call toll-free at (877) 358-5306. If you are a hearing impaired individual who is being assisted by another person, call the Telephone Claims Center at (888) 783-1370; however, if you use TTY/TDD, call a relay operator first at (800) 662-1220, and ask the operator to call the Telephone Claims Center at (888) 783-1370.

The Telephone Claim Center is less busy on Thursday and Friday afternoons. During heavy call loads, such as after a Monday holiday, callers may hear a message that all representatives are busy with other callers and it will be necessary to call back to speak with a representative regarding your claim.


Some Niagara's WorkSourceOne Center customers have found it helpful to follow this path through the telephone prompts in order to reach a Representative:

  • Phone 1-888-209-8124
  • Choose #1 for English
  • Choose #9 for Main Menu
  • Choose #5 to ask a question about a claim already filed
  • Enter your social security number
  • Choose #1 if the number you just entered is correct
  • Enter your four-digit PIN number

If you have an active claim on file........

  • Choose option #5 for questions
  • Choose option #3 to speak with someone about the status of your claim

For more information regarding your claim, please check the following links:


What is FASFA?

Answer: Federal Student Aid, an office of the U.S. Department of Education, ensures that all eligible individuals can benefit from federally funded financial assistance for education beyond high school. Federal Student Aid plays a central and essential role in supporting postsecondary education by providing money for college to eligible students and families.

The starting point for all financial aid is the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The FAFSA application is available on-line, and through the Financial Aid Office at the college/university of your choice. Their financial aid staff will gladly assist you if you have any problems with the on-line application process. Once the application is submitted, it takes a day or two for the school to receive the electronic reply from the US Department of Education. The information contained in this document allows the Financial Aid Office to calculate the amount of financial aid each student will receive. More information can be obtained at http://www.federalstudentaid.ed.gov

Our school would like to offer training to residents of Niagara County. What do we need to do to make this happen?

Answer: The first step for any training institution is to register their school and all training programs they are offering on the New York State Eligible Providers’ List at https://applications.labor.ny.gov/ETPL/Search.faces

To have a training program considered for Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) funding in Niagara County, your training institution must have been in existence for a minimum of six(6) months, have had at least one graduating class in the training program being considered and you must provide the employment statistics of your graduates by each training program.

Young Adults

What documents do I need to get a job?

Today, most businesses require identification from you before you can apply for a job.

Social Security Card:  If you have lost your social security card, you can replace it by going to the Social Security Administration Main Office at 6540 Niagara Falls Boulevard, Niagara Falls, NY 14304, www.socialsecurity.gov Local Number 716-283-1066

Photo Identification:  If you don't have a license, but need photo identification you can get a New York State Non-Drive Photo ID card at your local Department of Motor Vehicles.  www.nysdmv.com

Birth Certificate:  If you have lost your Birth Certificate you can get a certified copy at the following locations:

Niagara Falls City Hall - 286-4392  - 745 Main St. Niagara Falls, NY 14302 

Lockport City Hall - 439-6676 - 1 Locks Plaza Lockport, NY 14094

North Tonawanda City Hall- 695-8555 - 216 Payne Ave.  North Tonawanda, NY 14120

Where do I get working papers?

Trade Act

Who does Trade Act serve?

The Trade Adjustment Assistance(TAA) and Alternative Trade Adjustment (ATAA) programs help trade-affected workers who lose their jobs as a result of increased imports or shifts in production out the United States. The primary focus of the TAA program is on training.

What makes a person eligible for Trade Act benefits?

To be determined entitled to TAA, workers must have worked for the trade-impacted employer a minimum of 26 weeks earning more than $30 per week within the 52 week period prior to separation. The New York State Department of Labor Special Programs Unit determines eligibility.

What funding is available for training under Trade Act?

New York State’s current training cap is $20,000 for programs up to 130 weeks in duration and $10,000 for programs up to 52 weeks in duration.

Is there wage subsidy available under Trade Act?

Alternative Trade Adjustment Assistance (ATAA) and Reemployment Trade Adjustment Assistance (RTAA) allows older TAA eligible workers to receive a wage subsidy to help bridge the salary gap between their old and new employment. The subsidy is up to half the difference between the worker’s old and new wage. The payments have specific limitations and are determined by the petition the individual is certified under.

What if I want to look for work out of the area?

Job search and relocation allowances can be paid to individuals who are Trade-impacted. Reimbursement rates are determined by the petition the individual has been certified under.
Is there help available under Trade Act to pay health insurance premiums?

Workers who are eligible to receive income support under the TAA program may be eligible to receive tax credits of 65% of the monthly health insurance premium they pay. Detailed information on the Health Care Tax Credit and a list of state qualified health plans can be found on the IRS website.

Workforce Development Board (WDB)

What Is A Workforce Development Board?

Workforce Development Boards bring together representatives from business, labor, community-based organizations, education, human services, economic development and other groups to structure and develop policy to deliver local workforce development services. The Board’s mission is to create a local  workforce system that enables individuals to become self-sufficient and continually upgrade their work skills; to ensure employers have the skilled workers they need to compete effectively in the global economy; and to connect unemployed and underemployed discouraged workers to jobs and careers.

What are the WDB's Responsibilities?

  • set policy for the portion of the statewide workforce investment system within the local area
  • develop a budget for the purpose of carrying out the duties of the local board
  • conduct oversight with respect to local programs of youth activities, local employment and training activities, and the one-stop delivery system in the local area, in partnership with the chief elected official
  • negotiate and reach agreement on local performance measures
  • designate or certify one-stop operators and conduct oversight with respect to the one-stop delivery system in the local area
  • designate or certify one-stop operators
  • coordinate the workforce investment activities authorized and carried out in the local area with economic development strategies and develop other employer linkages
  • identify providers of training and labor market services
  • award contracts to certified service providers
  • develop a local plan
  • promote private sector employer participation in all workforce activities to assist in meeting their hiring needs, and to connect workforce investment with local and regional development strategies

Who Are the Customers of The Workforce Development System?

The workforce development system serves two primary customers: the job seeker, and the business community. Our job seekers’ goals are to secure employment, retain employment, upgrade skills, and maintain economic self sufficiency. The businesses that are served want to find qualified employees quickly in a cost efficient manner.

The WDB's role is to help meet all our customers’ needs by establishing those working relationships between the local workforce investment system and the business community.

What Area Does The WDB Serve?

The Niagara County Workforce Development Board serves the geographic area of Niagara County, New York. There are currently 33 local area WDBs in New York State.

Who Appoints The Workforce Development Board?

The Niagara County Legislature appoints the local WDB members, in accordance with the regulations of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act.

How Can I find More Information On Workforce Development Boards and on the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act?

More information can be found at www.doleta.gov
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