New York state, one of the hardest hit by the Coronavirus/COVID crisis has also seen one of the largest spikes in unemployment and subsequent claims under new provisions enacted under the CARES Act. While the NY Department of Labor (DOL), the state agency that manages unemployment insurance programs and payouts, has started paying all the enhanced UI benefits it is still well behind in making retroactive payments. However the good news, per the comments below and across this site (see more UI resources), is that unemployed claimants are now getting their extra UI payments on a more regular basis. Further PUA and PEUC programs are now also operating for eligible claimants. But it is also clear from the comments below and social media that many, especially those applying for PUA benefits, are still waiting or unable to get clarity around gaps or delays in getting their expected benefits
Extra $300 Unemployment under Lost Wages Assistance (LWA) program
The NY DOL has been approved by FEMA for the $300 weekly payment under the LWA program, which provides supplemental payments to eligible unemployment benefits claimants who have been unemployed, partially unemployed, or unable or unavailable to work due to disruptions caused by COVID-19 and are currently eligible to receive at least $100 per week in benefits. All New Yorkers getting UI benefits currently will be eligible for the LWA since the minimum benefit is $104 in the state.
NY LWA payment Delays :
As of September 18th, a lot of readers are posting comments that their LWA payment (which was due to be paid on Sep 15th according to the NY DOL) has not yet hit their bank accounts. The NY DOL has posted on twitter, “The first round of LWA payments has been released for those who were pre-qualified and those who certified by 5 pm on 9/15. After certifying, payments will be released in 1-2 business days if you are eligible (based on bank)
NY DOL confirmed they have released ~$1.9 billion in LWA funds to 2.26 million NYers. But looks like an issue with their processor – KeyBank. Despite assurances their system could handle the load, KeyBank was unable to process payments overnight. KeyBank now says payments have been processed & will reach bank accounts by 4:30PM on Sep 18th at the latest
Also per the NY DOL FAQs on this program, because The LWA program’s $100 cutoff is based on a claimant’s benefit base rate, which is calculated before any tax deductions or job related reductions you can still qualify for the $300 LWA payment if your UI or PUA payment in a given week is below $100 because of taxes, part-time work, or other reductions.
When will LWA payments be made and do I have to do anything?
The DOL has already begun work on the technology requirements necessary for this program and anticipates being able to deliver retroactive funds to eligible claimants by the week of September 14th. If you factor in potential payment processing delays to around 2 Million New Yorkers who Pre-Qualified for Lost Wages Assistance some claimants will likely get their payments later in the week. There is no need benefit in calling the DOL at this time either, who will contact claimants with additional information where needed. Eligible claimants will have their LWA weekly benefit payment retroactive to August 1st for the weeks that they are eligible.
FEMA initially approved states for the first three weeks of the program, which is retroactive to August 1st — in
New York, that means the benefit weeks ending August 2nd, August 9th, and August 16th. After those funds are
disbursed, additional weeks of benefits can be released by FEMA subject to funding availability.
There is no need (or point) to call the DOL at this time who are updating their systems for this program and will contact claimants with additional information when the program is able to launch. In the meantime, per federal law please continue to certify weekly to ensure you receive all benefits to which you are entitled
Instructions to Claim LWA
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:
- 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:
- Can certify 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 833-491-0632 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.
The new Lost Wages program however does cut the federal benefit ($600 FPUC) in half for New Yorkers since the state cannot afford to boost the benefit by the additional $100 state contribution requested by Trump.
CARES Act Unemployment Compensation Enhancements for Coronavirus / COVID-19 Relief
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, also known as the CARES Act, signed into law on March 27, 2020 expands Reemployment Assistance benefits. Benefits will be paid from the date they became eligible under the CARES Act. Programs included in the CARES Act are:
- Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) – provides an additional $600 per week to any eligible individual until 7/31/2020. The $600 would be paid the first week of your unemployment claim period but no earlier than 4/5/20.
- Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) – provides up to 46 weeks of benefits per week to those not ordinarily eligible for Reemployment Assistance. This includes individuals who are self-employed or contract employees. The additional $600 FPUC per week will be automatically added to all regular UI and PUA benefits. Under federal law, individuals receiving PUA are not eligible for extended benefits through PEUC or Enhanced State UI benefits. However, PUA recipients can receive up to 46 weeks of PUA benefits at this time vs. 39 weeks as originally available.
- Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) – allows for an additional 13 weeks of benefits added to the end of regular unemployment insurance benefits. This means claimants may collect unemployment benefits for a longer period of time than under normal circumstances. Claimants will need to apply for PEUC benefits once the balance of their current regular state UI claim is exhausted. Those who have already exhausted their benefits or have a UI claim that expired after July 1, 2019, will also be able to apply.
- State Extended Benefits (EB) – given the high unemployment rate, the NY DOL was able to get federal funding for their state’s extended or enhanced benefits program. This provides 7 additional weeks, on top of the 13 weeks available under PEUC.
How To File
Sign in or create a NY.gov ID account and follow the instructions to file a claim. If you can’t apply online, you can call the TCC at 1-888-209-8124.
If you have never filed a claim for benefits in New York State, you must create a PIN. This is a four-digit number that you must keep confidential. This PIN will be used to access the system to certify for weekly benefits and update your account.
Ready? Make sure you have with you:
- 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
You can file a claim without all of these documents. However, missing information can delay your first payment.
Certify for Weekly Benefits
Once you have filed a claim for benefits, you must also claim weekly benefits for each week you are unemployed and meet the eligibility requirements. This is also called “certifying for benefits.” You can start certifying as soon as you receive a notification from the DOL. During this process, you are confirming that you were unemployed for all or part of the past week and that you met all other conditions of receiving benefits. You may certify online or by telephone.
You will need to certify your benefits every single week, or you will lose them. This means that you need to log into your account and verify that you are still eligible for the benefits each week. You can do so here, or by calling NYC call center numbers.
Issues with UI benefits
The DOL has begun a new initiative to proactively inform New Yorkers of the status of their unemployment benefits application through emails and text messages. This initiative is designed to keep New Yorkers informed throughout the process — from submission to approval. Once you file a claim you will get further information on this.
Missing Payments – If you are entitled to UI benefits, all benefits will be backdated to the day you were out of work.
Pending Claims: If you recently filed a new claim and everything is in order, you should generally receive your first payment about 2-4 weeks after you apply for benefits. It takes 2-3 business days for a payment to appear in your bank account once it has been released from our system. If you are experiencing issues with your account and claim get help online or call 1-800-833-3000.
Getting Back Pay
Important Notice About Receiving Your Back Benefits: The DOL is using DocuSign’s secure digital signature technology to help New Yorkers get their backdated payments. If you receive an email, please fill out the form and send it in so that we can get you the benefits you are eligible for as quickly as possible.
When you claim weekly benefits, you must answer questions to certify how many days you were ready, willing and able to work during the past week. The certification system only handles certification for one week at a time. You cannot claim for a given week more than a week later either online or using Tel-Service.
The system will not accept certifications for any back weeks or other periods of time. If you miss claiming benefits for a week during which you were unemployed, you can request credit for this week by secure message, fax or regular mail. Do not call the Telephone Claims Center to request back credit for a week.To submit a request by secure message, sign in to your account at www.labor.ny.gov/signin and click on the envelope icon on the My online Services page.
To fax your request, send to (518) 457-9378.By mail, send to:
New York State Department of Labor
PO Box 15130
Albany, NY 12212-5130
The NY DOL will review your request and decide if you are eligible to receive benefits for that time period. This review can take two to three weeks, unless more information is needed. In that case, it may take longer. During this time, be sure to continue claiming benefits for all weeks you are unemployed and eligible for benefits. If we write or call you to request more information, please respond promptly so the review is not delayed. When you use the phone or online systems to claim your weekly benefits, you must certify for yourself.
Additional Resources and Information
- How to Navigate NYC Unemployment Benefits in the Coronavirus Crisis
- Partial Unemployment Benefits if You Go Back to Work
- See the Top 16 Most Frequently Asked Questions for NYC claimants
The NY DOL is currently experiencing high call volumes, so check their website. Also while the NY DOL site is a great place to get program information, their social media sites (e.g twitter) seem to have the most up to date information.
This article was updated on September 18