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Department of Labor

UI Claimant Handbook Audio Version - English

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Top 15 Most Frequently Asked Questions about Unemployment Insurance

About personal integrity and Unemployment Insurance

Quick-start guide to Unemployment Insurance

Important recent changes in Unemployment Insurance

Table of Contents

1. What is Unemployment Insurance?

2. How do I know if I am eligible to receive Unemployment Insurance benefits?

What are the requirements to receive benefits?

What are some of the reasons I could be denied benefits?

3. Receiving your benefits: your PIN, ID, direct deposit and the debit card

Setting up your Personal Identification Number (PIN)

Setting up your ID

Important Notices

Setting up your payment method - Direct Deposit

Canceling direct deposit

Debit card

4. How much will I receive in benefits each week?

Understanding your "base period"

Earnings required to qualify for benefits

How we calculate your weekly benefit rate

How will I find out what my benefit rate is?

If wages and/or employers are missing from your Monetary Benefit Determination notice

Requesting a benefit rate recalculation based on Alternate Base Period

Workers’ compensation or volunteer firefighters’ benefits and the base period

Using wages from the current calendar quarter to establish a claim

Requesting a benefit rate recalculation based on average weekly wage

Job loss due to misconduct or a criminal act

Maximum and minimum weekly benefit rate

5. When will I start receiving benefits?

When will I receive my first payment?

Return all questionnaires promptly

What to do if you misplace a questionnaire

Waiting week for benefits

How do I know when I will start receiving benefits?

6. How do I claim weekly benefits?

How do I get my benefits (claim weekly benefits/certify for benefits)?

You must claim weekly benefits yourself

What if I travel outside my area or outside the country?

Claiming weekly benefits online

Claiming weekly benefits by phone

When to claim weekly benefits

What if I need help claiming weekly benefits?

What if I work part time?

What is considered work?

I tried to claim weekly benefits, but the phone system will not allow me to certify. I get a message that I have to sign in to or call a certain phone number. What is going on?

What if I want to start my own business?

What if I am an elected official?

What if I do volunteer work?

Keep your address and phone number up to date

What should I do if my name changes?

7. What are the work search requirements?

Do I have to look for work?

What is considered systematic and sustained efforts to find work?

What is considered acceptable proof of my work search activities?

How long must I keep my work search records?

What is a Work Search Plan?

Who is exempt from work search?

What kind of work do I have to look for? Can I refuse a job because the wages are too low?

What if I refuse a job that meets the wage requirements as explained in the question above, but offers fringe benefits inferior to those offered for similar jobs?

How far away do I have to look for work?

New York State Career Centers

Mandatory work search meetings

What happens if I miss my work search meeting?

What if I am physically unable to seek or accept work?

What if I am unable to seek or accept work because I was called for jury duty?

Does pregnancy affect my benefits?

8. Overpayments and fraud

What is an overpayment?

What should I do if I receive an overpayment determination?

What is willful misrepresentation?

What happens if I do not pay back an overpayment or monetary penalty?

Overpayments made by other state or federal programs

9. What should I do when I return to work?

What should I do when I return to work full-time? How do I get benefits again after a break?

10. Hearing and Appeal Process

Can I appeal a determination about my claim?

May I have representation at hearings?

How can I prepare for a hearing?

What happens if I miss the hearing?

How will I receive the judge’s decision?

How do I further appeal if I disagree with the judge’s decision? How do I further appeal if I disagree with the Appeal Board’s decision?

11. Special situations

What if I have a question about my benefits? What if I think my benefits are late? Also, how do I check my payment history and/or payment status?

My benefits have stopped. What is going on? If I receive dismissal or severance pay, will it affect my benefits?

If I lose my full-time work and have a part-time job on the side, do I have to keep the part-time job?

Can I use military service to establish a claim?

How does military reserve training affect my existing claim?

What if I work for an educational institution?

Does receiving a pension affect my benefits?

Does receiving Social Security affect my benefits?

Does receiving workers’ compensation affect my benefits?

Can I go to school or training while receiving benefits?

What if I am in the New York State Registered Apprenticeship Program?

Starting a business: the Self Employment Assistance Program

I lost my job due to foreign trade. What is Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA)?

It’s unlikely I’ll be able to find another job in my old industry or occupation. What are “dislocated worker” services?

What if I worked outside of New York State?

What if I plan to move out of New York State?

Unemployment Insurance benefits are taxable.

Year-end tax statement (Form 1099-G).

My employer paid me as an independent contractor and/or paid me off the books. What do I do?

12. Definitions of important terms

13. Appendix I: Claimant Advocate Office

Helping claimants understand their rights and responsibilities throughout the Unemployment Insurance process.

How we can help.

What we cannot do.

Case assistance guidelines.

Requesting case assistance.

14. Appendix II: Sending a secure message

15. Appendix III: Online filing terms and conditions

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