New York State has paid over $2 billion in unemployment insurance benefits since the start of the COVID-19 outbreak, but many job seekers told PIX11 they’ve had a tough time filing for unemployment and navigating the system.
We asked employment and labor attorney Jack Newhouse about some of the biggest misconceptions about filing for unemployment.
“If they don’t think they are eligible, then they don’t apply,” Newhouse said.
Newhouse said individuals may be surprised to learn they are eligible for unemployment through the state or the federal CARES Act.
To check your eligibility, Newhouse advised logging onto your state’s Department of Labor website with your income information for the last 18 months handy.
“I’ve seen people do the application in 15 minutes as long as you have the information available," he said.
The CARES Act provides an additional $600 a week in addition to state unemployment benefits, but those payments end in July.
If you’re still working, partial unemployment is available if your pay has been cut to less than $504 a week “and you also have to be working less than four days per week,” Newhouse said.
Simon Zhen of MyBankTracker.com suggested that for anyone who feels their financial future is still uncertain, “the best thing you can do right now is get your finances in order, being able to track what’s going in and what’s going out.”
Zhen recommended going through the last three months of your bank statements, finding the largest reoccurring expenses and calling to company to ask if they can lower your payments or give you more time to pay.