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Concerns remain about unemployment overpayment waiver requests

Several people have contacted 2 On Your Side wondering when decisions will be made about their financial hardship waiver requests.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — 2 On Your Side is continuing to answer your questions about unemployment benefits, especially when it comes to the overpayments some people received last year.

We have heard from people who got an extra $600 or $1,200 in the spring of 2020. Many people who received the overpayments applied for financial hardship waivers so they wouldn't have to pay the money back, but many people still have not gotten a response from the state as to whether their waiver request has been approved.

Over the last few weeks, 2 On Your Side has heard from several people who have not been able to get a clear answer from the state about when they will find out what's happening with their waiver requests.

Beth Jacobs is from Schenectady. She is mostly self-employed as a movement and dance teacher who works with private schools and day care centers. Jacobs is one of the people who got the $600 overpayment last year. She found one of the stories we've done about this online and emailed us for help. 

Jacobs told us she sent back the $600, and sent a cashier's check through certified registered mail, so she knows the state got the check. Someone at the New York State Department of Labor told her on Monday that her check was processed on Sunday, but Jacobs says it still hasn't shown up in her account as being cashed.

Jacobs also requested a waiver to get the money back and she requested a hearing. She still hasn't heard anything about the status of her waiver request.

But, as soon as the check clears, Jacobs wants to cancel both the waiver request and the hearing because she says the frustration just isn't worth it. 

"So I'm going to give unemployment one more day 'til tomorrow to see if that damn check has cleared because that's all I care about. It's harassment. It is so humiliating and invasive when it's not our mistake," says Beth Jacobs.

2 On Your Side asked the NYSDOL on Monday if there is a timeline for when people will find out if their waiver request is granted. A spokesperson told us that every situation is unique, and they cannot give a blanket statement on waivers.

The spokesperson also said that if you request a waiver, you will not be required to pay back the overpayment until you find out if you're eligible for the waiver.

Jacobs hopes that by sharing her story, she will help others going through the same issues.