Filing update: Starting today, Friday, April 10, New York State has a new unemployment application website and application system to replace the one that was overwhelmed and crashed by hundreds of thousands of people applying.
The new system no longer requires you to telephone the Dept. of Labor after applying on line.
Instead, you will be telephoned back within 72 hours by one of 1,000 call center staff members who have been pressed into service to process the claims.
Your unemployment payments will be effective from the date of application, not the date your application is completed.
According to WNBC-TV, the state had received 350,000 unemployment claims in the first week of April, and 810,000 claims since March 9.
Of those claims, 600,000 have been processed, with more than 200,000 claims still in limbo.
For the first time, self-employed, freelancers, Independent contractors and other members of the so-called “gig” economy can apply for unemployment in NYC, NY State and nationwide, the same as full-time employees who have been laid off or furloughed by the Coronavirus pandemic.
It’s an important part of the $2 trillion Coronavirus relief package enacted by Congress.
It’s a huge win for the as many as 55 million people in the USA who fall into the category.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, that’s about 43 percent of the working population in 2020, up from 34 percent since 2017.
Unemployment benefits – up to $600 a week – would be in addition to the one-time federal stimulus bonus of up to $1,200 per person and $500 per child under 18, and up to 39 weeks.
Since unemployment insurance is managed on the state level, New Yorkers need to apply to the NY Dept. of Labor.
Food stamps are a federal program, and that application is wholly separate from unemployment.
The new application procedure is in response for demands for urgent changes from many saying they are now in a desperate financial situation after calling the department for weeks.
Originally, the system required filers to telephone the Dept. of Labor to verify the facts filed online, which resulted in busy signals, or hold times of one hour or more.
The new website, launched in partnership with Google, changes that to a callback.
The New York Department of Labor has a checklist of who qualifies for unemployment payments.
You qualify for unemployment if –
- your place of work has closed,
- you are the primary caregiver and local schools have closed,
- because you have become the breadwinner since the head-of-household has died of Covid-19
- and other listed reasons.
You do not qualify for unemployment if –
- you can telework,
- you are receiving paid sick leave or other payments from your employer.
The day of the week you apply depends on the first letter of your last name, to manage the website from overloading.
- A – F file on Monday
- G – N file on Tuesday
- O – Z file on Wednesday.
- If you missed your filing date, you can file on Thursday or Friday.
Documents you will need to make a claim for unemployment –
- Your Social Security number
- Your driver license or Motor Vehicle ID card number (if you have either one)
- Your complete mailing address including and zip code
- A phone number where you can be reached from 8 am – 5 pm, Monday –Friday
- Your Alien Registration card number (if you are not a U.S. Citizen and have a card)
- Names and addresses of all your employers for the last 18 months, including those in other states. Use the address on your 1099 or W2.
- Employer Registration number or Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN) of your most recent employer (FEIN is on your W-2 forms.) You will find this number on your 1099 or W2.
- If you plan to receive your benefits by Direct Deposit (the easiest method of delivery), you’ll need your bank’s routing number and your checking account number. Those numbers appear along the bottom of all your checks.
It’s a tedious process. But worth the time to “earn” up to $600 a week.