How do I collect backdated unemployment benefits?
October 27, 2008 9:33 AM   Subscribe

NY Unemployment Benefits Filter: I applied for unemployment benefits approximately three weeks after my company had to release me, due to downsizing. Essentially, I am trying to recover unemployment benefits I did not claim during those first three weeks. Am I out of luck?

I wrote the NY Dept of Labor explaining that I was not sure what I had to do during those three weeks, which is why I did not file a claim, and to say I am formally requesting benefits for those weeks now.

They wrote back a standard letter of determination, stating I cannot be counted for credit until I have filed a claim. But the letter I sent was my claim! I feel like I am being filtered through a bureaucratic time warp...

Anyways I spoke with an NY Dept of Labor worker on the phone, and all she could tell me is they usually do not allow backdated claims, and to apply for a hearing if I thought it was necessary. Applying for a hearing looks like my only recourse at the moment.

Does anyone have any experience dealing with Unemployment hearings, or the backdating of benefits? Any suggestions would be really helpful.

(And sorry for the long-winded question.)
posted by helios410 to Work & Money (4 answers total)
1. No. Once you fail to apply for a particular week's benefits, you don't get them. Period. On the upside, you haven't used them, so you'll get an extra week at the tail end of the benefits allotment. But, hopefully, you'll have found work by then, anyway.

2. You didn't miss much. There's a two-week elimination period before you can file for benefits, anyway.
posted by Citrus at 10:07 AM on October 27, 2008

The information you got is correct. You need to apply for a hearing.

You absolutely must run and apply for unemployment the day you get laid off. I learned this the hard way 13 years ago with my first startup. I waited until the next Monday. It was only because I had to file in person and I was in tears (the first person in my family to ever have to go to the unemployment office for several generations) that they rescinded it for me. (Yes, and white privilege - I realize this fully.)

But these days it's all automated, which works to everyone's advantage - but your only recourse is filing for a hearing, and you don't have much of a case. Why did you wait so long?
posted by micawber at 10:11 AM on October 27, 2008

They don't pay backdated benefits, at least here in Illinois. It's on you to file as soon as you know you'll need unemployment.
posted by MsMolly at 11:11 AM on October 27, 2008

Response by poster: I waited because when push comes to shove, I am self-employed. But even though I am self-employed, a lot of the projects I pick-up are with corporations where it is a W-2 situation - so I am paying into the system, and having employment taxes taken out.

Due to being uninformed on how the system works, I written off unemployment benefits when the post-production facility I would edit at went under. Now I know better...

Thanks for your responses.
posted by helios410 at 4:44 PM on October 27, 2008

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