Work search requirements waived for up to 4 weeks

(Albuquerque, NM)  Today, Secretary Bill McCamley of the New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions (NMDWS) announced he will be filing an emergency provision to the Unemployment Insurance (UI) rules waiving the work search requirement for affected workers who have lost their job or have had a reduction in hours due to COVID-19.

The closure of businesses, cancelation of events, and the prohibition of large gatherings may result in individuals being dismissed or suspended from work through no fault of their own; certain workers may be eligible for unemployment insurance benefits.   

  • Employers may lay off some or all of their workforce as a result of the impact of COVID-19; for example, a restaurant that sees a significant reduction in business due to lack of customers dining out during this time, or an event facility that cancels all events until a later date, or bus drivers who are out of work due to temporary school closure.
  • Workers who are self-quarantined or directed to be quarantined, or who have immediate family who is quarantined; or
  • Workers who have their hours reduced as a result of COVID-19.

The Department will be waiving the work search requirements any of the above impacted workers who qualify for benefits for up to four weeks.

“Governor Lujan Grisham’s administration is doing everything in our power to get people the tools they need to get through this situation,” said NMDWS Secretary Bill McCamley. “If we all stay patient and kind with one another, we’ll get through this together.”

There are two ways to file an initial claim:

  • Online by going to the New Mexico Workforce Connection Online System at Individuals can then access the UI Tax & Claims System. The online system is available to take initial claims and weekly certifications 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
  • By phone at 1-877-664-6984. The UI Operations Center is open from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

When applying for benefits, claimants must file a weekly certification for each week they are applying. The first eligible week of any new claim is a “waiting week.” Claimants will not receive benefits for this week and it is not included in their weeks of payment.  

If a claimant is receiving sick leave, annual leave, personal time off (PTO), or administrative leave, they may not be eligible for unemployment benefits.

A claimant may be eligible for benefits if their hours are reduced significantly even if the claimant was not a full-time employee prior to the reduction.  This is an exception to the regular UI partial benefits provisions and will only apply to claimants affected by COVID-19 during the time the state is under a state of emergency. 

A claimant that is directed to self-quarantine or is caring for an immediate family member that is quarantined will be eligible for these provisions, even if they are eventually not diagnosed with COVID-19.

For more information on Unemployment Insurance please refer to the attached fact sheet or visit our website at