The Unemployment Insurance Program and the Disaster Unemployment Insurance Program are of interest to many folks who find themselves without a job, says Larry Simmons of the NYS Department of Labor. Larry and colleagues staff the DOL post at the Belleayre Flood Recovery Center, and are there from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. every day, likely through early October.
The Unemployment Insurance Program is for people who are unemployed through no fault of their own and who are ready, willing and able to work. To file by phone, call the Telephone Claims Center at 1-888-209-8124 (for New York State residents) or 1-877-358-5306 (for out of state residents) from 8 am to 5 pm Monday-Friday. Temporarily the Telephone Claims center will be open also on Saturdays and Sundays and have extended the hours until 8 pm. It is important to file promptly as a delay could cost a person benefits. If a person is hearing impaired who is being assisted by another person, call the Telephone Claims Center at 1-888-783-1370; however, if a person uses TTY/TDD, call a relay operator first at 1-800-662-1220 and ask for the operator to call the Telephone Claims Center at 1-888-783-1370.
People can also file their claim online at www.labor.ny.gov
The other program is Disaster Unemployment Insurance (DUA). This is a Federally funded program that provides payments to people in a Federally-declared disaster area who have lost work or income due to the disaster. NYS Dept of Labor determines if claims filed under this program are valid. There are different eligibility requirements for DUA than regular Unemployment Insurance. You may qualify even if you are self employed, and even if you do not qualify for regular unemployment insurance.
To apply for DUA, you must first file for regular unemployment insurance by calling the NYS Dept of Labor at 1-888-209-8124 or 1-877-358-5306 (if you live out of state). Answer the questions to indicate that you lost your job as a direct result of the effects of Hurricane Irene. Applications must be submitted by 10/3/11.