Unemployment Insurance – Get Your Money
By Buzz Roddy
“Unemployment insurance is not charity – it is a right,” I hectored Members who attended AEA’s New York City seminar, “Unemployment Insurance – Get Your Money.”
We are indeed entitled to this money, but how to navigate the byzantine protocols of the various states’ departments of labor? What to do when Department of Labor claims specialists, unfamiliar with our category of employment, miscalculate or even deny our claims?
The October 7, 2013 seminar was hosted by the Membership Education committee. On hand was Unemployment Insurance (UI) expert Brian Curtis, Supervisor of Labor Disputes for the NY State Department of Labor. Mr. Curtis walked us through eligibility, filing a claim, and getting ones benefit rate correct. Possessing 36 years of experience and a gift of clarity, Curtis succeeded in delivering information in bite-sized chunks and answered members’ questions. (In other hands, these two hours might have been a snore-fest, but the discussion was lively and enlightening.) The seminar left Members empowered and even smiling with the knowledge that opening and managing an Unemployment Insurance claim is fully within their capabilities.
Some insights and advice:
• UI is not charity. It is a right.
So many actors who ask me about UI are either intimidated or ashamed about collecting. There is no reason to be either. Learning your states’ UI system and eligibility criteria, though daunting is not impossible. And you, as a dues-paying member have help—and she has a name: Valerie LaVarco, Equity Business Representative for Unemployment/Worker's Compensation. She is your go-to unemployment insurance specialist. If you have a problem or question, contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 212-869-8530.
Unemployment Insurance is for most of us a necessary bridge between jobs which allows us to keep up that dance class; pay the rent; eat. And this money has been set aside for your use.
Now - get your money!
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