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Q & A for those applying for unemployment benefits

Copyright © 2020 Albuquerque Journal

The number of New Mexicans applying for unemployment benefits skyrocketed last week as the fallout from COVID-19 and public health measures intended to contain it continue to rock the economy.

Here’s a Q&A for New Mexicans applying for benefits or considering applying, according to information from the New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions.

Q: Who qualifies for unemployment as a result of COVID-19?

A: You may be eligible for unemployment benefits if you were laid off as a result of COVID-19 – for example, if your place of work had a significant lack of business due to the outbreak.

You may also be eligible if you are in self-quarantine, or have immediate family members who are self-quarantined.

Workers who had their hours significantly reduced may also be eligible, as long as their earnings from their employer are less than their weekly benefit amount.

Workers who quit out of fear of exposure are not eligible.

Q: How do I apply?

A: You can apply online at You can also apply by calling 1-877-664-6984 Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Q: How long does it take for benefits to start?

A: It takes a week for benefits to start, per a state-required waiting period. During your waiting week – the first eligible week for a new claim – no benefits will be received and that week will not be included in payments.

Q: What are the requirements to continue receiving benefits?

A: The work search requirement will be waived for up to the first four weeks. After applying, you must file a weekly certification for each week you are applying for benefits. Those certifications may be filed online or by phone.

Q: What amount will be on the check?

A: The amount is based on a percentage of the last 18 months of the filer’s earnings up to $461 per week. Those with dependents will receive a stipend for each dependent.

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