This article about what to do after a year of unemployment benefits is part of a collaboration between Documented and The City. We will be joining forces to keep our audiences up to date on the latest regarding rent, as it’s an important subject to immigrant communities. Sign up here to get updates sent via email or text from The City.
Immigrant New Yorkers are coming up on a lot of one-year anniversaries as they remember the moments when COVID-19 first upended life as it was before.
For millions of workers, one of those moments was first needing to figure out how to get through the backlogged phone lines of New York State’s archaic unemployment benefits system when many jobs seemingly disappeared overnight.
But the one-year anniversary of filing an unemployment claim isn’t just a marker of time, it’s a signal to take action.
The Benefit Year Ending date — or BYE date — marks the end of your benefits on your claim. In some cases, this may mean you need to file a new claim to see whether you’re eligible to keep receiving benefits.
Here’s what you need to know to make sure you can get the benefits you’re entitled to as for long as they’re available:
The feds passed a new bill that extends unemployment benefits
Because of the pandemic, the length of time someone can receive benefits has been extended multiple times. And it’s happened again: With the new federal stimulus package, benefits can now continue until Sept. 6.
The main points:
- An extra $300 a week will be added to weekly benefits until Sept 6.
- The first $10,200 you received from unemployment benefits in 2020 will not be taxed by the federal government as long as your household income is less than $150,000. You will still have to pay state and city taxes on your benefits, because the New York state and city governments measure income separately from the feds.
If you’ve already filed your taxes or opted to have your taxes automatically withheld, you should get a refund. The IRS is still figuring out the process for how to make that happen. If you haven’t filed your taxes, some experts are advising that people wait until the details are ironed out.
So what is this “Benefit Year Ending” thing I have to know about?
In order to keep receiving benefits until Sept. 6, the new extended date, some workers will need to reapply and file a claim when they hit their BYE date — or one-year mark. For hundreds of thousands of workers, that date was March 14.
So you may be coming up on a year. Here are some questions to ask — they’re in a specific order — to see whether you need to file a new unemployment claim:
Are you receiving Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) and not traditional Unemployment Insurance (UI)?
- If yes, you do not need to file a new claim, just keep recertifying each week.
- If no, answer the next question.
Have you been paid any wages since you first filed your claim a year ago? This could include going back to work for a period of time, freelancing or receiving severance pay, vacation pay or some other kind of payment.
- If no, you do not need to file a new claim, just keep recertifying each week.
- If yes, answer the next question.
Did you make more than 10 times what your weekly benefit was with those wages? It’s kind of complicated, so here’s an example: Say you were getting $100 a week from UI. If you were back to work and made 10 times that, which is $1,000, you would answer yes to this question. If you made less than 10 times that — say, $999 — you would answer no to this question.
- If no, you did not make, in total, 10 times your weekly benefit, you do not need to file a new claim. Just keep recertifying each week.
- If yes, you made more than 10 times your weekly benefit, you need to reapply and file a new claim.
You can read more about the guidelines here.
Here’s a visual from the state Department of Labor that might also be helpful:
If you have to reapply, here’s what you need to do
Go to labor.ny.gov/signin and click “File a Claim,” or call the state Department of Labor’s automated phone service at 888-209-8124.
You will need these documents:
- Your New York State driver license or Motor Vehicle ID card number
- Your complete mailing address and ZIP code
- A phone number where the DOL can reach you
- 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
- 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
Here’s when you should call:
The Department of Labor has a process set up that recommends people call on certain days of the week based on their last name. You can find your day here:
One last thing about unemployment benefits
It may take two to three weeks for these new extended benefits to kick in. But if you keep recertifying each week, you’ll get a back payment.