Finding a job. The New York State Department of Labor Web site can offer the tools and assistance needed to find your next job ( www.labor.state.ny.us/lookingforajob.shtm). It provides access to information, technical assistance, resources and funding opportunities to help you take your first and future steps. The following can be done through the Web site:
Search current job listings posted with the Department of Labor
Search recent newspaper clippings about companies hiring
Search JobZone, a free, one-stop online job search and career planning system that helps you make informed career decisions by providing information on 900 occupations matched with the latest labor market information from the Department of Labor (www.nyjobzone.org)
Search for the name and address of employers by the occupation of your choice
Use Career Zone® to find job titles closely related to your current job by clicking on a job title from any of six major categories, and scrolling to the bottom to find other j ob titles that employ similar skills and interests (www.nycareerzone.org)
Job exchange. The New York State Job Exchange Web site (www.americasjobexchange.com/ny) allows you to search for jobs and labor information. By signing up with the site, you can create a resume, apply for jobs and have job listings sent to your e-mail account.
What is unemployment insurance? Unemployment insurance is temporary income for eligible workers who become unemployed through no fault of their own and who are ready, willing and able to work. In New York State, the money for unemployment insurance benefits comes from taxes paid by employers. No deductions are ever made from a worker’s paycheck for unemployment insurance.
The New York State Department of Labor is responsible for a variety of programs, including worker protection, unemployment insurance, employment services, and workforce development.
It can offer help in filing a claim, certifying for weekly benefits, and dealing with hearings and appeals. It also works with the public and private sectors to create job opportunities, offer job fairs, help workers find a job and help businesses find skilled workers. For more information, visit www.labor.state.ny.us and click on “Unemployment Assistance.”
Unemployment insurance scam. There are reports of people or companies charging a fee to help customers complete or file unemployment insurance claims. They imply that they have a connection to the New York State Department of Labor, but they do not. The Department of Labor provides free copies of the forms that these companies offer for a fee.
Customers in New York State should continue to file their claims for unemployment insurance through the Web site www.labor.state.ny.us or by phone at 1-888-209-8124. Using a paid service to file a claim will not ensure faster handling.
To file a claim you need:
Your Social Security Number
Your mailing address and zip code
A telephone number where you can be reached during business hours
Complete name, address, zip code and phone number of all employers for the last 18 months
Your total gross earnings (pay stubs, W-2 forms, etc.) for all employers of the last 18 months
Your copy of your most recent separation form DD-214 (for military service)
Your alien registration card number (if not a U.S. citizen)
Your New York State driver license or Motor Vehicle ID card number (if you have one)
Go to the New York State Department of Labor Web site, www.labor.state.ny.us.
Click on “Unemployment Assistance.”
Scroll down and select the option “File a Claim.”
Read the important information. At the bottom enter your Social Securty Number and a Personal Identification Number, or PIN, which is a four-digit number that is to be kept confidential.
After you submit your claim, you will receive a confirmation page. Print and keep it. The confirmation page may instruct you to call the Telephone Claims Center and tell you how to claim your weekly benefits. You must certify for benefits every week you are unemployed.
If you are denied benefits, a Notice of Determination will be mailed to you telling you the reasons why. This notice will also explain for what period of time benefits are being denied, and how to re-qualify.
You may request a hearing on any determination affecting your rights to benefits by writing a letter to NYS Department of Labor, P.O. Box 15131, Albany, NY 12212-5131.
The request must be postmarked or proven to have been filed within 30 days after the delivery of the determination. Make sure you include your Social Security Number on your hearing request and the reasons you disagree with the determination. You will be notified of the date, time and place of the hearing by the Administrative Law Judge section after your request has been processed.
For more information, visit the Appeal Board Web site at
Financial matters are often a severe source of stress for those who lose their jobs. But, like all stress-causing factors, financial problems can be managed. First, find out where you stand. What bills must you pay (food, rent or mortgage, utility bills, etc.)? What personal expenses can you eliminate or postpone (dining out, new clothes, new cars, new investments)?
Dealing with creditors. If you have a mortgage, talk with the mortgage holder about renegotiating your payments. If you are a tenant, talk to your landlord about the rent. Don’t wait until a crisis arises. People are more likely to be understanding if you communicate with them. At the same time, you may also want to contact a tenants’ rights organization to further explore your options.
If you have credit card debt and/or car payments, you may get help in planning your debt payments from a credit and debt counseling agency for a fee. Some cities have free consumer counseling agencies or ones that charge only a nominal fee.
Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). This program assists lower-income individuals and families with heating costs in the winter. HEAP currently provides grants for heating bills of up to $900 depending on a household’s income; family size; living arrangement; heating expenses; type of heat; and presence of children under 6, adults 60 or over, and disabled individuals. Both renters and homeowners are eligible for assistance.
About 800,000 families in New York receive assistance from the HEAP program each year. Applications for HEAP assistance can be downloaded from www.otda.state.ny.us. Applications and eligibility information can also be obtained by calling the HEAP hotline at 1-800-342-3009, county departments of social services or county offices for the aging.
Leave your credit cards at home. In addition, immediately call your creditors and explain your situation. If you anticipate difficulties in paying them, arrange a payment plan or seek advice on a consolidation loan. Always try to pay something, even if it’s below the minimum. By saving your line of credit, you will have it in case of emergency. Pay cash for everything. That includes groceries, gasoline and personal items. By using cash, you will avoid accumulating incoming bills.
If you are a veteran, you receive priority service in all New York State employment and training programs. The Department of Labor has veterans’ employment representatives, who are veterans themselves, specifically trained to assist you in transitioning from the military, finding a new job, or starting a new career. Some of the services provided include:
Referral to jobs
Contacting employers on your behalf
Resume preparation assistance
Information on federal, state and local civil service opportunities
Job search planning
Labor market information
Information on direct appointment to civil service positions
Referral to other agencies that provide services to veterans
Every state in America is feeling the impact of the current economic crisis. New York has been hit especially hard. Workers from Wall Street to Main Street are losing their jobs at an unprecedented rate.
In the last two years, new unemployment claims averaged around 12,000-13,000 per week. In January and February 2009, new claims are averaging 25,000 per week. Last year at this time, 175,000 individuals were receiving unemployment benefits. New York State currently has over 420,000 individuals receiving assistance.
The Federal Stimulus Plan will help unemployed workers by:
increasing benefits by $25 per week
continuing the extended unemployment benefits program through Dec. 31, 2009—qualifying eligible applicants for a total of 59 weeks of benefits
paying 65 percent of COBRA premiums for 9 months for eligible workers