Update & contacting lawyer when my manager returns

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-24-1997
Update & contacting lawyer when my manager returns
5
Mon, 08-26-2013 - 8:46pm

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. 

Kathy

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-16-2009

Good luck. It sounds like you could qualify under that self-employment program. I know it is irkersome that those former colleagues are abusing the system but they may one day get caught.

Avatar for sabrtooth
iVillage Member
Registered: 12-03-1999

The Self-Employment Assistance Program (SEAP) gives you an opportunity to start a business and create your own job while receiving UI benefits.  If accepted into the SEAP, you will work full-time at starting your own business and you will not be required to look for other work.

Before starting your business, you must participate in an SEAP orientation, apply for the program, and be approved for it. During the orientation, you will:

  • Learn what the SEAP requires
  • Receive an SEAP application
  • Learn about the risks and responsibilities that come with starting a business

Before you can start or operate your own business while collecting UI benefits, you must:

Comply with program requirements

  • Receive written acceptance into the SEAP program

This seems fairly straightforward.  Plus, you yourself told us that you "got a job with Coldwell Banker".  Coldwell Banker pays you your commission, takes taxes out of the commission check, offers you --as an employee-- health insurance, disability insurance, and a 401k.  That does not sound like a self-employed/independent contractor.  Sorry.

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-24-1997

Spart tooth - correction on your part. I am self employed.  I am not employed with Coldwell Banker.  I signed an independent contractor agreement.  Coldwell Banker does take deduct or report any taxes from an agent's commission sales.  Ex. When you sell your house, the seller writes a certified check to the broker (Coldwell Banker) for $15,000.  Out of $15,000. the broker takes their cut and the balance goes to the agent.  It is the agent's responsibility to pay their own taxes, health insurance, IRA, education costs, legal fees, marketing.  Sales agents are not entitled to have a 401K plan because they are not employed with a broker.   As many sellers hate paying the 6% commission rate, I understand but we explain why we charge the 6%. 

Sorry for the typos, but I'm having difficulty typing on an iPad.  Next posting is on the desktop.  

Kathy

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-24-1997
2nd sentence should read Coldwell does NOT take or deduct taxes from commissions

Kathy

Avatar for sabrtooth
iVillage Member
Registered: 12-03-1999
My bad. I must've misread the Coldwell Banker website. Good luck.