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Certifying by Telephone - The TEL-SERVICE Line

The TEL-SERVICE Line lets you:

  • Hear information on how to qualify for Unemployment Insurance (UI)
  • Learn what papers you need and how to file for UI
  • Find out how much you can receive in UI benefits and for how long
  • Claim your UI benefits 
  • Check the status of a payment 

Using the TEL-SERVICE Line:

You may call TEL-SERVICE

  • Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. until midnight 
  • Saturday from 12:01 a.m. until Sunday at midnight 

Calls made Sunday are for the week ending that day.

From a touch-tone phone or a phone with a pulse/tone switch (be sure the switch is set to TONE), call 1-888-581-5812 for New York State residents or 1-888-864-9920 if you live outside of New York State. The system will ask you to choose:

Option 1: Obtaining General Unemployment Insurance Information:

If you press option "1", you will hear a list of options for general UI information:
  • Who qualifies for UI
  • What you will need when you file a UI claim
  • How to file a claim for UI
  • How much you can receive in UI benefits and for how long 

Option 2: Claim weekly benefits or other claim services:

Once you press option "2" and the system verifies your Social Security Number and Personal Identification Number (PIN)*, the system will ask you if you want to:

  • Claim UI benefits or
  • Check the status of your payments 

*If you are a person with a disability, who cannot access our services without help from another person, you may take that help.  However, you must be with the person each time they access the services, including the entry of the PIN. You will be responsible for the actions of your agent.  You may be subject to penalties, including loss of benefits, if you are not present when your agent accesses our services.

Claiming your weekly UI benefits:

To claim UI benefits, say 'claims' or press "1".

After you press option "1", the system will ask you a series of questions to verify your eligibility for benefits for the prior week. Listen carefully to the questions. Follow the instructions for responding. The responses you speak or the numbers you press tell the system your answer. If you are not sure what to say or which number to press, do not respond. The system will repeat the question twice. If you do not respond by the third time, it will end your call and you will have to call again.

The system will repeat your answers and ask you to confirm that your responses are right. If the information is incorrect, the system will advise you to say "no" or press "2". The system will repeat the questions again so you may correct your answers.

At the end of the weekly certification, if you say "yes" or press "1", you are certifying that the statements are true and correct, that you are not claiming benefits during any period while you were outside of the United States, a US territory or Canada, and you understand that the Law provides penalties for false statements.

Claiming Unemployment Insurance fraudulently or allowing someone to obtain benefits or access to your claim using your PIN, is a serious offense.  It can lead to severe penalties, including criminal prosecution and imprisonment. You could lose up to 20 weeks of benefits if you allow another person to use your PIN. You should never write your PIN or Social Security number on your Chase Direct Payment Card.

Reminder - If you get disconnected or hang up the telephone before the system advises you that your claim has been entered for processing, it will not go through.  You will have to call again to certify for your benefits.

Other Claim Services:

To check the status of your payments, say 'payment status' or press "2".

After you press option "2", the system will give you up-to-date payment information. You may find out when your most recent weekly benefits were processed or hear a history of all benefits processed.

Please do not call the Telephone Claims Center to verify information provided by TEL-SERVICE unless the system tells you to. The Telephone Claims Center staff access the same computer data as the TEL-SERVICE Line.

Special notes about the telephone certification system:

  • You must make the call yourself. Having someone else call for you could result in severe penalties.
  • When you call TEL-SERVICE, you will use the PIN you created when you first filed your claim for benefits either online or through the Telephone Claims Center.
  • Never tell anyone your pin.  Remember, you are responsible and liable for your claim. Your PIN is your electronic signature for claiming and receiving information on your UI benefits. Your PIN protects against another person certifying for your benefits or obtaining payment information on your claim.
    *If you are a person with a disability, who cannot access our services without help from another person, you may take that help.  However, you must be with the person each time they access the services, including the entry of the PIN. You will be responsible for the actions of your agent.  You may be subject to penalties including loss of benefits, if you are not present when your agent accesses our services.
  • If you forget your PIN or if you think someone else might know your PIN:
    See: What if I forgot my PIN? 
  • If the line is busy, keep trying until you get through.
  • If everything is in order on your claim, your payment will be released within three business days after your call.

Certify weekly

  • TEL-SERVICE can only process a one-week certification. You must request payment during the first week following the week you initiated your claim or on the Sunday at the end of the week that you are claiming.

If you move

If you found work

  • When you get a job, you should claim credit for the last days you were out of work.  Then just stop claiming benefits. Do not claim benefits for any week in which you work more than three days or earn more than the maximum benefit rate (currently $420).

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