What is a Waiver?
A waiver is a request to be forgiven for an overpayment of “federal benefits” because of an absence of fault and circumstances demonstrating that repayment would be unfair. A customer who received an overpayment of “federal benefits” may seek a waiver from repayment if:
- The claimant was not at fault for the overpayment; and
- Recovery of the overpayment would be contrary to equity and good conscience.
What does fault mean?
For purposes of federal waivers, a customer is at “fault” for a federal overpayment where DOL issued an overpayment determination finding that a willful misrepresentation was the cause of the federal benefit overpayment.
What if I was found to be at fault?
Under federal law, DOL cannot approve a waiver where you were found to be at fault. As a result, the determination finding you at fault for the federal benefit overpayment must be overturned before DOL can approve your waiver application. If you have not already done so, consider requesting a hearing on the determination(s) finding you to be at fault for a federal benefit overpayment. If that determination is ultimately overturned, submit your waiver application.
How We Review Waiver Applications
In making a waiver determination, NYSDOL will review your monthly sources of income against certain monthly expenses. If that net amount (income minus expenses) is less than 150% of the federal monthly poverty standard for your household size, then your request will likely be granted. If it is not, then we will review your request further to determine if it would be against equity and good conscience to recover the federal overpayments. During this phase, we will consider such things as the federal overpayment amount, your employment status, and any other factors relevant to the relative ability (financial hardship) or fairness (conscionability) of repayment. Some examples of circumstances that NYSDOL may consider include, but are not limited to:
- In connection with a claim for PUA or MEUC, you submitted correct documentation of your earnings, but NYSDOL calculated the benefits using the wrong method.
- You were eligible for UI benefits, but NYSDOL paid you PUA or PEUC at a higher weekly benefit amount.
How to Apply
In an effort to process your application quickly, we use DocuSign for our English and Spanish customers who appreciate the convenience and efficiency of our online services. To request a DocuSign waiver application in either English or Spanish, simply ask Perkins, our online bot, at dol.ny.gov.
For customers who don’t use email and/or whose preferred language is not English or Spanish, simply request an application that is available in a total of 12 languages by:
- Calling us at (888) 209-8124, Monday – Friday, between 8:00 AM and 5:00 PM; or
- Mailing a request to NYS Department of Labor, PO Box 15131, Albany NY 12212-5131. Remember if submitting your waiver request through mail, please include your Social Security number and current email address.
Is the DocuSign waiver process easy?
Yes! Thousands of New Yorkers have already used our DocuSign waiver process. For most, it takes just a few minutes to complete and submit. When it arrives in your inbox, simply read the instructions, click the "Review Document" button to view the form, answer each question, and click “Finish” to submit. Many customers have even completed and submitted DocuSigns from their mobile phones!
Note that the DocuSign link expires in 30 days. After 30 days, you may request a new waiver application.
How long will it take to get a decision?
Most customers are receiving responses less than two weeks after completing and submitting the DocuSign. Some may take longer and DOL may contact you if additional information is necessary.
If I received a determination approving my waiver, do I need to do anything?
If you received a determination from DOL approving your waiver application, you are all-set. Allow our system a week or two to adjust your account and remove the non-willful federal overpayment.
If you already paid some or all of the waivable amount and have no other overpayments of file, DOL will refund that sum back to you using the payment method used within the last 18 months; If you haven’t received a payment within 18 months or want to change your payment option or contact information, go to Online Services For Individuals.
What if I haven’t received my application yet?
If you requested a waiver application but have not received one, it may be because DOL records indicate that you do not have an overpayment subject to the federal equity and good conscience waiver standard for one of the following reasons:
- There is no overpayment associated with your account; or
- The overpayment is based upon the payment of state (regular) unemployment benefits; or
- An overpayment determination found that a willful misrepresentation caused the federal overpayment.
Review your records or login to your account for more information.
If DOL determined that a willful misrepresentation caused the overpayment, then that determination must be overruled before DOL can approve your waiver application. If this applies to you, refer to your determination and consider requesting a hearing on that determination. If the finding of willful misrepresentation is overturned and final, follow the prompts on DOL’s website to request a waiver application.
Can I Appeal the Overpayment Determination?
If you disagree with the overpayment determination or waiver denial, you have the right to request a hearing. The hearing will be conducted by an impartial judge who is employed by the Unemployment Insurance Appeal Board. If you are present at the hearing and lose all or part of the case, you may file an appeal to the Appeal Board. If the Appeal Board does not rule in your favor, you have 30 days from the date of the Appeal Board's decision to apply to the Appeal Board for a reconsideration of the decision, or appeal to the Appellate Division of the State Supreme Court, Third Department.
We will not try to collect payments from you while your appeal is in progress. Any payment you made will be refunded if you are found eligible for benefits.
For more information on how to request a hearing, visit https://uiappeals.ny.gov/request-hearing.
To repay the overpayment, please make your check or money order to the Unemployment Insurance Division and mail it to:
Unemployment Insurance Division
New York State Department of Labor
P.O. Box 1195
Albany, New York 12201-1195
Be sure to write your Social Security account number on each check or money order.
If you are unable to pay off this overpayment in full, you can set up a payment plan by calling the Collections Unit at 800-533-6600 or writing to the Unemployment Insurance Division at the address listed above. Do not call 800-533-6600 to dispute your overpayment. You will need to appeal the determination as described below.
Claimants with a non-willful overpayment will see a 50% reduction of their weekly benefits until the overpayment is fully recovered. Claimants with willful overpayment determinations see a 100% reduction of their weekly benefits until the overpayment is fully recovered.
“Federal Benefit” Programs Subject to Waiver:
- Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation
- Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation
- Pandemic Unemployment Assistance
- Lost Wages Assistance
- Mixed Earners Unemployment Compensation
- 2008 Emergency Unemployment Compensation
For additional information about federal benefit programs subject to waiver, please see Unemployment Insurance Program Letters (UIPLs) for the program.