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What are rules on unemployment insurance in NY?

My question is about New York State unemployment insurance. If a person who’s in a two-income household receives an out-of-state transfer, does his or her spouse qualify for New York State unemployment insurance until he/she can find employment in the new state? Does it make a difference if the spouse’s transfer was requested, not “forced”?

There’s only one way to find out, and that’s to apply for unemployment insurance. The NYS Department of Labor says it can only determine eligibility for unemployment benefits “after a claim has been filed, and we have all the required information.” The determination is based on state law and on the precedents established by court decisions.

Here are the basic rules:

Anyone who has worked in New York State within the past 18 months can claim New York unemployment insurance benefits, even if he or she currently resides in another state. People typically qualify for benefits if their jobs were eliminated due to workforce reduction, to their employer’s reorganization or lack of operating funds; or to any other business reasons beyond their control; or if they were fired for failing to meet their employer’s job performance standards.

But you may be denied benefits if you quit your job “without good cause, such as a compelling personal reason.” Following your spouse or domestic partner to a new locality isn’t usually deemed a compelling reason. But there are exceptions. Favorable precedents include cases that involved following a previously unemployed spouse or partner who found work in a new locality; following a spouse who was forced to relocate to preserve employment; and in at least one instance, following a spouse who relocated voluntarily.

THE BOTTOM LINE Your eligibility for unemployment insurance may depend on the facts of your individual situation.

WEBSITES WITH MORE INFORMATION

nwsdy.li/unemployment

nwsdy.li/rulings

TO ASK THE EXPERT Send questions to Ask the Expert/Act 2, Newsday Newsroom, 235 Pinelawn Rd., Melville, NY 11747; or, email act2@newsday.com. Include your name, address and phone numbers. Advice is offered as general guidance. Check with your professional consultants for your specific needs.

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