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NYS Unemployment Quick Start Guide

Apply for benefits by filing a new claim

You have the right to apply for Unemployment Insurance benefits (file a claim) if you have worked in New York or another state.  In order to receive benefits, you must:

·      Have lost employment through no fault of your own;

·      Have enough prior earnings from employment to establish a claim;

·      Be ready, willing and able to work; and

·      Be actively seeking work and keep a record of your effort for each week you certify.

When you apply, you will be asked a series of questions when you claim weekly benefits.  To avoid committing fraud, you must answer all of these questions truthfully.  Do not give anyone your PIN or NY.Gov identification or password and do not let anyone file a new claim for you.  This is considered fraud and you may be subject to severe penalties, including prison.

You can apply for benefits by filing a new claim:

·      Online at www.labor.ny.gov (the easiest way to file a new claim), OR

·      By phone by calling 1-888-209-8124.

Certify for weekly benefits

You must claim benefits each week that you are unemployed and looking for work, including while you are waiting for your benefits to begin.  The process of claiming weekly Unemployment Insurance benefits is also called certifying for benefits.  Most people do this on Sunday for the previous week.  A week, for the purposes of Unemployment Insurance, runs from Monday through Sunday.

You will be asked a series of questions when you claim weekly benefits.  To avoid committing fraud, you must answer all of these questions truthfully.  Usually, you cannot claim benefits when you are out of the country.  Important:  Do not give anyone your PIN or NY.GOV identification or password and do not let anyone claim benefits for you.  This is considered fraud and you may be subject to severe penalties, including prison.

You can claim weekly benefits:

·      Online at www.labor.ny.gov (the easiest way to claim weekly benefits), OR

·      By phone by calling 1-888-581-5812.

Receiving your benefits

Your first week is a waiting week.  You will not be paid benefits for this week, but you must still claim benefits for it as the law requires the waiting week.

It usually takes three weeks for your benefits to begin because we have to review and process your application.  However, it may take longer if issues arise.  If we find that you are eligible for benefits, you will be paid for any weeks you claimed when you receive your first payment.  Important:  Continue to claim benefits each week you are out of work while we are processing your application. 

You can receive benefits by direct deposit into your bank account or by direct payment card.  If you want to use direct deposit, you must sign up for it on our website.  This is to ensure that your bank information is kept secure.  If your bank account changes, please make sure you update your direct deposit information with us.  If you want to change to direct deposit or a direct payment card, you must make the change online.  If you want to receive benefits by direct payment card, you can tell us so when you file your claim either online or by phone.  Important:  If you had direct deposit on a previous claim, it remains in effect until you change it with us.  Note:  We no longer issue Unemployment Insurance benefits via check.

Returning to work

What to do when you return to work full-time:

When you get a job, you should verify for the last days you were out of work.  Then, simply stop claiming benefits.

What to do if you become unemployed again:

If your benefit year has not ended and you have not received 104 days of benefits (this equals 26 weeks of benefits) and it has been at least one week since the last week you claimed benefits, you may reopen your claim.

To reopen your claim, simply start claiming weekly benefits again.  You may receive a form in the mail about the period of time for which you did not claim benefits.  This is called “Break in Claim” form.  Complete it and mail it back to the address shown on the form as soon as possible.

Important tips to remember about Unemployment Insurance:

·      A claim lasts 1 year.  You can only receive 26 weeks (104 work days) of benefits for that claim.

·      The Department of Labor determines your benefit rate based on wages information sent in by your employers.  It is not uncommon for employers to be late sending in your information, so always save your pay stubs!

·      When opening up a new claim, state that you are a union member and that your work comes out of the union hall, if that is so.

·      Respond to any mail from the NYSDOL by certified mail/return receipt requested.

·      Even if your benefits are stopped for any reason before your 26 weeks have elapsed, continue certifying weekly until the matter is resolved – you may be entitled to retroactive benefits.

·      If your claim is denied in writing by the Department of Labor, you must submit a written request for a hearing.  The request must be received by the Department of Labor within 30 calendar days from the “Date Mailed” on the “Notice of Determination” that you received.

·      When talking to the Department of Labor, remember that the call is documented.  Be careful of what you say.

·      Individuals on off-the-job disability or workers comp may be entitled to unemployment insurance benefits when their doctor releases them, in writing, to light duty work with clearly defined restrictions.  Warning:  To qualify, you must be ready willing and able to work and you must be actively looking for suitable work that does not violate your doctors restrictions.

Call Michael Szczygiel at Collins & Collins at any time if you need assistance. (716) 885-9700