New Mexico Unemployment Benefits and Eligibility

Researcher & Writer
April 15, 2020

COVID-19 UPDATE: Because the coronavirus pandemic has left so many Americans jobless, the federal government has given states more flexibility in granting unemployment benefits. You’ll need to apply for these benefits through your state’s unemployment insurance program, but if you have questions about whether you’re eligible for benefits read our COVID-19 Unemployment Benefits and Insurance FAQ. Also, before submitting a claim in New Mexico, be sure to check out New Mexico’s claimant handbook.


A guide to unemployment benefits in New Mexico

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.


Newly unemployed?

Several online services—like FlexJobs, 360training, or MyPerfectResume—can help you find work-from-home jobs, build a better resume, or earn training certifications.


How do I file for unemployment benefits in New Mexico?

You should begin filing for unemployment as soon as possible after losing your job.

1.  Collect information. 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
  • Your work authorization number and expiration date if you’re not a citizen

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.

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 1-877-664-6984.

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’ll be able to collect benefits, which is typically 26 weeks plus additional time allowed under federal guidelines.

4.  Conduct an ongoing job search while collecting benefits. You’re required to create an account with the New Mexico Workforce Connection system. 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’re denied benefits, then you can request an appeal to challenge your eligibility determination.

Where do I submit my claim?

Online: You can access your unemployment insurance claim and information online through the New Mexico Workforce Connection System.

You can file a claim online 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

All individuals applying for unemployment benefits online must create an account for the New Mexico Workforce Connection Online System. This login gives you access to both the Unemployment Insurance Tax & Claims system and the New Mexico Workforce Connection job search platform.

In person: Your local New Mexico Workforce Connection Center may have limited hours for in-person assistance with filing a claim.

Phone: You can contact a Customer Service Agent in the Unemployment Insurance Operations Center at 1-877-664-6984, from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.

English and Spanish-speaking customer service agents are available to assist you in filing your claim, following up, and submitting weekly requests 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 also contact the Appeals Tribunal directly by calling 505-383-2700 or at the following toll-free numbers:

Where do I submit my claim?

Online: You can access your unemployment insurance claim and information online through the New Mexico Workforce Connection System.

You can file a claim online 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

All individuals applying for unemployment benefits online must create an account for the New Mexico Workforce Connection Online System. This login gives you access to both the Unemployment Insurance Tax & Claims system and the New Mexico Workforce Connection job search platform.

In person: Your local New Mexico Workforce Connection Center may have limited hours for in-person assistance with filing a claim.

Phone: You can contact a Customer Service Agent in the Unemployment Insurance Operations Center at 1-877-664-6984, from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.

English and Spanish-speaking customer service agents are available to assist you in filing your claim, following up, and submitting weekly requests 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 also contact the Appeals Tribunal directly by calling 505-383-2700 or at the following toll-free numbers:

How unemployment insurance works in New Mexico

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’ve received all available benefits. If you’re unemployed at that time, you’ll need to file a new claim for benefits.

After filing

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’re monetarily eligible does not mean you’re 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.

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 certifying over the phone, you must call on a designated day according to the last digit of your Social Security number:

  • 0–3: Monday
  • 4–6: Tuesday
  • 7–9: Wednesday

If you miss your assigned day, you can certify by phone on Thursday or Friday.

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

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 than the amount you were scheduled to receive, and that amount 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 make 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.

FAQ

What are the eligibility requirements for unemployment in New Mexico?

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.
  • 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’re filing a claim for benefits. Failure to report earnings or employment performed may subject you to fraud penalties.
  • If you request to certify for your weekly benefits, you’re required to report your work search contacts at the time that you certify. Unless exempted by the department, you’re 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’re required to update your address when you log in to your online account. You can also call the UI Operations Center at 1-877-664-6984 to make the change.
  • If you’re not a US citizen, NMDWS must verify your work authorization number with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services.

What if I am denied benefits?

You’re not out of options if you’re denied benefits. You’ll have 15 days to send an appeal from the date your Monetary Determination letter was mailed, and you can file an appeal online through the Unemployment Insurance Tax & Claims system.

If your appeal is successful, you’ll only receive benefits for claims you filed throughout that time. So even if your first claim is denied, keep submitting weekly claims until you know the outcome of your appeal.

If your fist appeal doesn’t end in your favor, you’ll have another 15 days to send an appeal to the Cabinet Secretary. If the Secretary still denies your claim, you can also take your appeal to district court within 30 days of the Secretary’s denial.

For more information, you can call the UI Operations Center at 1-877-664-6984 or review New Mexico’s claimant handbook.

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 2020, you can receive a minimum of $86 per week and a maximum amount of $461 for up to 26 weeks (plus additional benefits provided under federal guidelines).

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 serve jury duty, any payments received for this service will not be deducted from your weekly benefit amount. You’re 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 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.

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 Internal 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.

How will I be paid?

New Mexico offers benefit recipients two options to receive benefits: direct deposit or a debit card. 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 US savings or checking account. You will need to provide your routing number, account number, and the account type of your bank or credit union. 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.

Do I have to look 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’ll 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.

New Mexico Workforce Connection

As part of your initial claim process, you are required to sign up for the New Mexico Workforce Connection. 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 and connect to nationwide job banks.
  • Job Resources: Access the internet, telephones, printers, fax machines, local newspapers, and other resources.
  • Job Search Assistance: Receive career counseling and job search training, advice on writing resumés, 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: Read 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.

Visit the NMDWS website to find the nearest New Mexico Workforce Connection Center.

Written by
Eligibility Team
We are a team of experts dedicated to finding the right government programs for you. Our mission is simple: help people quickly and easily understand which programs they might be eligible for—all in one place. Our team is dedicated to researching and providing you with the most relevant information. We compile only the most trusted information from government sources into one place so you can find the facts you need and skip what you don’t.
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