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DISCLAIMER: This is a compilation of resources including questions, answers, and information from the NYSBA pro bono initiative, legal research/ statutory law, and some other social media pages where people discuss common issues they’re facing with unemployment insurance. Please do not rely definitively on anything I have put in here without looking into it further, and please do not consider this legal advice.

2021 DOL Updates

includes extension of PUA and PEUC

Partial Unemployment New Rule- Governor Cuomo’s new executive order which will change the reporting process to account for HOURS worked.

See 2021 updates subpage for detailed information about all of this!

Updated PUA Minimum Amount

The previous minimum amounts of $172 and $182 have been raised to $187 as of July 2020.

Liaison Program

** IMPORTANT** ーAS OF TODAY, January 20, 2021, I’m unsure how much contact we still have and will update after a call with the DOL tomorrow.**

We have established a line of communication between the NYSBA unemployment pro bono attorneys and Governor Cuomo’s office! Please see the “NYSBA / Gov / DOL Liaison” page for details on passing along pressing / unique issues for more direct and specific solutions for clients. So far this has been a huge help.


**LWA** NEW INFO
as of September 11, 2020 regarding the Lost Work Assistance (LWA) program for New York


And
/
or see the below text!

NYS Department of Labor Announces $300 Lost Wages Assistance Payments Will Begin Next Week

Roughly 2 Million New Yorkers are Pre-Qualified for Lost Wages Assistance and will Receive Payments Next Week

Approximately 435,000 New Yorkers Must Submit an Additional Certification to Qualify — Certification System Launches
on Sept. 11
, Payments Begin on a Rolling Basis Next Week (From 9/11/2020)

Actions DOL is taking to inform claimants who are eligible:
taking proactive steps to communicate directly with all 2.4 million claimants tomorrow, including:
Sending emails and text messages to all 2 million New Yorkers who are pre-qualified, informing them of their qualification and that they do not need to take any additional actions to receive the LWA benefits.
Sending emails to the ~435,000 who need to certify with the DocuSign document to certify for the LWA program.

New York has Paid $43.7 Billion in Benefits During Pandemic Emergency, Representing Over 20 Typical Years’ Worth of Benefits in Just Six Months. Expand arrow below for more info including who is eligible automatically, who may be eligible but needs to take further action, how long the benefits should last/ to how much claimants may be entitled and more!

Expand arrow for detailed information


Fact Sheets and New Information from the DOL


Representatives from the DOL provided us with updated fact sheets and some new information. This can be found on the “DOL Fact Sheet” subpage.

Topics Covered on the fact sheets include:

returning to work

general UI and PUA claims (FAQ)

determining the status of claims

Keybank debit cards

forfeit days and offsets

communications from the DOL.


Please continue checking back, as I am making frequent updates as I acquire more helpful information.

**EXTRA RESOURCES**

Be sure to visit the informative subpages which contain further helpful resources and will be updated periodically to include new information.
1) An employment attorney and friend of mine, Vincent White, graciously created Youtube videos to answer some of our initial questions. Please contact me if you have a particular topic you'd like him to discuss, as he has generously agreed to address issues we may encounter going forward.
2): A member of the volunteer group spoke with the chief of staff of a senator in upstate NY and I included it on a subpage.
**Additional resources are being added regularly and links to all subpages can be found at the top of the page.**
Here are the links:



Unemployment: Initial FAQ

**FOR ANY AREA THAT INDICATES THERE'S AN ANSWER OR INFORMATION THAT APPEARS BLANK, MAKE SURE TO CLICK THE ARROW WHICH FUNCTIONS TO EXPAND/COLLAPSE**

My client successfully applied X weeks ago and hasn't heard back. What should I advise?
Answer
Do:

Don't:

2. My client made a mistake on the application. What should I advise?
Answers
(Click arrow for two options)

3. My client applied for both PUA and UI (before app was streamlined) and hasn't heard back.
Answer

4. My client was denied and I need to request a hearing.
Answer

5. My client used to work in NY and moved elsewhere and didn't start working in the new state before The Closing started. What do I advise?
Answer

6. My client used to work in NY, moved elsewhere, started a new job and then The Closing started. What do I advise?
Answer

7. My client is self-employed -
The answers are in the text of the CARES Act, the regulations), and in the Disaster Unemployment Assistance program law & regulationss.


Useful links and resources:

NYS UI Claimants Handbook. Literally the most useful item for newbies to UI (PDF). (click the arrow below)


CLICK ON THE ARROW TO LOAD THE PDF "Unemployment Insurance A Bridge to Your Next Career
(it's so long it's easier for the page to load this way)

CARES Act Information

CLICK ON THE ARROW TO LOAD THE PDF (
it's 331 pages so this is for site functionality)

Employment and Training Administration Advisory System (PDF)

CLICK ON THE ARROW TO LOAD THE PDF



Disaster Unemployment Assistance quick reference/ Fact Sheet (DUA is what PUA is based on) (PDF)

CLICK ON THE ARROW TO LOAD THE PDF


DOL info

On the issues concerning forfeiture and related issues,
this link will take you to Appeals Board decisions that may help the pro bono client,

**Please note the above forfeiture information applies to BEFORE May 13, 2020.

On the issues of Good Cause, voluntary v. involuntary separation from employment,
these cases have been very helpful,


The End of $600 FPUC Payments+ UI and PUA extension- DOL announcement

Under current federal guidelines, this is the last benefit week for $600 FPUC payments in New York.
When you submit your weekly certification between Sunday 7/26 & Saturday 8/1, you will be certifying for your final week of FPUC.

This may change if Congress takes action to extend Americans' unemployment benefits.

We will provide all updates on our website and social media. Please do not call our call centers to inquire about FPUC extensions, so those who need assistance with their claims can get through.

In addition, we announced last week that UI & PUA had been extended:

➡️ Traditional Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits are now extended for up to 59 weeks
➡️ Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) benefits are now extended for up to 46 weeks

More information on these extensions: https://on.ny.gov/peuceb

To continue receiving your UI or PUA benefits, continue to certify every week. There is no need to reapply or contact the NYS DOL, unless your benefit year has expired.

Certify online at http://labor.ny.gov/signin or by calling 1-888-581-5812 (for UI) or 1-833-324-0366 (for PUA).

Extended Benefits and PEUC info

UPDATE: The Extended Benefits (EB) program is now in effect in NYS.

Thanks to the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) & EB programs, New Yorkers receiving traditional UI are now eligible for up to 59 weeks of benefits – up from 26 weeks before the pandemic. Details: https://on.ny.gov/peuceb

In addition, under federal law, those receiving Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) are now eligible for up to 46 weeks of benefits in NYS – up from the original 39 weeks.

More information
:

*
A fact sheet on EB and PEUC will be added by tomorrow (July 26 2020)

Forfeit Day Penalties

*also see the “Fact Sheets & Info from the DOL” subpage for information on this subject.

*May 13 Press release suspension of forfeiture day penalties*

Direct link to NYSDOL Press Release:
*** NEW: 📢 The DOL announced emergency measures to ensure unemployed New Yorkers who have been assessed forfeiture day penalties will receive benefits during the COVID19 pandemic. on.ny.gov/2Wv18Aa ***


Unemployed NYers with only forfeiture days on their accounts will immediately begin receiving $600 weekly FPUC payments, including back pay through the program's launch on April 5. They will also begin receiving UI or PUA benefits they would otherwise be eligible for in ~2 weeks.

Relevant content / info of announcement (click arrow to expand)

Before the May 13 press release (info applies prior to May 13)


Question 1
I have a situation in which a claimant has been denied benefits on the ground that he has not exhausted his forfeit day penalties and therefore also is ineligible for the $600/week CARES benefit. I understand that there has been legislation introduced in the State Senate (S8275) and Assembly (A10348) to suspend penalties during the pandemic, to allow people to receive UI benefits for a period of time, but I do not know the status of these bills. I also understand that the DOL itself is considering making modifications. Apparently, there are online discussion groups addressing this dilemma and at least one organization, called the Workers Defense League, that has weighed in. I have not seen anything regarding outcomes on any of this, however.

Calculation of forfeit days (info applies to before the May 13 press release)

Question 2

- My immediate question is whether anyone knows how "forfeit days" are calculated? I appears that these are imposed when applicants have provided inaccurate information in prior applications, and are imposed in addition to requiring repayment of benefits and assessment of monetary fines. But as best as I can tell, the actual number of forfeit days imposed is up to the investigator that handled the matter. In the case I am addressing, the number is 72 forfeit days, which seems like a lot. Does anyone know whether there are any guidelines that the Department of Labor is supposed to follow for setting the number of forfeit days? Or, can anyone suggest someone who might have experience with this issue and would be willing to advise? Thanks very much.

Pandemic unemployment compensation and unemployment insurance - issues related to forfeiture and overpayment BEFORE THE MAY 13 PRESS RELEASE

Question 1
One of my clients is in the following circumstance and I am not quite sure how best to guide him, as I am still familiarizing myself with how the Pandemic Unemployment Compensation mechanism works.

My client applied for UI and was approved ~5 weeks ago. Unfortunately, he was slapped with a forfeiture penalty, as the state claims he was previously overpaid. While my client has made his peace with this assessment, his chief concern is that he has yet to receive any funds in accordance with Pandemic Unemployment Compensation, which he believes he is entitled to, given that he's been approved for UI and was merely assessed a penalty for state benefits.

Answer (Pre- May 13 press release) :
I would write to the DOL on his behalf and request PUA immediately.

Question 2
In 2019 my client began receiving UI benefits (July -November). At some point, she was overpaid and told she would have to repay the amount overpaid along with a penalty. Although she entered into a payment plan she failed to make any payments to NYS. It's still unclear as to whether she stopped receiving her benefits because of this overpayment. In March of this year, she worked for two days for a temporary agency, became ill, and was told not to return to the agency until she was well. In April, she filed for unemployment and attempted to collect on her remaining 44 days of benefits. To date, she has not received a UI check.
Are clients not receiving benefits because of a previous overpayment and penalty? I've advised her to continue certifying and contact DOL, but like most others, she's been unable to reach anyone

Answer: **APPLIES TO BEFORE THE MAY 13 PRESS RELEASE**
Here is the DOL's FAQ on over payments and penalties/forfeit days:

If she has over payments and penalties, she likely has been dinged with forfeit days.

Follow up Question about the above:

I did see that she would be required to forfeit some days. Her overpayment amount is $169 and her penalty is $100, which means that her first two weeks of benefits would have been used to repay NYS. At this point, if I'm reading the FAQ's correctly, it would seem she should be paid up and once again able to receive benefits.

I have not come across anything that shows movement on the pending legislation to waive forfeit days

Answer **applies to BEFORE THE MAY 13 press release**
If she was approved but has forfeit days, that is indicated in a chart like form with the benefit amounts, the amount of forfeit days, and the amount of benefits remaining. This information is located on the weekly notice of benefits the claimant receives from NYSDOL.

Debts ie) child support / Forfeit Days **Applies to BEFORE THE MAY 13 PRESS RELEASE** (click on arrow to expand)

Bank card with 0

**
Question

Just got finished talking with my client and he mentioned something about getting a bank card in the mail with 0 balance on it in relation to the pandemic. Has anyone else had a similar experience? If so, what are the next steps?

Answer

Card came with 0; person is eligible for UI as well then got one time payment of $600 but still no UI

Question

OK this is my situation I got one of those key 2 benefit cards sent to me when I looked online two days ago there was a zero balance! I woke up this morning it was $600 but I’m confused my claim has been valid since March 9, 2020 shouldn't I be getting all that back pay plus my weekly benefit rate plus the 600 a week????

Answer (Click arrow to expand )


Hearings

Q

Can anyone verify if the hearings are being held? My assignment had been awaiting unemployment benefits prior to the pandemic closures, was denied and had a hearing date of March 17, 2020, which was cancelled. She has not been able to get the hearing rescheduled yet. Is anyone aware of a way to get an expedited hearing at this point?

Thank you.

Answer:
As of now hearings are being held via telephone conferences; before May 18th no hearings were taking place. There is still a backlog due to the initial delay in restarting hearings, so the process may not be as quick as usual. Generally only a few days notice is provided when claimants learn their hearing dates, so it is advantageous to prepare in advance accordingly.

Mistakes on application (ready/willing, SSN)

NOTE: check the video subpage for more information on this subject. There is also a video regarding the use of affidavits when fighting for unemployment.
-------------------------------------------

Ready/willing/able


Question
The client submitted her online application for unemployment compensation and mistakenly represented that she was not able and willing to work. She misunderstood the question. Apparently, the DOL subsequently revised the website to clarify that the question should be answered "yes" notwithstanding that work in the field is nonessential during the pandemic. The client was denied benefits and demanded a hearing. Is there a mechanism for revising her application for benefits? Thanks for any assistance.
Newer answer :
anyone experiencing this should consider participating in the liaison program referenced above to expedite the process of resolving this type of issue. Otherwise see additional answers / info below.
Answer

It's a poorly worded question on the application that is meant to weed out people who should apply for disability benefits not unemployment benefits.

I don't think there is anyway to amend the application through the DOL's website. I **think** you can try and do it over the phone talking to a UI specialist. But as you may be aware, calling the DOL right now is an hours long wait and people are using robo-dialers to constantly call 5,000 times per day.

-----------------

QUICKER WAYS TO CORRECT AN APPLICATION?


Question
I saw an earlier post that short of calling the Claims Center (who is not answering the phone), the only way to make a correction to a UI application is to send a correction request letter to Albany. Before I draft that letter, I just want to confirm there is not quicker way.
I have a client who was denied 7 weeks ago because she answered "yes" to the telework question, thinking the unemployment office was offering her a job. She has tried calling the Claims Center multiple times a day for weeks now with no luck. She also tried messaging them on Facebook.

Similar Question

Thank you for raising this issue. I also have a client facing this and wonder whether a correction request letter to Albany is our only option. My client's PUA application has been denied but he is still awaiting a determination of his UI application.
—-

Newer answer
: please consider utilizing the liaison program referenced herein to resolve issues of this kind and expedite the process. Otherwise see other answers below.
Answers (apply to both questions)
Further Information on Resolving (From UI Handbook- Online, Phone)
Portal Resolution (worked for at LEAST one client; click arrow to collapse)

Follow up q re: mistakes on applications for PUA

Would the process be the same for an error on the PUA?

Also, if a client is able to reapply for normal UI, and then is again denied, will that restart the process for applying for PUA? I'm just wondering if that process would be quicker than trying to get someone on the phone or wait for a message to correct an application.

Answer :
The process for correcting PUA mistakes seems similar although the DOL has updated the website and phone system to better serve the separate types of claims.
Additionally, please consider using the above referenced liaison process to expedite unresolved claims.

Incorrect SSN entered by employer

Question

I also have a situation in which there was an error in the claimant's application (the employer put the wrong Social Security number on the claimant's W-2), resulting in the denial of benefits. Does anyone know whether there is a mechanism for requesting correction of simple errors of this kind and for following up on the resolution of the problem without filing a request for a hearing and waiting for a hearing to be conducted and decided?

Answer 1
Answer 2
Answer 3

Required to send more information


Proof of authorization to work in USA
Q

I have been out of work since March 14th. After a week of trying to fill out claim forms I was able to do it. It was accepted but keeps telling me it's pending. Last week i received the $600.00 but this week I didn't get it.

I received a letter in the mail that they need documentation of authorization the work in the U.S.A. They gave me a list of things that are acceptable proof of employment authorization. Some of them are

Certificate of U.S Citizenship (INS Form N560,Certificate of Naturalization INS form 550, permanent or temporary resident card, and a whole lot more.

I do not have anything that they are asking me for because I was born in the U.S. and have never left this country.

I sent them a letter with my birth certificate, my marriage license, driving license and my social security cards, one in my maiden name and one in my married name.

Has anyone else had a problem like this?

Answer: in the particular situation above, it appears that likely the claimant was asked for that information in error. This could likely be rectified with a conversation with a DOL agent.

**In general when the DOL requests further information, claimants should send it immediately with a return receipt requested and get in contact with the DOL if they’re unclear or don’t have any of the items requested to avoid issues with their claims.**

Questions about clients with incomplete claims who can’t reach claims office

Question:
Does anyone have a client who completed and submitted their claim and got a note back stating that their claim is not complete and to call the Claims office--and of course no one answers after multiple tries! Any advice how to move this claim forward?

Info on changes to the DOL phone system

Newer Answer:
We have been advised by our contacts at the DOL that wait-times should no longer generally be this long and are usually 5-10 minutes (although claimants still sometimes report long wait times). Additionally, changes have been made to the DOL’s phone systems allowing claimants to choose specific categories based on the reason for their calls/ issue with their claims.

For example, claimants are able to select whether they’re calling about a UI claim or a PUA claim and to select other details to help them get though to someone best equipped to help with their particular issues.

Claimants may also specify if their call is about backpay to separate their phone call from claimants calling who have yet to receive a determination on their claims or any payments.

*attorneys with clients still experiencing long wait times and not getting through should consider using the liaison program mentioned above to expedite the process!*

Other Answer:
Keep calling. It may take an hour but they do pick up

Denial: 2 jobs- 1 full time temporary position & a part time bartender position

Q

One of my clients was working a full time 6 month temp job and a part time bartending job. Temp job ended in December 2019. He was fired from his bartending position in February though he claims it was a wrongful termination. He can not find another job now due to COVID so he filed for unemployment and was denied based on his termination from the part time bartending job.

He has filed for a hearing and is waiting for a hearing date. Did DOL use his part time job as the deciding factor because the other one was temporary? Considering he did not lose either job to COVID but cannot find a new one due to COVID (and claims he was wrongfully terminated from the PT job anyway) is there anything he can do other than wait for a hearing date?
Answer
s

Hearings usually needed to resolve employer/ employee conflict as to the reason for termination

It is likely this claimant would have to wait for the hearing to resolve the issue between him and his employer on whether it was a wrongful termination.

Temporary positions generally can be used when determining eligibility for unemployment benefits.

However, temporary positions, unless specifically identified as an exception in the claimant handbook, can still be used when determining if a claimant is eligible for benefits. In the instance above, even if the claimant was not eligible for PUA because the job losses were unrelated to COVID, depending on the income from the temporary position, he may: 1) be eligible for regular unemployment benefits or 2) be eligible for PUA if his income from that job is insufficient to qualify for unemployment benefits.

Receiving minimum amount because included small W2 salary instead of higher 1099


Question

If someone is receiving unemployment due to covid termination and included their (small) W2 salary so is only receiving the minimum NYS unemployment amount. But they also had received 1099 income (this contractor role also ended due to covid), can they somehow add that 1099 income amount to get a higher weekly amount? How would they do this?

—-
Answer

There is a place on the form to report independent contractor income when they apply. They will be asked for copies of their Schedule C to prove income.

Client Left The Country but Didn’t Misrepresent and is now being denied benefits (awaiting answer)


1. I have a client who applied for unemployment in December. She lost her job as a restaurant manager at that time. She left the country to visit her father from January 5 through March 3. The unemployment insurance told her she did not read the handbook and willfully misrepresented herself that she was ready, willing and able to work when she cannot apply unless she is in the US or US territory.. She just got paid basically from April to present, but was penalized for her March payments. She did not willfully misrepresent as she did not have someone put claims in for her, nor did she lie to them about leaving the country when she asked. She could put her claims in because she was blocked due to being in a foreign country. She did not know about that. Nothing was willful.

We can't get through unemployment to straighten it out. In addition she was trying to get employment in NY while overseas. However, that fell through because the restaurant closed due to Corona.

Questions: Should I call her Assemblyman or write or email DOL. How will I get the fastest response to explain she did not willfully misrepresent.

Is she entitled to PUA because despite the past, she cannot obtain a restaurant manager's position since all the restaurants were closed?

Rejected due to severance


Q

Client, a 67 year old man was terminated on January 7. However, when he applied for unemployment they took into account his 3 months severance and sick and vacation days and told him he not eligible until April 12. He started to put claims in and is getting rejected. Again I cannot reach anybody to discuss this. Unemployment put him off 3 months due to the severance, otherwise he would have been collecting. Also, he was unable to find a job prior to the virus and certainly cannot find one now. He is in sales but his industry is person to person, not internet sales.

Same Questions: How can I get through to unemployment and is he entitled to PUA since he certainly cannot get a job at this time due to the virus even though his termination had nothing to do with it. Similar to the client above.

Any advice would help. Thank you.

A

File an appeal immediately.

Set up direct deposit but system says first payment is through debit card; person does not have the card or understand why they need one

Question

Anyone ever filed and put in for direct deposit then notice your first payment says debit card?? Haven’t received a debit card and put in for direct deposit? Double checked my routing and account numbers even did so with bank

Answer
Yes. Call key bank from which debit card originates. Automated message says can take up to 21 days to be mailed. Let’s see if that’s true.

To expedite receipt of debit card

Information


Correcting application error

Information

Answer


Late (but not passed deadline) filing

Filed over a month after losing job, got $ for the week of filing and wants to know if there will be back payment

Question

My employer closed their doors on March 14th. I didn’t file unemployment until April 21st. Do I lose all those 5 weeks I didn’t file? I’m in the unemployment system for week 3/15/20 as a waiting period. Then I was paid for week ending April 26, 2020 and May 3, 2020.


Answer 1
Yes
Answer 2
if you don’t claim (certify) your weekly benefits you may not get unemployment. This is different. If you filed you will receive it all

“Late payments”

(
status says “released” but money not in accounts)

Question

Has anyone had issues with late payments? The unemployment website shows that a payment was released today, but when checking my bank account ... it's not there

Answer

After seeing the status of “released,” it may take two to three days to show up in accounts.

Client denied rightfully- would have been eligible if he filed later

Questions regarding clients who filed during the quarter they lost their job (so still worked and received a paycheck during that quarter) and were denied because they didn't meet the criteria of the base period or alternate period applicable to when they applied. However, they would have been eligible had they applied after the end of that quarter. The detailed question, below, is collapsible/ expandable since it's long.

Specific Question

Answer (click arrow to expand)

Question about paying back PPP loans:

Question:
I client of mine wishes to know if they apply for the loans if they have to pay it call back because she is worried about her rates going up.

Answers (1 and 2) (click arrow to expand)

Overpayment penalties

Question

I have a situation with a client in which he says he is penalized because he was overpaid and says he owes $2,700. He was a stage hand and worked in four different states. He was hired though the IATSE Union and mostly worked at Nassau Coliseum. He says he has to take money out of retirement and hopes to receive money by July. Please advise.
Answer/Information

——

Client's Claim is Pending & Client is Returning to Work

Question:
One of my clients is returning to work, but his PUA application is still pending and he has not received any benefits since his claim on 3/9. He is no longer certifying, but will he be eligible to receive back benefits if later approved?

Answer:

Under What's Next, it states that "any claim you file will be backdated to the date you became unemployed. If you are eligible, you will be paid for all benefits due."

Backpay


Backpay when client is returning to work


Q: I have been called back to work but am missing some of my unemployment payments. Will I still receive them?
A: New Yorkers who are going back to work WILL receive all the benefits they are entitled to for the weeks that they were unemployed.


Change in effective days


Q: Why have my claim’s effective days changed?

A: Once your claim becomes payable, you may see fewer effective days. This means you are being paid for those days and will soon see this change reflected via the funds in your bank account or debit card.

UI denied to claimant outside US


Question: My client received a letter denying UI citing Sec. 596.4 (she didn't register at a local state employment office because she was in the UK). Are exceptions being made to this requirement because of the pandemic? Also, are people receiving PUA after receiving such denial letters?

Answer: The DOL takes the position that the applicant can't be ready able and willing to work if they are located outside of the US.

Regular and pandemic applications


Multiple applications submitted
Q
I spoke to my client today. She said she submitted two applications on line. One for regular unemployment insurance the other for unemployment insurance due to the pandemic. She is unable to see her application on line for the regular unemployment insurance. She had submitted it twice thinking there was an error in transmittal. She received a message that her submission was complete. She was also told her application was incomplete and that an agent would contact her. I am not familiar with how to apply for unemployment insurance. I forwarded her all the suggestions I read on this thread and she has done them all with no response. She even contacted her local leaders. Does anyone have any other suggestions?
For the pandemic unemployment assistance (PUA) she said she can see her submitted application. It has been submitted but no further response has been received by her. In my opinion, she just has to wait for them to review it and get back to her since she did not receive any communication that it was rejected. Does that make sense?
Thank you,

Follow up Question + Info :

Information regarding applying for both UI and PUA;

Denied UI then applied for PUA

Question/ Info

My client had the same problem: she applied for PUA on April 21 after having been denied regular UI benefits. She got worried once promised 72 hours promised for the callback ran out. I explained to her that currently everything is significantly delayed. Today, however, she finally received a callback.

Also, it seems like if the waiting time gets unbearably long, it may sense to try to "speed up" DOL by either contacting the Congressman or the office of Cuomo in Albany. There is a positive feedback about cases being resolved shortly after.

Answers as to old and New System:

**OLD SYSTEM** Must file for UI even if not eligible to get pandemic insurance
** THIS HAS BEEN UPDATED**


New system : one form for PUA AND UI (how it should currently work)

Example Scenarios and What to Expect


Company reopening client has underlying condition


Question

I need guidance on a client currently receiving unemployment benefits who has been informed that her employer (catering hall) has received a PPE loan and wants to reinstate her. She has an underlying condition (MD note documenting MS) and would not be able to work during the pandemic. She would prefer to continue to receive unemployment benefits. Can she refuse her employer offer and continue to receive unemployment benefits (given that she has an underlying medical condition)? Please advise.

Answer

DOL determined client quit and this denied UI


Question

I'll try and succinctly summarize my client's fact pattern. My client was working as a cook in a restaurant for 2 years when in early March he was suspended for 1 week. My client applied for UI the next day. After he returned to work on March 9th he told his supervisor that he was giving his notice that he would work for 1 more week as he had accepted a new job at another restaurant starting March 18th. He finished work on the 9th and his employer told him not to return to work. Then the Covid restrictions hit in full force and the new job he was due to start on March 18th was withdrawn. He continued to make his weekly certifications when he learned on March 24th that his application for UI was denied as his employer asserted that he quit on March 9th. My client has informed me that due to the crashed DOL website that he never received the message that he needed to respond to the employer's assertion by March 20th. My client appealed the March 24th denial determination. He then applied for PUA, and his application is pending. Any thoughts on how to proceed?

——
Answer



——

Out of state / interstate

Question

I spoke to my client who said she worked in NY in 2019, left that job in August 2019 then moved to LA and had a job offer to start just when the pandemic hit. So job was put on hold. She applied for PUA in California and was denied bc her prior work was in NY. She then applied in NY but hasn’t been notified of anything. Anyone familiar with this type of situation? Thanks
—-
Answer


My client worked NY for 9 years all for the same employer. On February 1, 2020 she was transferred to Maryland by the same employer. On March 25, 2020 she was furloughed. Maryland requires claimants to have worked in the state for 18 months so she is ineligible in that state. Anyone have an idea how to handle the claim. Does she apply for PUA since she ineligible for state benefits. As I understand it if you are ineligible PUA kicks in and gives the claimant the 39 weeks plus the $600.
—-

Answer 1/ Information


Question (follow up)

She still lives in Maryland so she hasn't applied to NY yet. Does it make sense that she should despite her out of state residency .
——
Answer 2


------------------------------
Answer 3

As I understand it would be a no no to try to certify from out of state. At least that was my take from the CARES Unemployment NYSBA course I took a couple of weeks ago.


Question (similar situation)

She was denied in California. Then applied in NY. Has heard nothing for weeks. Her California application is somehow screwing up the NY application somehow

Answer 4

You can certify from out state if you live there.


Clarity : UI, PUA, PEUC (federal)


PUA replaces normal UI if you are not eligible. The $600 is not PUA. It's the federal assistance (FPUC) that anyone who is collecting UI or PUA will get.

Clarification knop. ley ct -Egalit FOR WORKE Open with.png


Various reports $600 payment on the 24th of April

(Some are under the impression this was a one time payment)

you would get the PUA app sent to you if you didn’t qualify for UI
You also wouldn’t get any letters of denial UI untill they actually start processing the Claim.
The $600 on 24th is not one time I believe it’s your first PUC since the money is Federal they are ahead of the game and slow NY is processing it for the Feds, it means your getting approved for something and they are just working it all out

Further Clarity : PUA, UI and and the $600 payment.


Useful for PUA questions and the interaction among PUA, UI and and the $600 payment.

Unemployment Insurance Benefits: FAQ From The New York State Department of Labor | NY State Senate



Message from unemployment site RE payments, effective days, what to do if it says released and no money is received after 3 days


message from DOL Official Record of Benefit Payment History.png

Sample release with payments


sample was released and the funds are not in your.png


Questions about applying for PUA once Denied UI:

Question:
I just received a matter and the individual was found ineligible for regular New York state Unemployment Insurance. She applied for the PUA and has not received a determination. She has no hearings requested or scheduled. Do I review the denial from the NYS DOL and go for there?

Answer:
The individual is not able to apply for PUA benefits unless s/he was denied the regular UI benefits. So at the moment your client is on the right track. However, if the waiting time for the PUA determination is too long, your client may consider contacting DOL by internal message from the DOL website or write the physical letter. You can also write one on the client's behalf to support his/her case.

**

What we can do on behalf of client/ hearings


Q
My question is can I request the hearing for my client or does the client have to initiate the request?
Q

And in this regard, can the attorney call on behalf of the client or should we suggest clients try themselves? The thing is that we won't be able to call without knowing the client's SSN and PIN, so I guess I kind of answered my own question...

------------------------------
A
I took a look at the claimant request for a hearing form and it looks like it must be signed by the claimant but I see no reason why you would not be able to assist in completing it. I would send a cover letter stating that you are representing the claimant. Anyone disagree

**

Tax info relating to UI


I am aware that there are more pressing issues that newly unemployed people have right now, but all should be aware that claimants will have to pay both federal and New York State tax on their unemployment benefits. Therefore, it's important that claimants understand their options for withholding tax when they are approved for benefits.

Options for Withholding Tax Upon being Approved For Benefits:



Out of state / interstate Requirements re tax


Non resident tax Information (IMPORTANT)


Reconsideration / 30 day window

Q
Anyone encounter a determination letter noting disqualification for benefits based on insufficient funds from base period/alternate base periods calculations? I'm working to get backup of all wages received from 10/1/18- 3/31/2020 but have a logistical question.

I see an option to file a request for reconsideration included in the determination letter but that requires the form to be submitted within 30 days from the claim mail date (3/30/2020). If the request for reconsideration is not timely filed what then-- does the individual have to refile a claim for unemployment, does the date not really matter given all these delays with post office/unemployment services or is the individual barred from trying to fix?

Answer: Recently I saw the DOL has been advising that claimants send in the needed information anyway and make sure to note what day they received the determination vs. the date on the determination.

Another Answer is available on the video subpage; see the reconsideration video. well as the affidavit video for information on this topic.

Where client accidentally left freelance income off application:

Info about requirements to qualify for benefits

Question:
My pro bono client received her Monetary Benefit Determination notice a week ago. She has been denied UI benefits because she earned approximately $2367 in her high earnings quarter period and has applied for PUA and has also been denied benefits there. She made this amount in her Alternate Base Period--10/1/19 to 12/31/19.

If my client also worked freelance selling cosmetic products on ebay during the above
10/1
/19--12/31/19 period but failed to include it as part of her income on her recent application, should she (i) ask for a hearing before an ALJ; (ii) file the "Request for Alternate Base Period" form; or (iii) file the "Request for Reconsideration" form. The amount of income she earned in this quarter will bring her total high quarter earnings for the time period 10-1-19 to 12-31-19 above the $2,600 threshold--in which case I believe she would be able to collect unemployment benefits under the PUA and PUC.

I am just not sure which of the alternative ways above she should seek a reapplication for benefits.

Answer/ info regarding requirements to qualify for benefits:


Disqualified monetary benefit determination

Q
I have a similar issue with one of my client except that he was receiving workman's comp for some of the base period.

Follow up Question and Answer 1


—--
Answer 2


Gig workers / PUA eligibility /Cares

Case Law As to Gig Workers


Decided March 26, 2020.

Info

Case law


In re Vega Decision


Independent Contractor Eligibility Information

Information


Cares eligibility


Question

Are people ineligible for all CARES Act assistance if they have filed taxes jointly with an undocumented taxpayer?
Thank you for any help.
—-
Answer 1 (re: stimulus and tax filing information)



Answer 2 (getting cases flagged)


helping with basics to move case along -

Suggestions:

Yes, indeed, it is just being there for the clients and holding their hands, so to speak, as the legal community attempts to work it through.
None of us have the answers but the very fact that we have bonded together will make a difference.
We can do the law but also can direct those affected by unemployment to places where they can get food and medical help, free of charge.

Suggestion of reaching out to elected officials if clients need assistance in obtaining the basic minimum of survival such as food until the unemployment benefits kick in.

**

PUA denial form / eligibility


Question

Anyone know if there is a special PUA denial appeal form? I have multiple clients who need to appeal the denial but don’t know how.

Answer 1

The only PUI denial letter I have seen had attached to it the regular Reconsideration form. Perhaps your clients received that attachment and did not notice
Answer 2

From the Empire Justice Center, which is on the frontline of assisting all in the UI area these comments:

Q. Who does not qualify for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance?

Persons who quit work simply to obtain PUA, individuals who can telework (work remotely) with pay, and individuals who are receiving paid sick leave or other paid leave benefits (even if they otherwise qualify for PUA) are not eligible.

Q. What should I do if I am denied PUA benefits?

We don't know much about the PUA appeals process yet. We will update this document as soon as more information is available.

**

PUA/ mistake/ CARES (approved for PUA then denied because of application mistake, then appears to have received $600 via cares)


Question

I have a client who was approved for PUA, made an error in completing a certification form and then told she was not eligible. She has already filed for a hearing and we are taking the steps suggested by everyone in this forum . The issue here is she received today a payment of $600 which looks like the increased payment under the CARES Act despite that as of now she is ineligible due to the error. I am not sure what she should do with the $600.

Thanks
--

Answer 1



Answer 2

This may answer some questions.


—-
Follow up to above link:

Thank you for circulating this article. Very helpful. My issue is slightly different though since the client was approved for PUA, subsequently made an error in a certification and after being deemed eligible was deemed ineligible. So at this point she has been told (even though it is a mistake) that she is ineligible. Which I sent why I felt compelled to tell her to not cash the $600 check.

——
Answer 3

Maximum PUA benefit


$600 is not a PUA benefit, the maximum PUA benefit is $504. So she probably received the $600 mystery payment. Did it come in 2 fridays ago? PUA claimants also reporting on facebook they got another $600 yesterday too.
—-

Response to above:


Clarifying Information Regarding the Above:

I think there is confusion by the alphabet soup. The CARES Act added many provisions, not just the extra $600 per week on top. It also created PUA and PUEC.

Detailed Explanation
——
A (to above)

Thanks. I Agree. But it appears that under the CARES Act the payment of the $600 dollars is contingent on being deemed eligible to receive the $600 boost. So, since she is not eligible for PUA , she should not spend the money.

——

Q (follow up to above)

Is she truly not eligible or did she make a mistake and that's what caused the ineligibility? It's really really hard not to be eligible for PUA the only circumstances I know of is if you are being paid to telework, you are collecting paid family medical leave, or if you are using vacation, sick or other PTO.

——

A (clarifying info to follow up)

She made a mistake in certification after being deemed eligible and so then was deemed ineligible. My concern is that as a matter of law, she has been told she is not eligible. I am concerned that any use of the funds could boomerang, particularly based on all of the seeming confusion everywhere and the workloads the DOL employees are dealing with.
—-

Correction needed to income but received 600/
Denied UI received probable fed $600


Q

Hello, has anyone else ran into this? My client filed weeks ago and was denied (long story short she needs to correct her income) but today she received a 600 deposit (which I am assuming is the PUA award)


Q


I heard of a similar situation where party applied and although not declined, did receive a probable PUA prior to notification of action on their application.

——

Q

Same thing happened with my client. Was denied benefits and apparently ineligible to receive PUA, then received a debit card in the mail last week and $600 was loaded onto it. I'm still navigating this and what this means but I also assume this is the PUA award.


—-
Answer

It can't be PUA because the maximum benefit is $504 before tax.

But the Dept of Labor issued a statement on the "mystery" $600 people got two Fridays ago.



Client quit job for health reasons

Q

My client was previously receiving UI benefits, but found employment, so she stopped certifying. She got sick right after beginning the new job and her doctor and a DOL rep. told her to quit. The doctor wrote a note to this effect, which she gave to her employer and she quit. She told me she's been certifying weekly since she quit, but has not heard anything from the DOL, and has therefore been without payment since the middle of April. Like many others, she can't get through to the DOL to find out what's happening with her UI benefits. I am considering advising her to apply for PUA. Would this be advisable?

A

Yes, she should apply for both at the same time.

Clarification for telework question on UI application


While applying for unemployment benefits, you will be asked about telework. If your employer has offered you the opportunity to telework your normal hours during the pandemic, you should answer YES. If your employer has NOT offered you the option to telework you should answer NO.

Info re: Minimum Income Requirements for UI & PUA

Expand for Info

Minimum Days worked to Qualify for UI

The amount of days worked has to be less than three. They go by how many days your work. If you work one day and get 500 Dollars you get 75% of your benefits. But if you work two days and earn 500 you get 50%. And three days and earn 500 you get 25%.

Meaning of “Submission Complete” Page

If you receive an email linking to a page that says, "Submission Confirmed," you've answered all our questions and your application has been submitted.

We’ll call if we need any additional information. Otherwise, you will get an email, text or letter when your claim is complete.

PUA Calculation


The CARES Act makes PUA the same amount as under UI, except for the higher minimum.

Click here for detailed information
:

How is PUA impacted by partial unemployment?

Answer (Click arrow to expand)


Is income counted on the day claimant worked or the day claimant was paid?


Claimant wants to know whether earned income during a work week is considered "earned" on the day claimant worked or on the day claimant is actually paid for the work?

Answer: This goes by the day the work was performed, not the day of the actual payment.

Click the arrow to the left for further detail on this information and citations for the same:
For purposes of calculating wages earned prior to filing a claim, wages are deemed earned when liability for remuneration is unconditionally established, not when wages are ultimately paid.


Partial unemployment


If a UI claimant loses their W2 work due to COVID, qualifies for unemployment, and 6 weeks later gets occasional work a day or 2 a week, and certifies that they worked 1-2 days (as applicable), how does it work? I believe they only get 50-75% of weekly payment, but will they still get the $600 pandemic payment, or a portion?

Answer (Click the arrow to the left to expand!)

Overdue / pre-claim wages


Question: If a claimant is paid OVERDUE back pay for work performed BEFORE they applied for UI and they finally receive it while on UI, do they have to report it when certifying? I would think not, since this is for overdue fees, not severance payments or current fees, but welcome comments as I am unfamiliar with UI law.

Answer
No; work for the purposes of unemployment certification is counted the day the work is performed, irrespective of when/ if payment is received.


Admin matters

Q

Hello all,
I'm first time volunteering and just received one case. Can anyone give me quick input below administrative matters? Highly appreciated.
Liability/malpractice insurance – Covered by NYSBA, correct?
Client engagement letter – No need? I recall earlier email saying its not needed for pro bono.
Email communication with client – Should typical disclaimer about privilege, etc. be displayed? Is there any concern receiving PDF etc. over gmail?
A

Liability Insurance - Yes
.

Retainer Agreement
- Technically not required under the Rules of Professional Conduct. But is strongly advisable. At minimum, you want to outline to scope of your representation. Helping a client with an administrative hearing is one thing, but I am not sure how many non-litigation lawyers will be comfortable with an Art. 78 in the Third Department. That should be outlined.

Malpractice insurance info and retainer


Volunteers are covered through malpractice insurance provided by NYSBA.

There is a template letter of engagement in the online community - please let me know if you have issues accessing it.
**

Client documents


Q

Have others been able to obtain files of documents in their cases? I wrote to the person who assigned mine, and he said none were available, that you have to get them from the client. But my clients don't have them, having done it all online, and in any event don't have the capacity to copy and/or scan them to send to me. Kind of hard to be flying blind. Advice?
A

For my client who (1) filed her documents online for UI , rwas (2) rejected for UI , (3) then awarded PUA and (4) then found ineligible for PUA when she submitted a certification, there was a section of an online document that asked if she wanted a hearing. It was two paragraphs. I am still researching this issue.

Q/A

How does the attorney access the the client's online materials, which under the rules typically requires the client to be physically present with the attorney?
?

I assume/hope someone has already sought guidance on how to handle this in the pandemic, but not sure where the answer lies.

A

Have you considered asking your client to take screenshots (if they have access to a computer or laptop) or take pictures (if they have a smart phone) and emailing it to you?
—-
A

I just got off phone with Clio. I was told that for the matters we currently have we have to manually upload any documents and create the contact, etc. going forward, Clio does it.
If that helps anyone

**


Security info/ personal ID info

Q.

Someone raised this earlier I think. I am concerned about the security of our email communications with clients in terms of protecting SSNs and other private info. Thoughts?

A.

Clio also has a “secure” message feature (as much as anything can be secure nowadays). I’ve just started using the Clio program and the client has to set up an free access account, but you can “securely” transmit/receive messages and docs with clients.
————
A

Another good suggestion was including a disclaimer regarding privacy (standard type of thing that attorneys generally include anyway).
—-
A

One way to solve the privacy issue is to use a secure encrypted web server for client communications. While there are plenty of commercial services available Mozella also offers a free service, known as FireFox Send:

If you sign up for a free account the size of the files you can send and receive are larger, but you can use it without signing up for a free account.

There is also a commercial service called lockbin; the person who made the suggestion in this answer prefers FireFox Send.

** More to come later**
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