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After You've Applied For Unemployment: Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is the Monetary Determination?

A: After you file your claim, we will send you a Monetary Determination. This letter shows your base period and the employers and wages used to determine if you have enough employment to establish a claim. Review this form for accuracy. Be sure you agree with the amount of earnings reported. Check the list for all your employers. Do not return this form. Keep it for your personal records. NOTE: The Wage Reporting System does not show wages earned:

  • With the federal government
  • In a branch of military service or
  • For work done outside of New York State
Thus, the initial Monetary Determination may not list them.  If we fail to list an employer, job or earnings, fill out a Request for Reconsideration.  We will use those wages to calculate your correct benefit rate.  


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Q: What if I don’t agree with the Monetary Determination?

A: If you qualify, the Monetary Determination will show your weekly benefit rate. You use the Request for Reconsideration form only if:

  • The wages shown on the form are wrong or
  • Your employment and earnings are missing from the base period
Be sure to include proof of your employment and wages, such as a copy of pay stubs that total the amount of earnings you list on the form for the time in question.

If you have no pay stubs:

Send any documents you may have that we can use as proof

OR

Explain why you have no proof of earnings

If the information shown on the Monetary Determination is correct, you do not need to take any action.

If you do not qualify, the Monetary Determination will explain why. Check that the Monetary Determination form is correct. Fill out the Request for Reconsideration if:

  • The wages shown on the form are wrong or
  • Your employment and earnings are missing
Send correct wage information for all four Basic Base Period Quarters and the Alternate Quarter. To speed up the review of your claim, be sure to include proof of your employment and wages, such as pay stubs that total the amount of earnings you list on the form for the time in question.

If you have no pay stubs:

Send any documents you may have that we can use as proof

OR

Explain why you have no proof of earnings.

You may read and print the Handbook here.

We will review your Monetary Determination based on the proof you submit. We may contact your base period employer(s) to verify the wages paid to you in that time. If your benefit rate changes, we will mail you a revised Monetary Determination.

We process your request and set a hearing date if:

  • The review does not change your benefit rate and
  • Your rate is less than the maximum rate of $420
It is important to keep pay stubs and other proof of wages from your base period. This helps you provide an accurate estimate. Wages include the dollar value of:

  • Tips
  • Bonuses
  • Meals and lodging
  • Commissions
  • Vacation and holiday pay

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Q: What if I think my rate will be higher using the alternate base period?

A: You should complete the Request for Alternate Base Period form only

IF

You already have a benefit rate using the Basic Base Period

BUT

Your "high quarter" wages are in the Alternate Base Period quarter

AND

You wish to request a rate based on the Alternate Base Period wages

 (See your Monetary Determination for specific dates and wages.)

IF...

THEN...

The Alternate Base Period wages shown on the Monetary Determination are not your high quarter wages or your weekly benefit rate is $420

 

Do not return this form

The Alternate Base Period wages are not shown on the Monetary Determination

Enter the amount you earned in the Alternate Base Period on the Request for Alternate Base Period form

AND

Attach proof of the total amount of earnings (such as copies of pay stubs) that you listed on the form for the calendar quarter in question

OR

Explain why you have no proof of your earnings

There is a deadline for us to consider you for the Alternate Base Period. Fill out the Request for Alternate Base Period form. The Department of Labor must receive your completed form within 10 days from the "Date Mailed" on the Monetary Determination.

If you choose to use the Alternate Base Period wages, you will not be able to use this employment and wages again. This may affect your entitlement to a later claim.


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Q: Can I have my benefit rate calculated using my average weekly wage?

A: Yes, if you think your benefit rate may be higher using your average weekly wage. Complete the Request for Rate Based on Weeks form included in the back of your Claimant Handbook. If you are a seasonal worker or other worker who did not work all weeks in your high quarter, this request may give you an increased benefit rate.

First, finalize the base period and the high quarter wages to establish your rate. Then, we can reconsider your benefit rate.

To qualify for this recalculation, you must have:

At least 20 weeks of work in your base period

AND

Any benefit rate increase must be at least $5 more than your current benefit rate

BUT

Cannot exceed the maximum benefit rate (currently $420)

You must offer proof, such as paycheck stubs, for each week of work. For unemployment purposes, a "week of employment" is a Monday through Sunday period. If you choose to have your rate based on weeks of employment, we will calculate your benefit rate as one-half your average weekly wage. See instructions for completing the Request for Rate Based on Weeks form in the Claimant Handbook. You may read and print the Handbook here.

You must submit the form and your proof of weeks of work within ten days of the date of your most recent Monetary Determination. We will review the form and the proof. If your Monetary Determination changes, we will mail you a revised determination.


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Q: I filed a claim, what next?

A: For each week you wish to receive benefits, you must request payment by claiming benefits for that week. Go to How do I claim? for details. Before we can pay any benefits, you must serve an unpaid waiting period. This equals one full week of unemployment benefits. You must claim credit for your unpaid waiting week during the period that:

  • Begins on the first Sunday after you file your claim and
  • Ends the next Saturday
The waiting period extends into the next week if you:

  • Work at all during the week in which you filed your claim or
  • Do not serve a full waiting period for other reasons
Each week that you are unemployed, you must request payment if you want to receive unemployment benefits. You certify that weekly claim on Sunday, for the week ending that day.


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Q: How do I claim my weekly benefits?

A: You may claim your weekly unemployment benefits:

Both systems are available in English and Spanish.

If you are a hearing-impaired person who uses TTY/TDD equipment, call 1-877-205-3119. We can only provide service at this number to English and Spanish callers using TDD equipment.  

If you are claiming weekly benefits on-line, you may do so:

       • Beginning Sunday - all day

       • Monday through Friday 7:30 am to midnight

       • Saturday - all day

An unemployment week runs Monday through Sunday. If you wish to claim benefits for a week of unemployment, you have from the Sunday date at the end of that week through the next Saturday to do so.

The first week of your claim is a waiting period and is not paid. However, you must claim benefits for that week and get credit, so that you may claim benefits for future weeks of unemployment. 

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. 

If you fail to complete a certification on time for any given week, write to:  

New York State Department of Labor

Central Support Unit

PO Box 15130

Albany, NY 12212

We do not accept e-mail requests.

Your letter should include your

  • Name
  • Address
  • Phone number
  • Social Security number
  • Dates for which you request credit
  • Reason why you did not claim benefits for that time period
We will investigate and decide if you qualify for benefits.

When you use the phone or online systems to claim your weekly benefits, you must certify for yourself. Having someone else claim your weekly benefits for you is a serious offense. It can lead to severe penalties, including criminal prosecution and jail time.


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Q: What if I work part-time?

A: If you work less than four days in a week and earn $420 (gross wages) or less, you may receive partial benefits.

You are considered employed on any day when you perform any services - even an hour or less - whether or not you are paid for that day. Each day or part of a day of work causes your benefit rate to drop by one-quarter. If you cannot work, we determine your benefits on the same basis.

When you receive partial benefits, it extends the length of time you may collect benefits. If you earn over $420(gross wages) in any week, no matter how many days you worked, you cannot receive benefits for that week.

Each day or part of a day of work causes your weekly benefit rate to drop by one-quarter:  

1 day of work = 3/4 of your full rate  

2 days of work = 1/2 of your full rate  

3 days of work = 1/4 of your full rate  

4 days of work = No benefits due

If you work while receiving benefits and do not report it (even if it is part-time work) you may be committing fraud. You must report all full-time and part-time work to the Labor Department. If you do not report the work, you risk criminal penalties.


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Q: What does the Department of Labor consider work?

A: We consider you employed on any day when you perform any services, whether this work is:

  • An hour or less in self-employment
  • On a free-lance basis or
  • For someone else
It makes no difference whether this work is covered employment or whether you are paid for that day. For example, work on a straight commission basis is still work. It does not matter that you may not receive the commission until sometime later. It also does not matter if you have not made any sales or received any compensation.

You must report all of the work you do, whether it is for:

  • Yourself
  • A friend
  • A relative or
  • An employer
You must report any activity that brings in or may bring in income at any time.

If you are:

  • Doing free-lance work
  • Self-employed
  • Starting a business or
  • Doing "favors" for another business
call the Telephone Claim Center and give all the details before you claim your weekly benefits.


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Q: What if I do free-lance work or other self-employment?

A: You must report any activity that brings in or may bring in income at any time. If you are:

  • Doing free-lance work
  • Self-employed
  • Starting a business or
  • Doing "favors" for another business
call the Telephone Claim Center and give all the details before you claim your weekly benefits.


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Q: What if I want to help a friend or relative?

A: We may consider you employed on any day or any part of a day when you perform even minor duties or "favors" for a friend's or relative's business. It does not matter whether you are paid or not. Call the Telephone Claim Center and give all the details before you claim benefits.
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Q: What if I do volunteer work?

A: In certain instances, you may collect unemployment benefits while you do volunteer work.  You must meet all of these conditions: The volunteer work is for a charitable, religious or cultural organization

AND

You do not receive payment in any form for your volunteer work

(Example: if you "volunteer" at a school in exchange for tuition abatement or scholarship, we do not consider this true volunteer work. This work would affect your eligibility for unemployment benefits.)

AND

The volunteer work is not a precondition to being hired or rehired into a paid position

(Example: if you volunteer while on a lay-off from a social services agency that is between budgets or grants, we do not consider this true volunteer work. This work would affect your eligibility for unemployment benefits.)

AND

Your volunteer duties do not interfere with your ability to search for work

AND

Do not affect or limit the number of days and hours you are willing to work


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Q: What if I want to start my own business?

A: Tell the Telephone Claims Center before you take any steps to start a business. Unless you are part of the Self-Employment Assistance Program (SEAP), these activities may result in the loss of unemployment insurance benefits. For more information on SEAP, click here. The Department of Labor considers you employed if you operate or start a business:  

  • By yourself
  • With a partner or
  • In a corporate arrangement  
If you spend time during the day or evening or on weekends getting ready to start or actually operating a business, we may consider that as work. It does not matter if you have not made any sales or received any compensation.


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Q: How will I receive my unemployment payments?

A: We issue payments through:

  • A single Direct Payment Card
OR

  • Direct Deposit into your checking account
We no longer issue paper checks.

Direct Payment Card

A Direct Payment Card is similar to a debit card. It lets you withdraw your benefits via an ATM or at a Point-of-Sale terminal. Direct Payment Cards are safer than checks. Only the Department of Labor can deposit money into the Direct Payment Card account. For details, visit our Direct Payment Card Information page.

Direct Deposit

You may choose to have your weekly benefits electronically transferred into your checking account, if your bank has a direct deposit program. For details, visit our Direct Deposit Information page.


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Q: How do I protect my unemployment benefits?

A: Do not respond to e-mails or text messages that ask you to disclose personal information, such as your:

  • Social Security number
  • Direct Payment Card number
  • Direct Deposit account number
  • PIN number
This is a clear mark of fraud.

Check that your benefits are in your personal checking account or Direct Payment Card account.

IF

More than four business days have passed since the payment release date

AND

Your benefits are not in your account,

THEN

You should speak with an agent at the Telephone Claim Center.

If you think someone has compromised your account, contact:

  • Your bank (for Direct Deposit) or
  • Chase Bank (for Direct Payment Card)
Never tell anyone your PIN or write your PIN down where others can see it. As a safety measure, we also recommend that you reset your PIN often. You should also reset your PIN any time you think someone else knows it. To change your PIN, call the Telephone Claims Center at 1-888-209-8124 (1-877-358-5306 if out of state) and follow the menu options to change your PIN.


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Q: What if I think my payment is late?

A: First, see if we have released your benefit payment. Then, check to see if we deposited your benefit payment into your checking account or your Direct Payment Card account. For Direct Payment Card users:

To find out if we have released a payment, login with your NY.GOV ID and enter the Unemployment Benefits section.  Then, click on 'View Payment History'.

If we have released the payment:

OR

  • Call Chase at 1-877-221-1634
You will need your PIN.

For Direct Deposit users:

To find out if we have released a payment, login with your NY.GOV ID and enter the Unemployment Benefits section.  Then, click on 'View Payment History'.

If we have released the payment, check with your bank three business days after the payment release date to see if the payment is in your checking account.

If there is a problem on your claim, the Telephone Claims Center may contact you. Follow the directions they give you. If we have not credited your payment and the Telephone Claims Center has not contacted you in two weeks, you should call the Telephone Claims Center.


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Q: How can I speak to a claims specialist at the Telephone Claims Center?

A: At the main menu, choose option #4 "To ask a question about a claim you have already filed" and follow the instructions.

*If you are a person with a disability, who cannot access our services without help from another person, you may take that help.  However, you must be with the person each time they access the services, including the entry of the PIN. You will be responsible for the actions of your agent. You may be subject to penalties, including loss of benefits, if you are not present when your agent accesses our services.


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Q: When is the best time to call the Telephone Claims Center?

A: The Telephone Claims Center is less busy on Thursday and Friday afternoons. During heavy call times, such as after a Monday holiday, you may hear a message that all representatives are busy with other customers. You will need to call back to speak with a representative.

To reach the Telephone Claims Center:

Call toll-free at 1-888-209-8124

OR

1-877-358-5306 if you live outside of New York State

You may call from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm, Monday through Friday.


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Q: What if I leave the area?

A: If you leave your normal labor market to travel to another area, you must call the Telephone Claims Center before you leave. They will tell you whether your benefit rights can be protected while you are away. You could lose your benefits if you fail to advise the TCC before you leave. Also, when you travel to a foreign country (except Canada), you should not use our web or phone systems to claim benefits while you are in the foreign country. If we learn that you received benefits while outside of the United States, we will issue an overpayment determination. That makes you liable to repay any benefits that you were not entitled to receive.

You are in a foreign country when you go outside of the United States or a U.S. Territory (except Canada). Claimants may file for UI benefits From Canada using our web or phone systems. However, if you plan to leave your normal labor market to travel to Canada, you still must call the Telephone Claims Center before you go.


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Q: What should I do if my address or phone number changes?

A: If your address or phone number changes, you must update your contact information with the Department of Labor. Your benefits may be late if you do not answer letters mailed to your address on record or do not report to an appointment. The easiest way to update your address and/or telephone number is on-line. You can do this when you claim your weekly benefits. If you no longer claim benefits or need to change your address sooner, contact the Telephone Claims Center.

You must also contact:

  • Chase Customer Service at 1-877-221-1634 (for Direct Payment Card)
OR

  • Your bank (for Direct Deposit)
to update your contact information.


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Q: Do I have to look for work while collecting benefits?

A: Yes. Please see our Work Search FAQ for more details.
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Q: What kind of work must I accept?

A: You must be ready to accept suitable work while you collect benefits. Please see our Work Search FAQ for more details.
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Q: What should I do when I return to work?

A: When you get a job, claim credit for the last days you were out of work in the usual way, by:

  • Telephone
  • Mail or
  • Online
then simply stop claiming your weekly benefits.

Do not claim benefits for any week when you work more than three days or earn more than the maximum benefit rate.  The maximum benefit rate is currently $420.


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Q: What should I do if I lose my job again?

A: If you lose your job again, for any reason, and your benefit year has not expired, you have the right to reopen your claim. To reopen your claim, login on with your NY.GOV ID or call TEL-SERVICE.

After you login, click on Unemployment Benefits, then on 'View Payment History' to find your benefit year end date. If your benefit year has expired, file a new claim.  


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Q: What is the maximum amount of benefits I may receive?

A: Although your claim lasts one year (your benefit year), during that time you can only receive 26 times your full weekly rate. The same amount of money applies for weeks of partial unemployment. You may also be able to receive extended benefits.  For details, see our Benefit Extensions page
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Q: Does receiving workers' compensation affect my benefits?

A: If you receive workers' compensation, but you are available and physically able to work, you may be eligible for unemployment insurance benefits. However, this may reduce your weekly unemployment benefit rate. The weekly total of your workers' compensation and UI benefits cannot be more than your average weekly wage in the base period. When you file a claim for benefits, you must send to the Department of Labor:

  • A Copy of your electronic file from Workers' Compensation
AND

  • A medical statement signed by your physician, stating that you are able to work
The Telephone Claims Center will determine if any reduction in your unemployment benefits, due to receipt of workers' compensation, is appropriate. If you disagree with the reduction, you may request a hearing.

You must tell the Telephone Claims Center about any workers' compensation benefits you receive while you collect unemployment insurance. If you do not, you may have to repay any unemployment benefits that were overpaid.


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Q: Does receiving a pension affect my benefits?

A: If you have retired and are not seeking employment, you are not eligible for unemployment insurance benefits.

If you are retired and are actively seeking work, you may be eligible for unemployment benefits under the same conditions as other workers.

However, your weekly benefit rate may be reduced by 100% of the weekly equivalent of the prorated amount of the pension you are receiving from a base period employer even if you did not contribute to the pension.  If you were the sole contributor to the pension then your benefit rate will not be reduced.  The Telephone Claim Center will make a determination of any reduction in your weekly unemployment benefit rate.  As with other determinations you may request a hearing if you disagree with the reduction.

It is your responsibility to notify the Telephone Claims Center if you become eligible for a pension while receiving benefits.  Failure to do so could result in an Overpayment Determination.


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Q: What if I receive a call for jury duty?

A: If you receive a call to jury duty, you will still be able to receive benefits. This is true, whether you receive a call to a grand or petit jury of any state or of the United States. We consider you ready, willing and able to work while serving on jury duty.


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Q: Are my benefits taxable?

A: Yes. If you are required to file a tax return, your unemployment compensation is subject to these taxes:

  • Federal
  • New York State
  • Local

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Q: Will the Department of Labor withhold any benefits for taxes?

A: It is your choice to withhold benefits for Federal income tax or State income tax. You can choose to have 10% withheld from your weekly benefit payments for Federal income tax. You can also choose to have 2.5% withheld for State income tax. The government withholds this money only after making mandatory deductions, such as child support payments. You can change your withholding options any time:

Log in with your NY.GOV ID 

THEN

Click Unemployment Benefits, then "Payment and Tax Withholding Options,"

THEN

Click "Tax Withholding,"

AND

Follow the instructions.


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Q: Can I change my tax withholding option?

A: You can start or stop the withholding of federal or state tax from your weekly benefits any time: Log in with your NY.GOV ID 

THEN

Click Unemployment Benefits, then "Payment and Tax Withholding Options,"

THEN

Click "Tax Withholding,"

AND

Follow the instructions.

You can contact the Telephone Claims Center:

1-888-209-8124 (toll-free)

OR

1-877-358-5306 (for Out-of-State residents)

Select option "To ask a question about a claim you already filed"

ENTER

Your Social Security number and PIN

THEN

Select option number 3, "To begin or cancel the withholding of federal income tax from your benefits"

OR

SELECT option 4 "To begin or cancel the withholding of state income tax from your benefits"


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Q: Can I have my tax withholding returned to me?

A: The Department of Labor cannot return any withheld benefits to you. Only the Federal or State government can return such benefits to you, as part of your income tax refund.


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Q: Will I receive a year-end statement?

A: Yes. In January, we send out a Statement for Recipients of Certain Government Payments (Form 1099-G) to claimants who received benefits during the previous calendar year. Because of this, you must tell the Telephone Claims Center of your current address.

Please keep the Form 1099-G for your records. The information on your benefit statement is also sent to:

  • The Internal Revenue Service
  • The New York State Department of Taxation and Finance
Unemployment compensation includes:

  • Unemployment insurance payments
  • Extended benefits and Federal Supplemental Compensation
  • Trade Adjustment Act basic, retroactive, and training payments
  • Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA) payments
If you did not receive any compensation during the previous calendar year, but repaid an overpayment of benefits, we will still send you the Form 1099-G. The information may help you to file your return.


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Q: If I repaid an overpayment will it appear on my form 1099-G?

A: Yes, as long as we received the repayment during that tax year.

IF

You did not receive any unemployment compensation during the previous calendar year,

BUT

Repaid an overpayment of benefits,

THEN

We send Form 1099-G to you. The information may help you to file your return.

Note: Form 1099-G only reports cash repayments. Benefits taken from your claim to repay an overpayment are not cash repayments and do not appear on the form.


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Q: I did not receive my 1099-G. How can I get a copy?

A: If you received unemployment insurance benefits during the prior calendar year, and do not receive your Form 1099-G by February, you may:

  • Login with your NY.GOV ID.  Then, click on "Unemployment Benefits" and "View/Print your 1099G"
  • Contact the Department of Labor at 518-485-7071
  • Request the 1099-G by mail
For a complete record of your UI payments, login with your NY.GOV ID.  Then, click on "Unemployment Benefits" and "View Payment History".


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Q: How can I get copies of 1099-Gs for prior years?

A: You can print copies from your NY.GOV account at www.labor.ny.gov. Login with your NY.GOV.ID. Then, click on "Unemployment Benefits" and "View/Print your 1099G".
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Q: What is this monetary penalty?

A: Effective 10/1/13, a monetary penalty is assessed in addition to a forfeit day penalty and any required repayment of overpaid benefits when it is determined that a claimant has willfully made false statements or representations to obtain benefits or purposely withheld pertinent information to obtain benefits.
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Q: Is this monetary penalty optional?

A: No.  If there is an overpayment of benefits due to a willful false statement or representation, the monetary penalty must be assessed, unless it is overruled by an Administrative Law Judge, Appeal Board, or courts.
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Q: Is this monetary penalty imposed instead of a forfeit day penalty?

A: No, this is in addition to the forfeit day penalty.
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Q: Does this monetary penalty apply to overpayments of benefits due to a willful false statement or representation under all programs related to unemployment?

A: Yes.  This applies to all benefits under regular Unemployment Insurance (UI), Extended Unemployment Compensation (EUC), Extended Benefits (EB), Combined Wage Claims (CWC), Unemployment Compensation for Ex-Service Members (UCX), Unemployment Compensation for Federal Employees (UCFE), Self-Employment Assistance Program (SEAP), Trade Readjustment Allowances (TRA), and 599 Training program. No programs related to unemployment are excluded.


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Q: How is the amount of the monetary penalty calculated?

A: The amount of the monetary penalty is calculated based on the amount of overpaid benefits.

  • If the willful overpayment is $666.67 or greater, the monetary penalty is 15% of the total willful overpayment.
  • If the willful overpayment is $666.66 or less, the monetary penalty is $100.

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Q: How do I know if I have a monetary penalty?

A: You are notified of the monetary penalty on the Notice of Determination to Claimants for Overpayment.  The Notice tells you the amount of the overpaid benefits, the number of forfeit days imposed, and the amount of the monetary penalty assessed.
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Q: How do I pay this penalty?

A: The Notice of Determination to Claimants for Overpayment gives instructions on how to send a check or money order to pay the total balance including both overpaid benefits and the monetary penalties, or how to request a payment plan.  Overpaid benefits and monetary penalties can also be collected by taking your state or federal tax refund.  Any partial payment received from you will be applied first to the monetary penalty, then to the balance of any overpayment.  Failure to pay this monetary penalty may result in legal action against you.
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Q: Can I appeal the monetary penalty?

A: Yes, you can appeal the monetary penalty assessed.  Instructions for appeal of determinations are included on the Notice of Determination to Claimants for Overpayment.

Further information or assistance regarding hearings may be obtained by referring to the UI handbook mailed to you and by visiting our website, http://www.labor.ny.gov/ui/claimantinfo/hearingfaq.shtm .


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