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Rochester Employment & Immigration Blawg

I regularly publish articles about the latest employment and labor law news, as well things to consider when you believe your workplace rights have been violated. I also publish the updates on collective and class action lawsuits that Cordello Law PLLC is pursuing, both pending and recently settled.

Workplace Rights in Rochester, New York (Part 3 of 3)

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Workplace Rights in Rochester, New York (Part 3 of 3)

Common Question Regarding Unemployment Benefits

My clients regularly have questions regarding their eligibility for unemployment benefits. Fortunately the New York State Department has a great website that answer many of the most common questions The following is some of the routine questions that many folks have when learning about the process for filing for unemployment benefits.

When should you file for unemployment benefits?

I tell clients to file their claim quickly, in the first week they lose their job because you must wait one full week before you receive payments. A delay in filing may cost you benefits.

How do your file for unemployment benefits?

You can file on-line or via telephone. On-Line The Department of Labor recommends filing for unemployment benefits online. Sign in with your NY.GOV ID and follow the instructions to file a claim. You may file your claim: • Monday – Thursday from 7:30 am to 7:30 pm (Eastern Time) • Friday from 7:30 am to 5:00 pm • Saturday – all day • Sunday until 7 pm Phone Service You can also call toll-free during business hours to file a claim. • 1-888-209-8124 • 8 am to 5 pm, Monday - Friday If you file by phone, the Department of Labor offers translation services for a number of the most common foreign languages and provides assistance for the hearing impaired.

What do you need to file your unemployment benefits claim:

• Your Social Security number

•Your driver license or Motor Vehicle ID card number (if you have either one)

• Your complete mailing address and zip code

• A phone number where we can reach you 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

• Employer Registration number or Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN) of your most recent employer (FEIN is on your W-2 forms)

• Your copies of forms SF8 and SF50, if you were a federal employee

• Your most recent separation form (DD 214), for military service According to the Department of Labor you can file a claim for unemployment benefits without all of these documents. However, missing information can delay your first payment.

What if I have questions about filing my claim for unemployment benefits?

The Department of Labor provides free, impartial and confidential service to help claimants understand their rights and responsibilities. To contact an advocate you can email them at or call the advocate at (855) 528-5618.

What are my responsibilities once I have been approved for unemployment benefits?

Remember you need to be actively looking for work while claiming unemployment insurance benefits. It is important to keep a record of your work search for each week that you claim benefits.

What kind of work must I accept when I’m receiving unemployment benefits?

You must accept "suitable" work while you collect benefits. Suitable work is work that you can reasonably do through your past training and experience. This means that you have to look for work in all your most recent occupations, especially if the chance of getting work in your primary skill area is not good. After you have claimed 10 full weeks of benefits (13 weeks for claims filed on or before 01/01/2014), suitable work also includes:

• Any work that you can do, even if you have no experience or training in such work; unless you are hired through a union hiring hall or have a definite date to return to work.

• Such work must pay at least 80% of your high-quarter base-period wages. Any work offered must pay the prevailing wage for such work.

• You must also be willing to travel a reasonable distance to get work. As a rule, we consider a reasonable distance to be travel of:

  • One hour by private transportation or
  • One and one half hours by public transportation.
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