What does the DOL expect when you're on unemployment?
March 12, 2009 1:07 PM   Subscribe

I'm on unemployment in New York after a layoff. How likely is it that the DOL is going to personally check up on me?

The handbook says that it's possible that they'll send me questionnaires or call me in for an interview. How often does that happen? What do they look at? I'm looking for jobs and keeping the Work Search Record worksheet, how much is enough? I'm worried they'll look at what I'm doing and not think it's enough.
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (9 answers total)
I would say it's likely especially the longer you claim. Don't stress. Keep a record. They know it's tough out there.
posted by amanda at 1:10 PM on March 12, 2009

Yeah, don't worry too much. Keep a record, you're fine.
posted by sweetkid at 1:13 PM on March 12, 2009

Anecdote ain't data, of course, but I twice collected the full (26 weeks) of unemployment benefits while living in NYC. Once was when I first moved there, and once was iduring the 2002 recession. Neither time was I ever checked up on. I didn't even keep a worksheet, really, since jobs in my industry are generally word-of-mouth, friend-of-a-friend type things, anyway. Don't know how much may have changed in the last 7 years, but that was my experience.
posted by dersins at 1:20 PM on March 12, 2009

Don't take this as gospel, but I live in NYC and I've never known anyone who was called to task by the DOL over their unemployment check.
posted by mkultra at 1:21 PM on March 12, 2009

I've been sent questionnaires and I've had to answer a few pretty vague questions. I think keeping a record is a safe bet and also it's just good for you because it shows you that you're being proactive.
posted by sweetkid at 1:28 PM on March 12, 2009

It's very random. I was one of 13 people laid off from my last job in 2006. I was the only who ended up having to go in for a "training session" and interview. If you get the questionnaire send it in as soon as possible. I'm positive that the reason I was called in was because I was a week late sending back a questionnaire (It was a postcard thing that got caught in a catalog).

So I had to go into their offices on 125th St. I sat through some training video and presentation about the tools that the DOE has to offer job seekers. Then I had an interview with a "counselor" who looked over my info, looked up, and said "You make more than me" and let me got without a hassle. Then I had to keep a sheet with all the resumes I sent out and interviews I went to over the next month. I think I had to go back one more time and turn it in. It was clearly perfunctory. I was honest in what I had been doing, but since I work in a specialized field, I think I had sent out about 8-10 resumes, and maybe had one interview.

This was in the second month of my unemployment, and after that, I wasn't bothered again (I ended up being out of work for 5 months). I wouldn't sweat it. I think it's unlikely you'll get called, and if you do just show up and you should be fine.
posted by kimdog at 1:32 PM on March 12, 2009

I work in UI for a living as a programmer. Everyone here is correct. It is random and unlikely you will be selected. Most states right now don't even do the eligibility reviews because they are too busy and short staffed. However, I would like to add that on that off chance you do get selected you better have your records and they better be accurate/legitimate. If you falsify your work search you could be liable to fraud overpayment which means you have to pay back double of everything they gave you.
posted by birdlips at 1:39 PM on March 12, 2009 [1 favorite]

Based on the overwhelming amount of people that are being laid off and filing for UI, they are completely taxed beyond their means at this point. I was on hold for almost 45 minutes the other day and still did not get my question answered. If it takes more than 45 minutes to answer a ridiculously easy question, I highly doubt they have the time to find out if you are applying for jobs.

However, if you're really worried about it, just apply at a temp agency and give them ridiculously specific requirements for your dream job and just call them 2x/week to see if they have your dream job yet.
posted by banannafish at 4:03 PM on March 12, 2009

I got randomly selected for an interview while laid off and taking unemployment. As long as you're keeping your worksheet you're fine. My experience was, I showed up for the appointment, waited a long time, and was called back to sit with a middle aged woman in a cubicle. She looked at my worksheet and resume, asked a few questions about my previous job, and then together we looked through a database of jobs she had and she helped me apply for I think two of them.

I got the sense that this was about scooping up a big handful of people every month and making sure they understand and are capable of the basics of applying for a job. Probably if you don't have your act together at all, you get sent to some kind of training session (not to pick on kimdog, this probably varies by state).

The funny part about it to me was that the woman really had no idea what I did. My last job had been in software QA, and the job I remember applying for was QA at a jewelry manufacturer. I tried gently to explain to her that the two skill sets really aren't the same, but it wasn't registering, so I just applied for the jeweler job and went on my way. The whole thing took less than an hour.
posted by arcanecrowbar at 4:15 PM on March 12, 2009

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