Update & contacting lawyer when my manager returns

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-24-1997
Update & contacting lawyer when my manager returns
Mon, 08-26-2013 - 8:45pm

Apologies in advance if I sound like venting but I'm kind of pissed.  I went to NY Dept. of Labor to claim my unemployment benefits & came upon this notice:  Governor Cuomo signed legislation into a law on March 29th (same day I was laid off) that New York State needs to reimburse the Federal Government for borrowed money to pay unemployment benefits, modernizing and making the unemployment insurance trust fund solvent PLUS increasing benefits for unemployed workers.  Also he extended the Self Employment Assistance Program which allows long term workers to start their own businesses while collecting unemploymet benefits.  Starting Oct. 1, penalties will incur on individuals claiming benefits unlawfully.  There is an application I can download if I want to avoid penalties and return any money claimed.

So after reading the fine print, technically I'm not entitled to any unemployment and I may have to return the money collected since July 1.  Here's the tricky part which I believe can work in my favor.  If I claim I'm an independent contractor or self employed, it seems New York wants people to start their own business and if NY is willing to help me with unemployment to get started, I should be able to collect.  Since my appt. is Sept. 5th, I'm hoping I can speak to a real estate attorney (since I paid the legal fees) and have the attorney write a letter stating I'm working with Coldwell Banker, paid X amount for training, legal fees, etc. and approx. the # of months before I should be earning a commission. 

What really irritates me is I paid $10. every week for NY withholding x 13 yrs. and now when I need to collect unemployment, I'm having this difficulty?  A colleague who was also laid off (from a different Staples store) is working at 2 different bars as a bartender OFF THE BOOKS so he can collect unemployment.  Another colleague retired and is collecting unemployment.  Another colleague is in Mexico visiting family.  And the list goes on.  So I'm doing the right thing but I still need NY to help me out.  The alternative would be if I was a single Mom, I would have to claim welfare & SNAP (food assistance).  And the alternative would burden taxpayers more.  Being married to a high school teacher with a good income & benefits affords me the luxury of working by choice vs. working by need and the ability to be self employed without receiving a weekly paycheck.  But the fact is if I didn't have these options, I'd be on welfare right now or I would be forced to take the 1st job that came along even if it was a part time job at McDonald's.

So, preparing for the worst and hoping for the best.