The New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions (NMDWS) administers Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits in New Mexico.  Benefits provide temporary income support to people who have lost their job through no fault of their own.

The program is funded through contributions by employers.  Employees pay no taxes at all for this benefit.

To qualify, unemployed workers must meet all monetary and other initial eligibility requirements and must continue to do so for all weeks they claim benefits.

How unemployment insurance works in New Mexico

  1. Before you apply, make sure you meet all unemployment insurance requirements.  You must meet all requirements as set forth by New Mexico state law to collect benefits.  Among others, these include earning enough wages during your base or alternate base periods, losing your job through no fault of your own and that you continue to be ready and willing to accept full-time employment.
  2. Apply for benefits.  There are two ways you can file a new claim with NMDWS.  You can go online and apply through the Unemployment Insurance Tax & Claims system  or you can file by phone by calling 1-877-NM-4-MYUI (1-877-664- 6984).
  3. Wait for your determination letter and verify that it is correct.  The determination letter will let you know what your weekly benefit amount will be, what wage amounts were used to make that decision and how long you will be able to collect benefits, which is typically 26 weeks.
  4. Conduct an ongoing job search while collecting benefits.  You are required to create an account with the New Mexico Workforce Connection system within 14 days of filing your claim.  You make at least two job search contacts each week that you claim benefits.
  5. Decide how you will be paid.  You may choose to receive benefits either through direct deposit into your bank account, or by having funds loaded onto a Wells Fargo Bank debit card.
  6. File an appeal if you are denied benefits.  If you are denied benefits, then you can request an appeal to challenge your eligibility determination.

Eligibility requirements

To qualify for initial and ongoing unemployment insurance benefits in New Mexico, you must meet several eligibility requirements:

  • You lost your job through no fault of your own, such as through a layoff or a plant closure.
  • You have earned enough wages during your base period to qualify for benefits.  If you do not have enough wages during your base period, then an alternate base period may be used to see if you qualify.
  • When filing your claim for Unemployment Insurance benefits, you must create an account with the New Mexico Workforce Connection system within 14 days of filing your claim.
  • You must be ready, willing and able to accept full-time or part-time work of at least 20 hours per week without restrictions due to transportation or childcare.   You cannot place unreasonable restrictions on the hours you will work, the wage you will accept, or the distance you will travel to work.
  • You must report any wages earned, or employment performed, when you are filing a claim for benefits. Failure to report earnings or employment performed may subject you to fraud penalties.
  • If you are requesting to certify for your weekly benefits, you are required to report your work search contacts at the time that you certify. Unless exempted by the department, you are required to make a minimum of two different work search contacts every week.
  • If you change your address or move to another town or state, you are required to update your address when you log into your online account.  You can also call the UI Operations Center at 1-877-664-6984 to make the change. 
  • If you are not a citizen, NMDWS must verify your work authorization number with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

How to file a claim

Before you file a claim, you will need to have access to several pieces of information:

  • Your Social Security Number
  • The names, mailing addresses and telephone numbers of all employers you have worked for in the past 18 months
  • The starting and ending dates of all your jobs in the past 18 months
  • If you are not a citizen, you will need your work authorization number and expiration date

If you worked during the week you are filing your claim, be sure you know the gross amount of your pay before filing. You must report this amount, even if you have not received it from the employer.

Filing a New Claim 

There are two ways you can file a new claim with NMDWS:

Online

Through the online Unemployment Insurance Tax & Claims system  

All individuals applying for unemployment benefits must first log into the New Mexico Workforce Connection Online System.  It is through the online Workforce Connection System that you will access the Unemployment Insurance Tax & Claims system. Unemployment Insurance claimants will be required to maintain separate usernames and passwords for both the online jobs system and the Unemployment Insurance Tax & Claims system.

Unemployment Insurance Tax & Claims system is available to take initial claims and weekly request for benefits/weekly certifications from 4 am to 9 pm, Sunday through Friday. Please allow at least 30 minutes to file an online claim prior to system down time.

If you do not have access to a personal computer, they are available at any of the 21 local New Mexico Workforce Connection Centers or at local libraries.

By phone

You can also file by phone by calling 1-877-NM-4-MYUI (1-877-664- 6984). After following the automated prompts, your call will be transferred to a Customer Service Agent who will complete your claim.

The UI Operations Center is open from 8 am to 4:30 pm, Monday - Friday. The UI Operations Center offers services in English and Spanish.

 The first eligible week of each new claim is a “waiting week”.  You will not receive benefits for this week but you must certify to receive credit for your waiting week. You must meet the same eligibility requirements for a waiting week as you would for a payable week.

Your claim is established for a 52-week period called a Benefit Year. It begins with the effective date of your claim.  You can file weekly requests for benefits until your claim has ended or you have exhausted your benefits. You may also file if you have earnings from part-time employment that are less than your weekly benefit amount.

At the end of your Benefit Year, your claim will end whether or not you have received all available benefits. If you are unemployed at that time, you will need to file a new claim for benefits.

After you file an initial claim, you will be sent a Monetary Determination letter that tells you if you have earned enough wages during your base period to qualify for benefits.  Your base period is the first four of the last five completed calendar quarters before the start date of your claim.

The Monetary Determination includes your weekly benefit amount (WBA), the maximum benefit amount (MBA) allowed during your benefit year and information on how NMDWS calculated your benefit amounts.

A Monetary Determination stating you are monetarily eligible does not mean you guaranteed to receive benefits.  You must meet all other eligibility requirements as well.

Requests for ongoing benefits

After you have been determined to be monetarily eligible for benefits, you must make a weekly request for benefits for each week you are unemployed in a timely manner.

You will use the same access and system as you did when you filed your initial claim.  You can file for a weekly certification either online or by phone.

If you need assistance with your weekly request for benefits/weekly certification or if there is an issue on your claim, contact a Customer Service Agent in the UI Operations Center at 1-877-664-6984, Monday through Friday from 8 am to 4:30 pm.

You may still be able to collect partial benefits if you worked during the week you are filing for benefits.  Your wages must be less that the amount you were scheduled to receive, and that amoung will be deducted from your overall benefit payment.

If you have wages in two or more states in the base period (of which one state must be New Mexico), you may be able to use these wages to establish a claim in New Mexico. To find out whether to pursue a combined wage claim, you should speak with a Customer Service Agent in the UI Operations Center.

How much will I be paid?

Unemployment benefits in New Mexico are 53.5% of your average weekly wage during your highest paid quarter of the base period.

In 2018, you can receive a minimum of $81 per week and a maximum amount of $433 for up to 26 weeks.

Unemployment benefits are subject to a minimum weekly benefit of $81 and a maximum weekly benefit of $433 (in 2018). Benefits are available for a maximum of 26 weeks.

If you have dependent children under 18, you can also receive a weekly allowance of $25 per child, for up to two children. However, the dependent allowance cannot be more than 50% of your weekly benefit amount.  You must provide at least 51% support for each dependent that you claim.

If you are serving jury duty, any payments received for this service will not be deducted from your weekly benefit amount. You are required to provide the summons in order to document your availability.

Any pension or similar payment must be reported. The payments will be deducted from your weekly benefit amount if the pension or payment is from a base period employer and the work you did for a base period employer made you eligible for the pension or increased the pension amount.

If you owe child support, the New Mexico Human Services Department may request a portion of your benefits to be withheld based on a court order. These benefits will then be paid to the Child Support Enforcement Division.  

The “Dependent Allowance” permits a claimant to receive benefits in the amount of $25.00, for each un-emancipated child under the age of 18, up to a maximum of two children, and not to exceed fifty percent of a claimant’s weekly benefit amount. The claimant must provide at least 51% support for each dependent.

You must report 100% of the Unemployment Insurance benefits you receive when you file your income taxes. NMDWS will mail you a form 1099-G listing the amounts of benefits you received and will also furnish this information to the Internatl Revenue Service as well.  To offset this taxable amount, you can elect to have 10% of your unemployment benefits withheld from the weekly amount you receive.  

When and how will I be paid?

New Mexico offers benefit recipients two options to receive benefits.  You will decide which one you want to use when you file an initial claim. 

Direct Deposit

With direct deposit, funds will be deposited into your U.S. savings or checking account.  You will need to provide your routing number, account number and the account type of your bank or credit union.  It may take up to a week to verify your direct deposit information.  Customer Service Agents in the UI Operations Center cannot enter your direct deposit information on your behalf. Direct deposit information can only be entered by you in the Unemployment Insurance Tax & Claims system.

Debit Card

You can also choose to receive benefits by having payments loaded on a Wells Fargo Debit Card.  This card is valid for three years.  Your card and instruction packet will arrive 7-10 days after your first payment is sent to Wells Fargo.

For information about cash withdrawals, schedule of fees, and balance inquiries, go to www.dws.state.nm.us, and click on “Unemployment Insurance” and “Debit Card Information.”

Looking for a job while claiming benefits

You are required to conduct an ongoing job search while claiming benefits in New Mexico.  You must also keep records of your job search and present them to officials if requested.

Unless exempted, you must make a minimum of two different work search contacts every week to qualify for benefits. You will need to report the date, your contact information and the result of your contact.  

Benefits can be denied if you refuse suitable work or fail to apply for suitable work. You cannot refuse an offer of suitable work without good cause.

You are not required to accept work if:

  • the work presents an unreasonable risk to your health, safety, or morals;
  • your level of physical fitness, training, or experience make a position unsuitable;
  • the work is unreasonably far from your residence;
  • the wages, hours or other conditions of the work are substantially less favorable than comparable work in your area;
  • the work is available only because of an organized labor strike or lockout; or,
  • the work is available only to those who join a company union. You cannot be made to resign from or be prohibited from joining a recognized union.

As a period of unemployment lengthens, you may need to broaden your work search and reduce your salary demands.

The New Mexico Workforce Connection

As part of your initial claim process, you are required to sign up for the New Mexico Workforce Connection.  Registering and creating an account in the system is required within 14 days of your initial claim for Unemployment Insurance benefits. This free service offers a variety of services for job seekers and consists of online services and a network of 21 statewide career centers. 

  • Computers - complete weekly work searches, search for New Mexico jobs, and connect to nationwide job banks.
  • Job Resources –  access to the Internet, telephones, printers, fax machines, local newspapers, and other resources.
  • Job Search Assistance – Receive career counseling and job search training, advice on writing résumés, job preparation, and interviewing skills from workforce professionals.
  • Job Fairs, Workshops, and Labor Market Info - Check out job fairs in your local area and explore local labor market information to find employers who are hiring.
  • New Mexico Workforce Solutions Publications and Brochures - free brochures and publications on unemployment benefits, wage information for job seekers, employment projections, and more.
  • Approved Training Opportunities - If you meet the requirements for approved training, the New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions may exempt you from work search requirements while you receive benefits.  

Go here to the nearest New Mexico Workforce Connection Center ,  

What if I am denied benefits?

If you are denied benefits, you have the right to make an appeal to the NMDWS’s Appeal Tribunal. You must file your appeal within 15 calendar days from the date  a determination letter was issued.

To file an appeal, follow the instructions under the “Request for a Hearing” section of the determination you received.  You can also file your appeal online by logging into your account in the Unemployment Insurance Tax & Claims system where you will also find additional information about the appeals process

If you have any questions about the appeal process, call the UI Operations Center at 1-877-664-6984.

You can contact the Appeals Tribunal at 1-800-227-7325 (if you are in New Mexico), 1-800-545-0533 (if outside of New Mexico), or 505-383-2700.

When you file an appeal, it is important that you continue filing your weekly request for benefits certifications. If the outcome of the appeal is in your favor, you will be paid only for those weeks for which you file a weekly request and have met all other eligibility requirements.

 At the appeal hearing, you have the right to have witnesses, an attorney or other representative participate in the hearing process with you. Appeal hearings are typically conducted by telephone and the hearings have very strict procedural guidelines.

If the hearing officer’s decision is not in your favor, you may appeal to the Department’s Cabinet Secretary. The Secretary will decide your appeal or will refer it to the Board of Review. You must write your reasons for disagreeing with the decision and file your appeal within 15 calendar days from the date of the decision.  

The decision may be reversed, or remanded to the Appeal Tribunal for another hearing. You will be notified in writing of the Board’s or Secretary’s decision and any subsequent hearings or other actions that may take place.

If the Secretary or the Board’s decision is not in your favor, you may appeal it to the district court within 30 days of the date of the decision. If the appeal decision is in your favor, benefits will be paid ONLY for the weeks you are eligible for benefits and have completed a weekly request for benefits.

Key terms

Alternate Base Period - The four completed calendar quarters prior to the calendar quarter in which a claim begins.  An alternate base period can be used for wages purposes if you do not meet the requirements during your regular base period

Base Period- The first four of the last five completed calendar quarters before the calendar quarter in which a claim begins.  You must earn enough wages during your base period to qualify for benefits.

Benefit Week - A calendar week that starts at 12:01 a.m. Sunday and ends at midnight the following Saturday.

Benefit Year -  A one-year period beginning with the Sunday in which the valid initial claim for UI benefts is filed. 

Claiming Benefits - To receive a benefit payment after filing an initial claim for benefits, an individual must certify their eligibility by filing a weekly claim.

Weekly Benefit Amount - The amount payable to an individual who meets all requirements for unemployment insurance benefits.  In New Mexico, the minimum amount is $81 and the maximum amount is $433 per week.

For more information

Online

You can access your Unemployment Insurance (UI) claim and information online through the New Mexico Workforce Connection  All individuals who apply for unemployment benefits online must first log into the New Mexico Workforce Connection Online System

Phone

You can contact a Customer Service Agent in the Unemployment Insurance (UI) Operations Center at 1-877-NM-4-MYUI (1-877-664-6984) from 8 am to 4:30 pm, Monday through Friday.   

English and Spanish-speaking Customer Service Agents are available to assist you in filing your claim, following up, and submitting weekly request for benefits/weekly certifications.

Appeals

If you have any questions about the appeal process, call the UI Operations Center at 1-877-664-6984.

You can contact the Appeals Tribunal at 1-800-227-7325 (if you are in New Mexico), 1-800-545-0533 (if outside of New Mexico), or 505-383-2700.