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Getting answers to your top questions about unemployment benefits

Tuesday morning, 2 On Your Side emailed the NYS Department of Labor a list of your top three questions looking for answers and an interview.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — 2 On Your Side’s Kelly Dudzik spent the day getting answers to some of your top questions for the New York State Department of Labor.

The most common question we are getting has to do with back pay. Governor Andrew Cuomo has said you will get your back pay, but a lot of you are still owed a lot of it, and you haven’t been able to find out from the New York State Department of Labor when you’re getting those benefits.

Tuesday morning, 2 On Your Side emailed the NYS Department of Labor a list of your top three questions looking for answers and an interview. We didn’t get an interview, and a spokesperson told us she believed the DOL answered these same questions for 2 On Your Side’s Nate Benson last week. The spokesperson forwarded us the same email she sent him. She also provided a link to the DOL’s latest press release from May 20.

So, about that back pay. The NYS Department of Labor sent us the same information it sent us earlier this month saying it’s streamlined the process so people can certify previous weeks online. The DOL says it has emailed back certification forms to more than 570,000 New Yorkers. The state says this will allow you to get your benefits as quickly as possible, but it doesn’t give a timeline, and it hasn’t told us anything about people who have been certifying claims all along, and still haven’t gotten their back pay.

The second question we get a lot is — why does it say I’ll only be getting $182 a week when I should be getting more?

The DOL told us last week that $182 is the minimum PUA benefit amount and it quote, “seems these New Yorkers are being paid $182 until a redetermination of benefits can be made” and that you have to turn in documents so the state can figure out your benefit amount. If it’s adjusted, the state says you will receive all of your benefits.

And Tuesday, during Most Buffalo, we heard from Jessica Witkowski who filed for unemployment in March, and like so many of you who have contacted us, hasn’t received her benefits yet. So, if you filed in March, and are still waiting, when will you get your benefits?

The Department of Labor said last week, claims that have been outstanding for weeks are ones it simply cannot process, and its “attempted to contact all of these New Yorkers, and we will continue to try get in touch with everyone who applied so we can connect them with the benefits they are eligible for.”

We are also still waiting to hear back about our request to interview the Department of Labor Commissioner. We were told that request was elevated a few weeks ago.

If you have questions about your unemployment benefits, we will get answers for you. You can contact Kelly Dudzik on Facebook, Twitter, or you can send her an email.

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