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.
** 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
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
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
The New York State Department of Labor today announced that payments for the Lost Wages Assistance (LWA) program, which provides an additional $300 in weekly benefits to unemployed New Yorkers, will begin next week. Up to 2.4 million New Yorkers are eligible for the program, including 435,000 who must submit an additional certification to qualify
During the pandemic emergency, New York State has paid $43.7 billion in unemployment benefits to 3.5 million New Yorkers, representing over 20 typical years’ worth of benefits paid in just six months.
Throughout this crisis, states’ unemployment systems have been pushed to the limit and constantly-changing federal guidance — including this haphazard Presidential executive order — have only delayed our efforts to get benefits to New Yorkers in need. But we have worked day and night to stand up this program, and millions of New Yorkers will see payments next week,” Commissioner Roberta Reardon said. “We are emailing all New Yorkers who are receiving benefits to inform them of their status and, if needed, provide information about certifying for the Lost Wages Assistance program. All New Yorkers should keep an eye out for these messages and, if an additional certification is required, respond immediately.”
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has released funding for the first three weeks of LWA benefits to New York State, covering the benefit weeks ending August 2nd, August 9th, and August 16th. The DOL estimates that up to 2.4 million New Yorkers may be eligible for the benefits from those weeks, including recipients of both traditional unemployment insurance (UI) and Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA). Approximately 2 million New Yorkers are pre-qualified and will receive payments starting next week. The remainder — roughly 435,000 New Yorkers — must submit an additional certification to qualify.
Of the estimated 2.4 million New Yorkers who may be eligible: (CLICK ARROW TO EXPAND!!)
Approximately 2 million are already qualified for the LWA program because they indicated on their initial benefit application that their unemployment was connected to the COVID-19 pandemic. These claimants: **CLICK ARROW TO EXPAND**
Do not need to take any further action;
Will receive LWA payments starting next week; and
Will receive an email and text message from DOL informing them they have pre-qualified for LWA.
Roughly 435,000 need to submit an additional certification confirming that their unemployment is related to COVID-19 to qualify for LWA benefits, as required by the federal government. These claimants: (CLICK ARROW TO EXPAND!!)
starting Friday, September 11th
either online or via phone:
Online: claimants will receive a secure DocuSign email from the DOL
on September 11th
, with a link to certify for LWA benefits
Phone: claimants can call
to certify via an automated phone system
Will receive payments starting next week if their certification is submitted by
5pm on September 15th
— after that, payments will be released on a rolling basis.
Eligible New Yorkers will receive LWA payments of $300 per week for the weeks ending August 2nd, 9th, and 16th. Under federal rules, New York State may be eligible for additional weeks of LWA funding.
According to FEMA, funding for the LWA program will continue until any of the following occur: (CLICK ARROW TO EXPAND!!)
1. The federal Disaster Relief Fund balance falls below $25 billion
2. The $44 billion set aside for the LWA program is depleted;
3. Congress enacts a replacement unemployment relief program; OR
4. If none of the above scenarios occur
before December 27, 2020
, funding will terminate on that date.
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.
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.**
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?
Have Patience. DOL is getting through their backlog. (See twitter)
Have you checked your mail? The mail is really important.
Have you been answering your phone? UI will call from a
r" (make sure not to ignore it!). Answer your phone! Yes, they call on Sundays, so answer your phone!
Has your employer received their notice of claims? (Obviously only works if your employer is still working and available.)
Possibly contacting state legislators.
call DOL on client's behalf.
2. My client made a mistake on the application. What should I advise?
(Click arrow for two options)
Client should use the UI app's messaging system - this may result in a suggestion to call. Unfortunately, this seems to be the scenario in which calling is necessary.
Alternative: Send a letter to the NYSDOL at :NYS Department of Labor,
PO BOX 15130, Albany, NY 12212-5130
3. My client applied for both PUA and UI (before app was streamlined) and hasn't heard back.
I think this is in the patience category as well. These will be more difficult for UI staff to sort and I expect they will take some time on these confused applications.
4. My client was denied and I need to request a hearing.
Let or help the client apply for themselves and you can help with the hearing when it happens. The NYSDOL notice of decision has a form on the back for requesting a hearing.
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?
6. My client used to work in NY, moved elsewhere, started a new job and then The Closing started. What do I advise?
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
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.
–To be eligible for EB, you must first exhaust all 26 weeks of traditional UI and all 13 weeks of PEUC benefits and continue to be unemployed.
–Alternatively, if your benefit year for UI expired after July 1, 2019, and you received 13 weeks of PEUC, you may be eligible for EB.
–New Yorkers who qualify for these programs do not have to reapply – just continue to certify weekly.
–If your benefit year has expired, you must file a new claim. The system will advise you if you are in this situation.
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)
Department of Labor announced emergency measures to ensure unemployed New Yorkers who have been assessed forfeiture day penalties will receive benefits during the COVID-19 pandemic. These actions, which suspend forfeiture days for the duration of the pandemic emergency, will allow more unemployed New Yorkers to receive financial support during this unprecedented crisis.
The Department of Labor is announcing emergency actions to provide relief for New Yorkers who have been assessed “forfeiture day” penalties, which, under Federal and New York State law, prevent individuals who knowingly claimed more unemployment benefits than they are eligible for from receiving future benefits for a specified number of days. For every four forfeiture days someone is assessed, that person must forfeit a week of future unemployment benefits.
Recognizing that many New Yorkers currently unemployed because of the COVID-19 pandemic lost their jobs through no fault of their own and have limited options to find employment, the Department of Labor is providing immediate relief by suspending forfeiture days during the pandemic emergency. This will help more New Yorkers receive the financial support they need during this crisis.
Unemployed New Yorkers with forfeiture days on their accounts have already begun receiving the $600 weekly Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation payments. In addition, individuals with forfeiture days will now receive the traditional unemployment insurance (UI) or Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) benefits they would otherwise be eligible for. These payments will begin in approximately two weeks and will include back pay through [May 13, 2020]. Those with other flags on their accounts, including child support payments and offset payments to reimburse the state for benefits they improperly received, will see payments reduced to continue to re-pay amounts owed.
Before the May 13 press release (info applies prior to May 13)
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)
- 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
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.
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)
: (Click arrow to expand)
NYC Legal Aid staff reported that the NYS DOL is currently requiring applicants to pay back past debts before receiving regular UI AND taking half, $300, of the $600 per week extra FPUC. As of July 2020 it is confirmed that deductions like these have been made from claimants who owe child support (50% deductions from the federal $600 payments along with higher deductions from regular UI and PUA payments.
Benefit hearings restarted in May 2020, though there is a backlog of thousands of cases. Claimants appealing a DOL determination cannot receive benefits until an ALJ rules on the case. The recommendation for clients is to keep certifying for benefits each week; same for people who haven't received a determination yet.
Bank card with 0
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?
Generally the claimant has to call Key Bank to activate the card – did your client already do that?
with the Department of Labor, you should receive your debit card in the third week of your claim. If there are any issues on your claim, it may take longer.
For security reasons, you will receive your debit card in a plain white envelope. Please watch for it in the mail.
Do not throw it away
(even if you sign up for direct deposit).
When you receive your card, call KeyBank Customer Service at (866) 295-2955 to activate it.
Card came with 0; person is eligible for UI as well then got one time payment of $600 but still no UI
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 )
See above--must contact Key Bank to activate payments. I watched a news reporter do a question and answer thing with unemployment and she said that the people who randomly got $600 got it as money to hold you over. It wasn’t your unemployment payment or the extra $600. They possibly didn’t even get your claim done yet. But the reporter said that it’s good news because they have your information and they’ll be getting you your money shortly.
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?
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.
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.
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.
This has been a huge problem. I've spoken with at least 10 people (not NYSBA pro bono related) who have answered this question wrong thinking that since their place of business is closed they aren't ready able and willing to work.
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?
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.
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.
: 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)
I haven't seen a quicker way. There was a thought that you could do it through email in the portal, but when clients have tried to do that they get a message to call DOL or write a letter.
I understand that this was unprecedented, but we could have been so much more useful to assist people in the actual filing of the claims. I've come across at least 15 people who were trapped by the "willing and able to work" because they answered no because of COVID
Further Information on Resolving (From UI Handbook- Online, Phone)
According to the UI Handbook, if the client made an error on the application:
Online: Go to
. Enter your
username and password. Click on the envelope icon at the top right corner of the page. This will bring you to your message inbox. Click on the menu button (the square with three lines). Select "Compose New." Select Subject: "Certifications and Payments." Select Second Subject: "I made a mistake when I certified for benefits. How do I correct it?" In the body of the message, explain the mistake.
Telephone: Call Telephone Claims Center
Portal Resolution (worked for at LEAST one client; click arrow to collapse)
My client just got a very quick resolution of his mistaken answering of a question about eligibility for PUA. He sent an email on the portal with the subject line as "Eligibility for Benefits." In the text, he stated he misunderstood the question (which is "Are you able to telework with pay for the same hours of your customary job?") and answered "Yes" instead of "No." He received a call from the Department of Labor the next day, and was able to file his PUA claim.
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.
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
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?
If the claimant doesn't have the card he/she can request one from the SSA. Also his former employer if willing should issue a corrected W-2.
There's no mechanism to do it online, which is absurd. Once the application is submitted, there is no way to revise it.
I think it can be done by talking to a specialist over the phone who can change it manually
, they may ask for a SS card to be faxed or emailed to them through the portal.
Calling the DOL right now is nothing short of a nightmare. People wait on hold for hours and use auto dialers to call up to 5,000 times per day to try and reach someone.
Calling governor office first
I have seen people report that calling the Governor's office first and then they get connected to a claims specialist that way.
A great resource for information for seeing what people are dealing with,
as depressing as it is, is the Facebook group HELP US - NYS Unemployment Issues.
As practitioners, we can learn a lot from seeing what other people post about their experience with the DOL.
It's been getting a little bit better lately with some PUA applicants finally getting money but there are still hoards and hoards of people in pending purgatory for 7 weeks
Required to send more information
Proof of authorization to work in USA
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
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
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!*
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
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?
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
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?
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
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.
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
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
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
You can call keybank customer service and have them expedite you a card via ups. Tell them you never received the first one. They’ll charge $15 from the money thats on the card and you can have it in 2-3 days.
I have seen advice that if you reach an automated system, to select "lost or stolen" card to get to speak with a person
Correcting application error
Possibly reporting app mistakes via email based on
page V: To report a mistake you made when claiming weekly benefits
: Go to
. Enter your
username and password. Click on the envelope icon at the top right corner of the page. This will bring you to your message inbox.
Click on the menu button (the square with three lines). Select "Compose New."
Select Subject: "Certifications and Payments." Select Second Subject: "I made a mistake when I certified for benefits. How do I correct it?" In the body of the message, explain the mistake.
: Call our Telephone Claims Center Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at
888-209-8124. Interpreters are available for most languages; press 9 for an interpreter.
When I log in and try to make a correction on the website, get this message:
If you made a mistake when claiming benefits, you should notify the Telephone Claims Center by calling 1-888-209-8124 or by writing to the NYS Department of Labor, PO Box 15130, Albany, NY 12212-5130.
In the current climate, I would be include to send a hard copy
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
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.
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
status says “released” but money not in accounts)
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
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.
The below are my client's quarterly earnings as a reference because I am trying to determine what, if any, options my client has here. He filed on March 9, 2020 though still had employment during that quarter until around the 15th of March (he received a pay check for the period of March 9- March 15; I imagine since he filed on March 9, that was when he lost his job and the 15th was the final check. His wording was "I have been out of work since March 15th, but I don't imagine he would file before losing his job...). Based on filing then, the base period was from October 1, 2018 through September 30, 2019. There is no question as to a denial based on the base period; he didn't make either threshold; no quarter was above $2600 and the total was not at least 1.5 x the highest quarter. For the alternate base period, the total was less than 1.5 x the highest quarter of $5700. I understand both of these denials.
$1365.44:last quarter 2018 (10/1/18- 12/31/19)
$341.20: 1st quarter 2019 (1/1/19-3/31/19)
0: 2nd quarter 2019 (4/1/19-6/30/19)
0: 3rd quarter 2019 (7/1/19-9/30/19)
$5700: 4th quarter 2019 (10/1/19-12/31/19)
$5774.60 : 1st quarter 2020 (1/1/20-3/31/20)
$1706.64: base period total
$6041.20: alternate base period total
His monetary determination/ denial mailed 4/1/2020 and received by client 4/27/2020 says the following "if you have employment in the current calendar quarter and are still unemployed after this quarter ends and think you may qualify using this recent employment, you may apply again for benefits after this calendar quarter of ends," which indicates he could possibly still have an option to refile the claim. He still wouldn't qualify this way using the base period, but if he was able to use an alternate base period that would include quarter 1 from 2020, he would be eligible (total $11,474.60, both quarters he worked are above $2600 and the total exceeds 1.5 x $5774.60). His benefit would be around $220.66 based on my rough math.
BUT there is language in a following page that confused me as to whether this is an option, and I also am not sure if they were referring to quarter 1 or 2 of 2020, as this was mailed on April 1. The language making this questionable is "once wages are used to establish a claim, they cannot be used for a subsequent claim. Consequently, if you choose the alternate base period, you will not be able to use these wages again. This may affect your entitlement to a subsequent claim." Does that language only apply if the wages established an eligible claim, or does the fact that they've been used to calculate at all preclude him from filing a new claim? Also does the fact that it was mailed on April 1st indicate that the DOL was referring to quarter 2 and not quarter 1? This would not help my client.
If he is able to refile, would he have to do this by phone since he already filed a claim and had it denied?
He also mentioned that on April 20 he received a message that he could apply for PUA, so he did, but was not at the time told he was denied for UI. I'm not sure how they determine how much he would get under PUA, but it's my understanding that the minimum is between $172-$182 depending on the time period. I don't know if he would receive more than the minimum, but the minimum seems close to how much he would get from UI anyway unless my math is incorrect. He only worked two of the quarters so I took the average of the two and calculated 1/26 of that. Since the amount seems so close, I wonder if it's advisable to just suggest the PUA claim.
I would appreciate anyone advising me on how I should tell my client to proceed. He has already requested a hearing online immediately upon receiving the monetary determination but has not yet received a hearing date.
(The below photos are the language mentioned above casing confusion)
Answer (click arrow to expand)
I had this exact issue. Client applied during Q1 2020 without sufficient wages, but had sufficient wages after Q1 2020 ended. Client reapplied after Q1 2020 ended using alternate base period, and was approved. Client decided not to go the PUA route, which in hindsight was smart because it's apparent that process has been nothing but a nightmare. Clients reapplying in this way should be able to do so online.
"once wages are used to establish a claim, they cannot be used for a subsequent claim. Consequently, if you choose the alternate base period, you will not be able to use these wages again. This may affect your entitlement to a subsequent claim."
This means you can't double dip the same wages twice. So if you use the alternate base period to calculate wages now - if you are unemployed 4 quarters down the road you can't use this quarter again to qualify.
No one knows how PUA is calculated. Every single applicant I have seen approved for PUA - it has been for the minimum $182. I haven't seen anyone receive more. There is speculation that the DOL is trying to get PUA money out as fast as possible and will deal with calculations of the benefit at a later date.
Question about paying back PPP loans:
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)
1) If they apply for the PPP loan, they may have to pay it back. The interest rate is 1%. 75% of the loan amount must be used for payroll and payroll related costs. The remaining 25% should be used for rent, utilities, mortgage payments in effect or which began before February 15, 2020. The funds must be used within the first 8 weeks of receiving the loan and she will need to apply to the lender for loan forgiveness.
2) Generally even a completely interest free loan requires you to eventually pay back the entire principle. (Barring a handful of exceptions such as student loan forgiveness)
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.
Here is the information re overpayments. It appears he may be able to negotiate a payment plan although I am not a UI Attorney who likely would know the answer and Joan willing the
This is not a good time to be withdrawing from a 401(k).
Client's Claim is Pending & Client is Returning to Work
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?
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 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
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?
Follow up Question + Info :
Information regarding applying for both UI and PUA;
Denied UI then applied for PUA
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**
Unemployment insurance is jammed but you need to file for it and have some proof that it was filed (EVEN IF YOU ARE NOT ELIGIBLE) to then file for pandemic insurance.
So I've been advised to make sure to go the process if for no other reason that you need to file for the first to file for the second.
New system : one form for PUA AND UI (how it should currently work)
Example Scenarios and What to Expect
They said they have recently streamlined the app so you can just do one application, but I don’t know if you put your application in recently or a few weeks back. I had to apply for UI as well, and though I never got a denial letter I did get a link in my inbox on the unemployment telling me to fill out the PUA application. You can call local senator and assemblyman to get them to help you with getting in touch with a DOL rep. A lot of people did that and got some help.
Unfortunately, what I've experienced so far is it's a real long wait. And the calling in route is not effective (mostly auto disconnects happen). I'm inclined to suggest sending a letter to the DOL to memorialize the position. But it seems waiting is an unfortunate must.
Yes, sounds like she's in a waiting game. People who applied for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance are reporting on Facebook that their claims from early April are finally being approved. The NY DOL is normally handles thousands of applications on any single day. They've been forced to handle millions of claims per week.
Company reopening client has underlying condition
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.
She must first ask for a reasonable accommodation, such as being able to work from home. If working from home is not possible, or the employer is a business that has heavy interaction with the public, or the employer just outright refuses any accommodation - then she can quit.
Going this route is risky, and the DOL is going to investigate it. Written documentation will be important. Documentation from her medical provider that she is vulnerable if infected with COVID-19. Document the request to the employer for a reasonable accommodation.
DOL determined client quit and this denied UI
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?
The client should be eligible for PUA, as the fact pattern fits one of their specific criterion:
Were scheduled to start new employment and cannot reach the workplace as direct result of COVID-19;
Beyond the PUA Application, Appeal, Request for Hearing, not sure what else can be done.
Out of state / interstate
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
I'm pretty sure you need to apply in the state where you worked (in this case, NY)
About not hearing back from them as of yet, I don't really know what the right move would be...
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.
This is all as I understand it:
Apply where you worked (not where you live).
- Being that your client is still working for the same company, but was "transferred", I would still think the main basis of her claim in NY (she paid UI taxes in NY for 9 years). Maybe she could get some guidance from the interstate employer?
If you are ineligible for "lack of sufficient work history" then that would be a reason, under PUA, to get denied UI by the state, and then you could potentially be covered under PUA.
- PUA does not just "kick in" because someone is denied UI by the state. It is meant to provide coverage for individuals who are not ordinarily eligible for UI (e.g., self-employed, independent contractors, people who have insufficient work history, etc.)
PEUC is the federal funding that provides the additional $600, not PUA.
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 .
She's allowed to file in New York. You file in the state that you work in, not the one that you live in. If she's a regular W2 wage earner and has sufficient earnings history, it is relatively painless for those people. I was on unemployment for three weeks in March. It took me 4 days to access the website, but once I did I received benefits in a week.
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
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.
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
Sample release with payments
Questions about applying for PUA once Denied UI:
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?
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
My question is can I request the hearing for my client or does the client have to initiate the request?
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...
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:
The DoL can withhold 10% of weekly benefits for federal tax and 2.5% for state tax after making deductions for mandatory deductions such as child support payments. Claimants can start or stop withholding at any time. Its been my experience that often little attention is paid to this aspect until a tax liability arises.
For many low-wage workers, the federal income tax withholding is usually irrelevant, but with the extended length of time (up to 39 weeks) and the extra $600/week until 7/31, it's necessary to have federal withholdings
Out of state / interstate Requirements re tax
Non resident tax Information (IMPORTANT)
A portion of New York State unemployment benefits are paid to out-of state-residents from surrounding states who commuted to New York for employment. Though residents of New Jersey and Pennsylvania do not pay state tax on unemployment benefits received from their home state and since there is no reciprocity agreement when residents of those states receive unemployment from New York State claimants are required to file a NYS Non-Resident tax return on NYS sourced income resulting from employment in New York State. The claimant can then receive a tax credit on their home state tax return on tax paid to NYS. Many may not be aware to this requirement particularly since their home state does not tax unemployment benefits. You may wish to apprise your clients of this requirement in the appropriate circumstances.
Reconsideration / 30 day window
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
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
/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:
The claimant must satisfy all
three earnings requirements
during the base period to qualify for benefits (See, Labor Law sections 520 (Base Period) and 527 (Valid Original Claim; Basic Condition, Alternate Condition):
1) Worked and paid wages in at least
two calendar quarters;
For claims filed in 2019, paid at least $2,400 in one calendar quarter (this amount increases to $
for claims filed in 2020) and;
paid must be at least 1.5 times the amount paid in the high quarter. The high quarter is the quarter of the base period where the most money was earned.
B) The information copied and pasted below from the DOL website explains next steps (Request for Reconsideration (ineligible based on insufficient earnings; no benefit rate); Hearing request (processed automatically upon reconsideration); or Request for Alternate Base Period (eligible and benefit rate but alternate base period may be more beneficial)
Disqualified monetary benefit determination
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
Have these clients applied for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance? Even if they received a denial from UI for insufficient earnings; PUA would still cover these clients. The benefits under PUA would be better with people with low earnings history too. The minimum PUA benefit is $182 for the month of April where UI minimum benefit is $104.
To be safe, I would file the request for reconsideration and a request for a hearing, and if possible re-apply for unemployment.
As for the date issue, I would argue that the Governor's executive order 202.8, issued on March 7, 2020, suspended the 30-day period for the period from the issuance of the letter (3/30) until April 19, 2020, giving the claimant an additional 20 days (i.e. until May 20, 20220) to respond.)
The relevant portion of the executive order starts off with a reference to the courts with regard to "any specific time limit for the commencement, filing, or service of any legal action, notice, motion, or other process proceeding as prescribed by the procedural laws of the state" but ends with a broad reference to "or by any other statute, local law, ordinance, order, rule, or regulation, or part thereof,"
Gig workers / PUA eligibility /Cares
Case Law As to Gig Workers
Important for attorneys who have gig economy workers as clients who received UI denials. Although this case applies to Postmates; claimants who work for Uber, Lyft, Instacart, or any similar service like that ** should ** be able to make the argument that they are not independent contractors but employed by those companies.
The Court of Appeals reversed the order of the Appellate Division reversing the decision of the Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board that Claimant, a former courier with Postmates, Inc., and others similarly situated are employees for whom Postmates is required to make contributions to the unemployment insurance fund, holding that there was substantial evidence supporting the Board's finding that the couriers were employees.
Independent Contractor Eligibility Information
Independent Contractors (IC)
are not normally eligible for state UI and would, thus, be denied (one needs to be denied state UI before they can get any benefits under PUA). However, IC's are covered under PUA so they should be eligible in this regard. PUA mostly extends benefits to the self-employed, IC's, and people with insufficient work history (all of whom would normally be ineligible for state UI).
*But the Court of Appeals said people who deliver for Postmates are employees, not IC's. So anyone who therefore works for a company similar to Postmates should be able to argue they are eligible for regular UI, not PUA.
Just because a business classifies you as an IC, does not mean you are one.
Are people ineligible for all CARES Act assistance if they have filed taxes jointly with an undocumented taxpayer?
Answer 1 (re: stimulus and tax filing information)
Yes, ineligible for the stimulus payment.
However, if it's beneficial, they can file superseding tax returns (use Form 1040X) changing their filing status from Married Filing Jointly (MFJ) to Married Filing Separately (MFS). Under that scenario the spouse who is U.S. citizen/legal resident would be eligible. There is still time to file a superseding return which is considered an original return for tax year 2019 since the filing deadline has been extended to July 15, 2020. Once the filing deadline passes one cannot go from MFJ to MFS. Alternatively, they can wait and file MFS in 2020.
Answer 2 (getting cases flagged)
This is the issue I had as well. I took some time to look up the assembly member for 2 assignments and spend yesterday and today making phone calls/emails alongside the client to try to reach someone. With one, they did get a call back already and were told that their application will be "flagged". The other, I was able to reach someone and they were to call the client directly for more information. It doesn't seem like much as far as legal work, but neither of them had thought of this option. Now, to be clear, the representative did tell me that they may or may not be able to assist in moving the case along, but I feel that at least the case may be brought to the "front of the line" and then I can get involved if they application is rejected for whatever reason.
helping with basics to move case along -
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
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.
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
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)
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.
Not having found any authority on the issue below, it seems to me that the appropriate response is to not cash the check or use the funds since technically at this point she is ineligible and so should not use the funds. I am concerned about having her return the funds since it could complicate what is already a messy situation. I would very much appreciate any thoughts on this issue.
This may answer some questions.
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.
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.
I think that is technically correct but I don't think that the newspaper has not described it entirely accurately. Specifically , as I understand it, under the CARES Act, individuals who are deemed eligible for UI or PUA are also entitled to a boost of $600 in their payment. In other words, I see it as contingent on being approved for UI or PUA. The FAQ I circulated from the DOL addresses this issue.
I truly hope I have misread the faq and the Regs I reviewed and the client is somehow entitled to the $600. It is brutal to have someone who has earned very little to have to keep untouched $600 until she is again deemed eligible, in particular since everything seems to take so long-although all on the ideas here on how to expedite the process have been insightful and have been put to use.
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.
UI - Unemployment Insurance - this is paid by the state for traditional W2 wage earners (and since March 2020 arguable for Uber, Lyft, Postmates drivers and gig economy workers).
PUA - Pandemic Unemployment assistance - this is for people are do not fit into category of UI (self-employed, independent contractors, W2 workers with insufficient earnings). The benefit in April 2020 and May 2020 is a minimum of $182 and a maximum of $504.
PUC - Pandemic Unemployment Compensation - this is the extra $600 that the Federal Government pays on top of people who are approved for either PUA or UI. It is automatic, there is nothing additional needed or no other application
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.
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
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)
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.
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.
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
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?
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
1) It's my understanding that UI has minimum income requirements, but it appears that PUA does not - that's what they said at the first webinar. If the client has 1099s and, even better, filed their 2019 taxes to show income, they should be able to establish income for purposes of calculating PUA benefits. At the very least, they would be eligible for the PUA minimum of $182. I think you do have to qualify for either UI or PUA to get the additional $600.
2) That is my understanding too - minimum income requirements for UI but not PUA. I don't think my client included his 2019 1099 taxes on his PUA application though so not sure if he will be denied PUA and if he should try to send them now.
3) You need to qualify for UI or PUA for the $600. I think the benefits calculator and the minimum $2600 earnings is for UI though.
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.
The CARES Act makes PUA the same amount as under UI, except for the higher minimum.
Click here for detailed information
(d) AMOUNT OF ASSISTANCE.- (1) IN GENERAL.-The assistance authorized under sub-section (b) for a week of unemployment, partial unemployment, or inability to work shall be-
(A)(i) the weekly benefit amount authorized under the unemployment compensation law of the State where the covered individual was employed, except that the amount may not be less than the minimum weekly benefit amount described in section 625.6 of title 20, Code of Federal Regulations, or any successor thereto; and ...
Section 2102(d), on page 35.
(b) If the weekly amount computed under paragraph (a) of this section is less than
50 percent of the average weekly payment of regular compensation in the State
, as provided quarterly by the Department, or, if the individual has insufficient wages from employment or insufficient or no net income from self-employment (which includes individuals falling within paragraphs (a)(3) and (b)(3) of @ 625.5) in the applicable base period to compute a weekly amount under paragraph (a) of this section, the individual shall be determined entitled to
a weekly amount equal to 50 percent of the average weekly payment of regular compensation in the State
How is PUA impacted by partial unemployment?
Answer (Click arrow to expand)
An impacted individual may be eligible for PUA if in a partial unemployment situation. The weekly amount of PUA payable to an unemployed individual for a week of partial unemployment shall be the weekly benefit amount (WBA) reduced (but not below zero) by the full amount of any income received during the week for the performance of services, regardless of whether any services were performed during that same week. This reduction is in accordance with provision 20 C.F.R. @626.6(f)(1).
(1) The weekly amount of DUA payable to an unemployed worker or
for a week of partial or part-total unemployment shall be the weekly amount determined under paragraph (a), (b), (c) or (d) of this section, as the case may be,
reduced (but not below zero) by the amount of
that the individual earned in that week
as determined by applying to such
allowance for partial or part-total employment prescribed by the applicable
. (emphasis added)
(2) The weekly amount of DUA payable to an
shall be the weekly amount determined under paragraph (a), (b), (c) or (d) of this section, as the case may be, reduced (but not below zero) by the full amount of any
received during the week for the performance of services in
, regardless of whether or not any services were performed during the week, by applying the
allowance as set forth in
of this section. Notwithstanding the definition of "wages" for a
under @ 625.2(u), the term "any income" for purposes of this paragraph (f)(2) means gross
The site below is the original source of the information, kindly at Q10.
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.
See, 12 NYCRR 470.2 and
Matter of Jory v. Catherwood
, 34 AD2d 260 (3rd Dep't 1970):
In determining the number of weeks covered employment to be credited claimant musician rehearsal wages, despite the fact that they were withheld until after the performance, must be considered earned when each rehearsal took place. A rule of the Industrial Commissioner (12NYCRR 470.2) provides that remuneration shall be deemed paid "as of the day both the amount and the liability of the employer for payment thereof have been unconditionally established if the remuneration is not definitely assignable to a payroll period." Entitlement to such wages is unconditionally established as of the date of each rehearsal and is not dependent as to amount of liability on any future event.
Matter of Jory v. Catherwood
, 34 AD2d 260 (3rd Dep't 1970)
NYCRR § 470.2 Definition of terms.
....1. For all purposes except the computation of a claimant's average weekly wage, remuneration earned, whether or not paid, shall be deemed "paid":
as of the day or the first of several days on which amounts definitely assignable to a payroll period are generally paid by the employer;
as of the day when both the amount and the liability of the employer for payment thereof have been unconditionally established if the remuneration is not definitely assignable to a payroll period;...For the purpose of computing a claimant's average weekly wage:
all remuneration accrued in, whether or not paid at the end of a statutory week, shall be deemed "paid" in such statutory week....
Wages paid in a quarter means the total of all wages which in accordance with subdivision (b) of this section are deemed "paid" on any day falling within the calendar quarter.
Statutory week means the period beginning with Monday and ending with the following Sunday.
Week of employment includes any statutory week during any part of which an employee is on paid vacation or other paid leave of absence even though no actual work is performed.
As a side note, for purposes of a lack of total unemployment while in benefits, a claimant need not get paid if services are being performed that could lead to gainful employment (i.e. the volunteer scenario) or if the claimant has a side business. But this was not your inquiry.
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!)
The $600 check is a federal supplement (stimulus payment) under the Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (PUC) provision of the CARES Act. As such, because it is not a form of unemployment insurance, there can be no setoff against it.
In contrast, the 39 weeks of PUA payments which the Federal government is also funding is a form of unemployment overpayment and be used as a setoff for overpayments.
As to reduction for partial employment during a work week, there is a reduction in benefits of 25% per day. So, you are correct that 50-75% of her benefits would be reduced for partial employment.
this does NOT apply if the amount earned exceeds $504:
"If you earn over $504 in any week, no matter how many days you worked, you
receive benefits for that week" (UI and PUA are benefits; so if no benefits, then no $600 stimulus check either); DOL's full text about partial employment while in benefits is copied and pasted, in pertinent part, below (
"What if I work part-time?
A: If you work less than four days in a week and earn $504 or less, you may receive partial benefits. Each day or part of a day of work causes your weekly benefit rate to drop by one-quarter. For example, if your weekly benefit rate is $200 and you work three days and earn less than $504, you may receive $50 in benefits. If you work two days, you may receive $100 in benefits. If you work one day, you may receive $150 in benefits. If you receive partial benefits, it extends the length of time you may collect benefits. If you earn over $504 in any week, no matter how many days you worked, you cannot receive benefits for that week."
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.
No; work for the purposes of unemployment certification is counted the day the work is performed, irrespective of when/ if payment is received.
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?
Liability Insurance - Yes
- 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.
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?
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.
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.
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?
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.
Security info/ personal ID info
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?
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.
Another good suggestion was including a disclaimer regarding privacy (standard type of thing that attorneys generally include anyway).
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.