New York State Unemployment Insurance, Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, and Pandemic Unemployment Compensation Guide
Drivers Benefits wants to make sure drivers understand and apply for the financial assistance programs that are available to them. This page will help you apply for New York State Unemployment Insurance, and Pandemic Unemployment Assistance. This page describes what the programs are and how they’re important for drivers, how to apply, and best practices for a smooth process.
The page also includes resources available to drivers who have gone through the process already, and still need additional help securing their benefits.
We encourage you to continue to look at this page for updates, as well as checking the New York State Department of Labor page and the New York State Department of Labor Unemployment Insurance claimant handbook. It was last updated in March 2020, and has been translated in 11 languages.
On Saturday, May 16th, the Department of Labor released a useful how-to apply video. We encourage you to watch it here.
The most recently updated material will be highlighted in blue.
We know this process has been challenging for many drivers who have already applied. The strain on the system for everyone has been enormously difficult for the state: as of May 20th, the department still had a backlog of over 7,000 applicants, and, thousands of applicants have still not received money due to DOL processing requirements, and applicants forgetting to certify each week. We are here to support you and to make sure you have all of the up-to-date information that you need to know to receive your money.
Below is a link to our webinar on May 19th with Brooklyn Law School Professor Minna Kotkin, who answered drivers’ questions about Unemployment Insurance and Pandemic Unemployment Assistance. We highly recommend watching the video.
Disclaimer: This guide is not meant to constitute legal or professional advice. Please consult a lawyer for any legal advice.
Last Updated: 05/22/20
- Link to DOL FAQ of DocuSign
- New question: “I’ve been approved for benefits. How long will it take for me to get money?”
- New section: Resources Available to Help
- New video: Webinar with Brooklyn Law School Professor Minna Kotkin
What to Know Before Applying
On March 31st, New York State Department of Labor published an updated Frequently Asked Questions regarding Unemployment Benefits. Many of these questions are important to drivers and we have copied those questions and answers for you below. We also added a couple of questions and made some comments on their answers in italics. This section will go over: what these benefits are, how much money you will get, and how long these benefits can last for.
You can find the rest of the questions and answers here.
We also encourage you to read the most up-to-date Frequently Asked Questions sheet released by the New York State Department of Labor about Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, released on April 20th. This can be found here.
On March 27, 2020, the President of the United States signed a law that provides additional Unemployment Insurance (“UI”) assistance to workers impacted by COVID-19. This new law provides:
- Pandemic Unemployment Assistance – This includes Unemployment Assistance for people who usually aren’t eligible, including drivers like you.;
- Pandemic Unemployment Compensation – An additional $600 per week, on top of regular benefits, to all UI and PUA recipients; and,
- Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation – An additional 13 weeks of UI and PUA benefits, beyond the regular 26 weeks already provided, for a total of 39 weeks of coverage.
Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (“PUA”) – Extended Eligibility for UI Benefits
These are the steps you have to take to receive money (detailed help follows):
- Create a NY.gov ID
- Apply for New York State Unemployment Insurance & Pandemic Unemployment Assistance on one form
- Wait for a call from a representative of New York State Department of Labor
- Regardless of receiving a call, you should ALWAYS certify your benefits each Sunday
Under their new application, , you will be automatically directed to the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance application.
Once the New York State Department of Labor approves your claim, you can expect this money in 2-3 weeks.
If you filled out an older version of the application, DO NOT RE-APPLY. This is one of the biggest reasons why payments are being delayed. As frustrating and difficult as it is, the Department of Labor wants you to wait until they get in touch with you.
As we learn more from drivers’ experiences filling out this form and any updates from the New York State Department of Labor, we will update this page.
Department of Labor has launched an updated, streamlined online application that allows New Yorkers to apply for either traditional Unemployment Insurance or Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, depending on their eligibility. You do not have to complete a separate application for PUA.**
Drivers Benefits Note: Our guide for applying for PUA can be found on this page, or by clicking here.
** This answer is from a new Pandemic Unemployment Assistance FAQ, which can be found here.
Your benefit rate is based on your recent wages. In New York, the current maximum weekly benefit rate is $504. The minimum PUA benefit rate is 50% of the average weekly benefit amount in New York. For January 27, 2020 – March 31, 2020, the minimum benefit rate is $172. For April 1, 2020 – June 30, 2020, the minimum benefit rate is $182.
Drivers Benefits Note: A typical full-time driver should expect an amount between $250 – $500 per week from pandemic unemployment assistance. If you would like to make an estimate yourself, you can do so here.
You will also receive $600 from pandemic unemployment compensation. So, a driver can expect between $850 and $1,100 per week total.
Yes. PUA benefits will include an additional $600 per week until July 31, 2020.
No, there is no weeklong wait period for PUA.
Drivers Benefits Note: A lot of these questions talk about “employment” or being “unemployed”. The law is extending a lot of these benefits to independent contractors for workers like drivers for black car services like Uber, Lyft, and Vital.
PUA benefits may cover periods of unemployment up to 39 weeks.
Drivers Benefits Note: According to a new Department of Labor Guidance on April 5th, PUA benefits may be available up to 39 weeks, pending “if an emergency state or municipal order restricting movement makes continued operations unsustainable.” In other words, we don’t know if when the PAUSE order by Governor Cuomo is rescinded, that drivers will no longer be eligible for PUA.
We will update this section as more information becomes available.
Yes, PUA benefits can be paid retroactively for periods of unemployment, beginning on or after January 27, 2020
Pandemic Unemployment Compensation – Additional $600/Week of UI Benefits
The additional $600 per week benefit ends July 31, 2020.
The additional $600 per week payment will not be counted towards your income eligibility for Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).
General Information about Unemployment Insurance
Unemployment insurance (also known as UI) provides temporary cash benefits to employees who have lost their jobs. If you have worked in New York State within the last 18 months and lost your job, through no fault of your own, you may be eligible for UI.
Currently, most self-employed individuals and independent contractors working in New York State are not authorized to obtain unemployment insurance benefits. However, self-employed individuals and independent contractors may be eligible for benefits under PUA. PUA is available for individuals who would normally not be eligible for regular unemployment benefits but are unable to work because of COVID-19. PUA is available for periods of unemployment between January 27, 2020 and December 31, 2020. The maximum benefit rate is $504, the same as the maximum benefit rate for regular unemployment insurance benefits. The minimum PUA rate is calculated by USDOL, quarterly, as 50% of the average weekly benefit amount in each state. For January 1, 2020 – March 31, 2020, the minimum benefit rate is $172. For April 1, 2020 – June 30, 2020, the minimum benefit rate is $182.
While you are only eligible for unemployment insurance benefits if you are able and available to work, under PUA you can receive benefits if you are the primary caregiver for a child whose school or care facility closed due to COVID-19. PUA is available for periods of unemployment between January 27, 2020 and December 31, 2020. The minimum PUA benefit rate is 50% of the average weekly benefit amount in New York. For January 1, 2020 – March 31, 2020, the minimum benefit rate is $172. For April 1, 2020 – June 30, 2020, the minimum benefit rate is $182. The maximum benefit rate is $504, the same as the maximum benefit rate for regular unemployment insurance benefits.
If you are eligible for UI, your first payment will generally be made in two to three weeks from the time you file your claim. In some cases, additional information must be obtained before payment can be made and your first payment may take longer. We use this time to review and process your application for benefits. You will not receive benefits during this period. Continue to claim weekly benefits as long as you are unemployed and meet the eligibility requirements. Also, check your mail and respond to any questionnaires or phone calls from DOL, right away, to prevent delays in your payments. If you are found eligible, you will receive any back weeks of benefits owed with your first payment. You will receive your benefits via direct deposit or bank debit card.
For every day that you report that you worked, even if you didn’t make any money that day, you will lose ¼ of your Unemployment Insurance or Pandemic Unemployment Assistance for that week. If you work more than three days, you will lose all of your Unemployment Insurance or Pandemic Unemployment Assistance for that week, as well as Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (the extra $600).
One way you can consider if working is right for you is by thinking how much you will earn from Unemployment Insurance or Pandemic Unemployment Assistance. This calculator will provide an estimate.
For example, if you get $500 per week from UI or PUA, plus $600 from PUC, you will ultimately earn $1,100 each week.
For the first three days you work, you will lose $125 each day from UI or PUA that week, but keep the $600 from PUC. Working on one of those days may be worthwhile if you will earn more than $125.
But if you work that fourth day, you will lose the last $125 in UI or PUA plus the whole $600 in PUC. That’s $725 you’ll give up by working that fourth day!
*This question is not asked on the NYS Department of Labor FAQ, this is an addition by Drivers Benefits. This question and answer does not constitute legal or professional advice.
How to Apply for New York State Unemployment Insurance/Pandemic Unemployment Assistance
This section will tell you how to apply for New York State Unemployment Insurance and Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, and provide best practices for making this as easy as possible.
This does not constitute legal or professional advice.
You should first read our Frequently Asked Questions above to make sure you understand the program and how it will help you.
Before getting to the application page, you will need a NY.gov ID.
If you have never made a NY.gov ID and have never applied for New York State Unemployment Insurance, please click this how-to guide by New York State.
If you have created a NY.gov ID with a different state agency, like the DMV, please use this how-to guide by New York State.
If you are having trouble creating your NY.gov ID, we recommend going to this link for more guides on how to resolve your problem.
You can apply for New York State Unemployment Insurance online and over the phone. Due to high demand, the New York State Department of Labor is strongly recommending doing this online.
The link online is unemployment.labor.ny.gov
The phone number is 888-209-8124. There are translation services available in dozens of languages. Again, wait times may be very high.
The New York State Department of Labor is requesting people file on certain days based on the first letter of your last name.
Below are the times the web portal is available and which days last names should apply:
Monday, 7:30 am – 7:30 pm: A-F
Tuesday, 7:30 am – 7:30 pm: G-N
Wednesday, 7:30 am – 7:30 pm: O-Z
Thursday, 7:30 am – 7:30 pm: anybody
Friday, 7:30 am – 5:00 pm: anybody
Saturday, all day: anybody
Sunday, 12 am – 7 pm: anybody
For the phone service, they are available:
Monday – Friday: 8:00 am – 7:30 pm
Saturday – Sunday: 7:30 am – 8:00 pm
- Valid New York State driver’s license or Non-Driver Photo Identification Card number (if you have either one)
- Your complete mailing address and zip code
- Telephone number where a representative can contact you between 8 am and 5 pm Monday through Friday
- Employer Registration number or Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN) of your most recent employer (FEIN may be found on your W-2 forms), if you have it.
Drivers Benefits Note: As a self-employed independent contractor, you will want to have your 1099 and 1040 forms (Line 31 of Schedule C of the 1040 will be asked for later).
- Complete name, address, zip code and phone number of your most recent employer
Drivers Benefits Note: We have noticed on the new application that this is not actually needed.
- Alien Registration card number (if you are not a U.S. Citizen)
- If you are unable to print, have a pen and paper available to write down important information
- If you choose to have a direct deposit of your weekly benefits, you must have a check handy to enter your bank routing and checking account numbers.
Drivers Benefits Note: The Department of Labor has said that direct deposit will lead to receiving your money sooner.
After you go to unemployment.labor.ny.gov, you need to click “Login”. This will then produce a pop-up of the NY.gov ID login screen.
Drivers Benefits Note: Make sure your ad-blocker is disabled so the pop-up appears.
Once you log-in successfully, the screen will say “NY.gov Login successful. You are logged in as: (NY.gov ID username)”
Click “Continue” to access the beginning of the application.
You will then see a page about “Filing a New Claim”. Read this page and then click “New Claim”. This will start your application.
To begin the application, the Department of Labor will prompt you with a screen that asks for your telephone number. Fill that out, and click next.
From there, you will then be asked to insert your Social Security Number. Fill that out, and click next.
From there, you will have to create a four-digit Personal Identification Number (PIN) and write your Mother’s Maiden Name. Fill that out and click next.
You will then get to a page titled “Personal Circumstance”. This will ask the following questions:
“1. This week, beginning Monday mo/day/year, how many days have you worked?” There is a drop down menu that can let you fill out anywhere between 0 days to 7 days.
Drivers Benefits Note: The NYS Department of Labor Claimant Handbook (updated in March 2020) defines “work” as including “All activity related to self-employment or freelance work” even if you didn’t get paid. That means if you are driving to cover your expenses, like to make a car loan payment, but didn’t have any left over for income, you still have to tell them you worked that day.
“2. This week, beginning Monday mo/day/year, were your gross earnings more than $504?” Yes or no.
Drivers Benefits Note: The NYS Department of Labor Claimant Handbook (updated in March 2020) states that “This does not include any money earned in self-employment.”
In other words, money earned as a driver operating as a self-employed driver should not be included.
“3. What was the last day that you worked?”
Drivers Benefits Note: We are not sure about how to answer this question. This can be answered either the last day you drove your car for a ride hailing app, or the last day work was unaffected by COVID-19 which would cover more days.
When you receive a call from a representative of the Department of Labor, please ask them what this means for a driver. This will be useful and help protect you, since the calls are recorded, and will also help us understand how the department is defining this question. You may ask by saying, “I am a self-employed driver who uses ride-hailing apps. When you ask about the ‘last day worked’ on the application, I was not sure what to put. Was it the last day I drove on the app, or the last day driving became unsustainable because of COVID-19” Please tell us what they said at email@example.com Thanks!
“4. Are you filling this claim because your workplace closed, you were isolated or you were quarantined due to COVID-19, also known as the Coronavirus? Yes or no
Drivers Benefits Note: For a driver, this question is asking if COVID-19 made your driving operations unsustainable to continue.
“5. Did you work in New York State in the last 18 months?” Yes or no“6. Do you currently live in New York State?” Yes or no.
When you answer the questions, click “Next” to go to the next page.
The next page will be Personal Information (Part 1)
“1. Your Name: First name, middle initial, last name” They will also ask for your email address.
“2. Any other last name under which you worked during the last 18 months?”
There will be a square underneath the box where you can check off “I did not work under any other name during the last 18 months
“3. Date of Birth”
“4. New York State Driver’s License or the number of your NYS Non-Driver Photo ID”
“5. How many employers have you worked for in the past 18 months?”
Drivers Benefits Note: If you consider yourself self-employed and did not do any traditional work that led you to receiving a W-2, “0” indicates you are self-employed.
Once answering those questions, click “Next”
You will next go to a page that says “Personal Information (Part 2)’ This will ask for
“1. Your Mailing Address”
“2. Telephone (including area code)”
“3. What is your Gender?”
“4. Are you a veteran?” Yes or no
“5. Are you a citizen of the U.S.?” Yes or no. If you’re not, you will be prompted to enter your Alien Registration Number (numbers after the letter ‘A’)
“6. Would you like for us to hold 10% of your weekly Unemployment Insurance benefits for Federal taxes?” Yes or no
“7. Would you like for us to hold 2.5% of your weekly Unemployment Insurance benefits for State taxes?” Yes or no
“8. Would you like to register to vote or make changes to your current voter registration?” Yes or no
“11. Are you a person with a disability?”
Answer those questions and then click “Next”
This will then bring you to a page called “Earnings”
“Was all the money you earned in 2019 and up until today in 2020 from running your own business?” Yes or no
If you click no, this next question will appear: “Was all the money you earned in 2019 and up until today in 2020 from being self-employed?” Yes or no
After answering that question, click “Next”
That will bring you to the “Telework and Paid Leave” page.
It will ask:
“Are you able to telework for the same hours of your customary job?” Yes or no
Drivers Benefits Note: This question is asking if you were offered the opportunity to telework your normal hours during the pandemic. Since drivers cannot work from home, the answer is no unless you have another job.
If you say no, you will then be asked “Are you receiving paid leave, including sick pay, for more than your customary work week?” Yes or no
Drivers Benefits Note: We are currently looking into whether receiving financial assistance from Uber or Lyft constitutes this. As of this moment, we do not know.
After this set of questions are answered, click “Next”
You will then be brought to the “Availability” page. It will ask:
“Are you only seeking part-time employment? Yes or no
“Are you unemployed for COVID-19, but otherwise able to and available to work? Yes or no
Drivers Benefits Note: This question is asking if you are able and available to work if there was not COVID-19.
Answer those questions, click “Next”.
You will then be sent to the “Benefit Payment Details” page, where you will be asked:
“Do you want to receive your benefits by direct deposit or debit card?” You will have a drop down menu to choose either. If you choose “Direct Deposit”, you will be asked your 9-Digit Bank Routing Number and your Checking Account Number.
Drivers Benefits Note: We have heard it is recommended to apply with Direct Deposit, since your money will come sooner.
Fill out the questions and click “Next”.
You will then be brought to the “Pandemic Unemployment Assistance” page. You will be asked:
“Name of the business/Employer name”
Drivers Benefits Note: If you consider yourself self-employed, then “self-employed” is an acceptable answer.
“Employer Registration Number or FEIN Self-Employed – the EF# is 99-23246”
Drivers Benefits Note: We believe that the application is saying, for self-employed, the number is 99-23246. You should also be able to put your SSN# if you are a citizen and consider yourself self-employed.
“What was your annual net income for your most recently filed tax year?”
It says “You can get this information from Line 31 of Schedule C of your federal 1040 form. You will be required to provide a copy of that form within 21 days of your application.”
After filling this out, click “Next”
You will then be brought to the “Weekly Certification” page. It will ask you to certify for weeks you listed as not working. It will ask:
“Including self-employment, did you work the week of 4/20/20-4/26/20?” Yes or no
Drivers Benefits Note: The NYS Department of Labor Claimant Handbook (updated in March 2020) defines “work” (pg 20) as including “All activity related to self-employment” even if you didn’t get paid.
In other words, you must say the amount of days that you worked on the app, and did any work related to your business/self-employment.
“Not including what you earned from self-employment, did you earn more than $504, before taxes?” Yes or no
“Did you refuse any job offer or job referral for any reason other than the following?
- Personal or family illness due to COVID-19
- Lack of childcare during the closure of a school or facility due to COVID-19
- Quarantine restrictions issued by authorities or a medical provider
Yes or no”
“Federal Law provides Pandemic Unemployment Assistance if you are unable to work for the following reasons:
- Diagnosed with COVID-19• Being tested for COVID-19
- Member of household was diagnosed with COVID-19
- Caring for someone diagnosed with COVID-19
- Caring for a child or other person who is unable to attend school or another facility that is closed due to COVID-19
- Can’t reach place of employment due to a quarantine imposed by authorities
- Can’t reach place of employment due to a self-quarantine ordered by a medical provider
- Workplace closed due to COVID-19
- Became the primary breadwinner of the household because the head of the household died of COVID-19
- Scheduled to start work but don’t have a job due to COVID-19
- Quit a job because of COVID-19
Other than for these reasons, were there any other days that you were not ready, willing, or able to work? Yes or no“
Drivers Benefits Note: This is asking if you were not ready, willing, or able to work for any reason not listed above. “Workplace closed due to COVID-19” is the reason many drivers are not working, so for many drivers, this answer should be “No”
“How many days did you receive sick leave or other paid leave benefits?”
Fill out the answers and click “Next”
You will then be brought to a “Review Your Claim” section, where you will see your previous answers. You must verify the information is true and accurate.
Once you check the box verifying it, click “Submit” to submit your application.
After Applying for New York State Unemployment Insurance/Pandemic Unemployment Assistance
This section will tell you what to do after applying. This includes going over what to know about the phone call with the Department of Labor, what to do if you made a mistake on the application, how to certify benefits each week, and setting up direct deposit for your account.
Since this process is still new, we will continue to update this section as new information becomes available.
No, you do not. With the new application, you no longer have to call the Department of Labor. They will call you within 72 hours.
Someone may call you from their claims center. If someone from 518-704-2704 calls, you should pick up; it is their number.
Drivers Benefits Note: Make sure to pick up numbers that pop up on your phone as “Private” since many workers are telecommuting, and thus, their numbers will appear “Private”
The New York State Department of Labor representative will identify themselves by providing the date you filed your Unemployment Insurance application and the type of claim you filed.
From what we understand, they will call within 72 hours to verify information on your application and to see if your application has any missing information.
The New York State Department of Labor says you should be prepared with:
- Social Security Number
- Driver’s License
- Mailing Address and Zip Code
- Phone Number
- Alien Registration Card Number
- Names and Business Addresses of Your Self-Employment
- Employee Registration Number or Federal Employee Identification Number
- Net Annual Income from your most recent filed tax year (Line 31 of Schedule C of your 1040 tax form)
Do not worry, they will call you back. Please make sure to answer phone calls from “Private” numbers to avoid any further delays.
You have two options:
1) Online: Go to labor.ny.gov/signin. Enter your NY.gov username and password. Click on the envelope icon at the top right corner of the page. This will bring you to your message inbox. Click on the menu button (the square with three lines). Select “Compose New.” Select Subject: “Certifications and Payments.” Select Second Subject: “I made a mistake when I certified for benefits. How do I correct it?” In the body of the message, explain the mistake.
2) Telephone: Call our Telephone Claims Center Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 888-209-8124. Interpreters are available for most languages; press 9 for an interpreter.
Due to high volume on the phone lines, it may be easier to use the web portal. If you haven’t been called yet by the Department of Labor, you may also be able to tell them when you talk to them.
Yes. The Department of Labor has recently updated their communication system. They will email or text you when:
- You submit a claim.
- You can certify weekly
- Your claim can be paid
We encourage you to continue to check your Spam folder.
Should I check my message portal in my NY Gov profile?
Yes, we highly recommend checking your message portal for messages.
In order to access messages from your NY Gov ID account, you have to:
Log in with your NY Gov ID to my.ny.gov
Click “Labor Online Services”
Click “Go to My Inbox” right below “Messages”
Yes, the Department of Labor has started to use DocuSign to help people get backdated payments. You should respond to these documents as soon as possible.
Yes, you should make sure to certify your benefits every Sunday, even if you haven’t heard from them yet.
You first go to and sign-in using your NY Gov ID: my.ny.gov
After logging in, go to “Labor Online Services”. This will bring you to a new page.
From there, scroll down to “Unemployment Insurance”.
Click “Unemployment Services”. This is where you will need to claim your weekly benefits every Sunday for as long as you want to receive benefits.
After that page, you will see a button that reads “Claim Weekly Benefits”. Click this.
After reading the “Benefits Payments” page that pops up, press “Continue”
You should then click “Certify Benefits”.
Every week you certify benefits, you will be asked these questions:
“During the week ending day/month/year, did you refuse any job offer or referral?” Yes or no
“How many days did you work, including self-employment, during the week ending 4/12/2020?” You will see a drop down menu of 0-7.
The NYS Department of Labor Claimant Handbook (updated in March 2020) defines “work” as including “All activity related to self-employment” even if you weren’t paid.
In other words, you must say the amount of days that you worked on the app, and did any work related to your business.
“Excluding earnings from self-employment, did you earn more than $504?” Yes, No, or N/A
Drivers Benefits Note: They are asking you if you earned more than $504 from work that is not related to being a self-employed driver.
“How many days were you NOT ready, willing, and able to work?” You will see a drop down menu of 0-7
Drivers Benefits Note: As a driver, you should interpret this question as “How many days were you NOT ready, willing, and able to work IF there was not PAUSE/shelter-in-place in New York?” If you would be ready, willing, and able to work if there was not the PAUSE order in New York, you should put “0”.
“How many days were you owed vacation pay or did you receive vacation pay?” You will see a drop down menu of 0-7
“How many days were you owed holiday pay or did you receive holiday pay?” You will see a drop down menu of 0-7
“Have you returned to work?” Yes or no
Then click “Continue”
From there, you will have a page that will show what you answered. Review your answers, scroll down and then click “Certify Claim.” This means you’ve certified your claim for the week.
You will then see a confirmation page.
If you want to make sure your benefits go to a Direct Deposit, make sure to click “Direct Deposit” in the middle of the page.
The Department of Labor recently said that if this happens to you, this is because your certification is shifting from UI to PUA.
You will have to go to labor.ny.gov/signin
After signing in, scroll down to “My Online Services” and select “Unemployment Services”
Click “Update Personal Information” and then select “Update/Register for Direct Deposit”
At this time, we cannot provide a certain answer. However, we think you may be able to find an update if you go to my.ny.gov and log in with your NY Gov ID.
From there, click “Labor Online Services”. You should then scroll to the “Unemployment Services” box and then click “View Payment History.”
“View Payment History” will show you current claim information. We don’t know yet if this will tell you detailed information about your claim being processed.
No! Do NOT re-apply! This is one of the main reasons why the Department of Labor has a large backlog. This will only make the process longer and more complicated for yourself.
You will receive your money in 2-3 business days, if you’ve chosen direct deposit. If you haven’t received the money in that time period, the Department of Labor is recommending you to call your bank to confirm that a test deposit of zero was made, the bank responded to the test deposit, and to ask what the bank’s processing time is.
If, after speaking with your bank, you believe your funds were misdirected, you should:
- Reset your direct deposit instructions the next time you certify for benefits
- Call the Department of Labor at (888) 209-8124
Resources Available to Help
This section is for drivers who have already applied for Unemployment Insurance/Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, and are facing problems that require professional assistance.
NEW: Should I call my elected official for help?
This may be useful. Most state elected officials — your Assemblymember and State Senator (NOT your City Council member or Congressional Representative) — are offering to flag constituents with the New York State Department of Labor about your claim. Due to hundreds of thousands of applicants, elected officials typically hear back from the Department of Labor after 1 or 2 weeks. We cannot guarantee the office will help you, but, at times, we have heard this was useful.
You should only call your elected official if:
- You have already applied for Unemployment Insurance/Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, and;
- You have been waiting 2 weeks or more for a response.
You can find your elected official by typing in your address in the box below:
Make sure to click “State” to see your state elected officials. We recommend calling their office, and sending an email since many district offices are closed due to COVID-19.
You can say something like this on the phone and/or email:
“Hi, my name is ….. I am a constituent of yours, I live at …. I am reaching out because I need help with Unemployment Insurance/Pandemic Unemployment Assistance. I applied … weeks ago and [write in your problem here]. I am a driver, and need this money to survive. Will your office be able to help me?”
NEW: Is there someone at the NYS Department of Labor who can help me, after applying?
Yes. Due to the high volume, you may have an issue getting through, but you can call the New York State Department of Labor Claimant Advocate Office. The advocate office’s phone line is 855-528-5618. Their hours of operation are Monday – Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
When you call, you should have ready:
- Your Social Security number
- A list of questions
- Any related documents
- If you are calling for someone else, please have that person present with you at the time of the call.
You should only call this number if your questions are related to:
- Have received a determination or a questionnaire and don’t fully understand it
- Were found ineligible for benefits and need the hearing process explained to you
- Have an upcoming hearing or appeal and need help preparing for it.
The office has 200 languages available.
NEW: Is there somewhere I can go if my claim was denied, or I want to challenge something?
Yes. You can receive help from the Brooklyn Law School Pandemic Employment Relief Clinic. This is a legal assistance project where more than 100 Brooklyn Law School students are helping people, such as yourself, with your pandemic related employment issues. This assistance can include advice and possible representation if you are denied.
The clinic began their client intake on May 25,2020.
You can receive help by emailing the clinic at firstname.lastname@example.org or fill out the online intake form. Most of their students will begin on June 1st, so you should expect a response in the first week of the month.