The number of new unemployment claims per week in New Mexico is starting to flatten out, but the outlook is still far from healthy. According to Santa Fe New Mexico, the state’s unemployment insurance program is still receiving around 8,000 applications per week, suggesting it’s going to be a while before we start to see the economy move in a more promising direction. If you’ve lost your job or had your income reduced, here’s what you need to know about how to file for unemployment in New Mexico.
Am I Eligible to Claim Unemployment Benefits in New Mexico?
As soon as you become unemployed, file your claim. Don’t wait a week or two thinking you can simply backdate the payment. The New Mexico Workforce Connection will backdate any claims only to the day you filed the claim, so the sooner you file, the less you stand to lose. The first step in the process is to check whether or not you’re eligible to claim Unemployment Insurance benefits (UI). Like all states, New Mexico requires that:
- You are legally authorized to work in the US
- You are out of work through no fault of your own
- You are able to work and available to work
- You are actively seeking employment and can commit to completing 2 work searches a week, with a written record of the searches to be kept
- You have earned enough over the base period (defined as the first four of the last completed quarters) to meet minimum income requirements
As of March 27, new applicants who’ve lost their job or suffered a reduction in their income aren’t required to fulfill the work-search requirement if they’ve been made unemployed because they have COVID; if they’ve been ordered to quarantine or stay in place; if they’re the primary caregiver to someone with COVID or who’s been ordered to quarantine; if their workplace has shut; if they’ve been furloughed; or if they can’t get to work because of school closures. In a further shake-up to the usual rules, the self-employed, gig workers, and freelancers (who under normal circumstances wouldn’t qualify for support) are now eligible to claim assistance.
How Can I Apply for Unemployment Benefits in New Mexico?
Once you’ve confirmed your eligibility for benefits, the next step is to make sure you have all the information that’ll be requested as part of your application. Expect to confirm:
- Your name, address, citizenship status, contact number, date of birth, and SSN
- Details of any pension, severance, or holiday pay you’re receiving
- Your full employment history for the past 18 months, to include employment dates, name, address, and contact number for each employer, and your reason for leaving
- Recall date (if you expect to return to work)
- Union hiring hall information (if applicable)
- Military Form DD-214 if you’ve served in the military during the last 18 months, of Form SF-8 or SF-50 if you’ve worked for the federal government during the last 18 months
- Social Security numbers for any dependents under the age of 18 for whom you have at least 50% financially responsibility
Once you’ve got all your information to hand, proceed to the New Mexico Workforce Connection portal. Either log into your account or create a new one, then select “Unemployment Insurance” under the “Quick Menu” on the left-hand side of the screen. From there, log into the UI Claims and Benefits system to proceed with your application.
The application process is fairly straightforward, but if you do experience any problems or have any general questions about filing, you can contact Customer Services at the NMDWS Unemployment Insurance Operations Center on 1-877-NM-4-MYUI (1-877-664-6984), Monday-Friday, 8:00 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
Once you’ve finished filing your initial claim, you’ll need to start making weekly claims for payment via the New Mexico Workforce Connection portal. In unemployment terms, the week runs Sunday through midnight on Saturday, with each claim you make reflecting the week prior. If you forget to claim, you risk losing payment for that week. You should start claiming from the point of making your initial application, even if a decision is still pending. Equally, continue to file weekly if your claim has been rejected but you’ve filed an appeal.
How Much Will I Get?
In New Mexico, the state will pay UI up to 53.5% of your average weekly wage during your highest-paid quarter of the base period, up to a maximum of $461 and a minimum of $86. Additionally, you’ll also be eligible to receive a supplementary payment of $600 per week as part of the provisions of the CARES Act. The ‘top-up’ payment can be claimed for 4 months in total, or until the end of July. The CARES Act has also extended the total number of weeks you can claim UI whereas 26 weeks would typically be the maximum number you could claim over any 52 week period, this has now been extended by a further 13 weeks, taking the total claimable period to 39 weeks.
How Can I Appeal if My Claim is Denied?
Once your application has been reviewed, you’ll receive a Notice of Determination to confirm your eligibility. If your claim has been approved, you’ll begin to receive payment within around three weeks. Payment can be made by either direct bank deposit or pre-loaded debit card, depending on your preference. If your application has been refused, you’re not out of options. If you disagree with the determination, you have the right to file an appeal within 15 days of the mailing date of the determination. Appeals can be made directly via the Unemployment Insurance Tax & Claims system. If you continue to disagree with the decision after the initial hearing, a further appeal can be made to the Cabinet Secretary. If you wish to continue your appeal after the Cabinet Secretary has reviewed your case, you will need to log an appeal with the district court within 30 days of the Cabinet Secretary’s refusal.