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  1. #1

    Default Getting Unemployment Benefits if Out of Country Due to Medical Reasons

    My question involves unemployment benefits for the state of: New York

    I'm afraid I may already know the answer to this question, but just in case: is there any flexibility in the requirements that a person must currently be in the US to receive unemployment benefits, or is it a totally black and white issue?

    I ask on behalf of a close friend who was injured while visiting family abroad and was advised by her doctors to stay rather than return to the US. After a month she lost her job and eventually applied for unemployment, not realizing the conflict here. She was absolutely looking for work online the entire time, and even interviewing over the phone. If she had found something she certainly would have returned. The extended stay was primarily the result of losing her health coverage and not being able to afford care in the US. There was no intention of fraud at all, and no information was concealed or misrepresented during the application process. I believe the claims officer was even told about her location when she spoke with him on the phone.

    Anyway, now she is back in the US and has just received a letter from the state implying that she may now have to return any money she has received over the last 3 months. After the medical bills already incurred, this is basically going to ruin her. Is there any recourse here? I just can't find any similar accounts, so I wanted to know what to expect. On a related note, should the state demand return of the money, would that typically be expected in full or would there at least be some kind of payment plan?

    Thanks! sorry if this question sounds dumb, but I had to ask someone. Just hate to see a girl kicked when she's down..

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Getting Unemployment Benefits if Out of Country Due to Medical Reasons

    The issue is likely less that she's abroad, as she could attempt to make the case that she would return to the U.S. for any interviews or employment opportunities, and more that she appears to have both quit her job and remained abroad because she's medically unable to work. To qualify for unemployment you must be capable of taking a new job. With an extended overseas stay for medical treatment, even assuming that the circumstances under which she ended her prior job are deemed excusable, it will likely be difficult to convince the state that she was in fact ready to return to the U.S. at a moment's notice.

    If it is determined that money is due back to the state, depending on the circumstances the state may request reimbursement (in which case she can ask about payments) or may wait until she next applies for benefits and delay the payment of the new benefit until that amount has been recovered. Many states also permit unemployed persons to ask that repayment be waived; I have not investigated what New York's policies are and, even assuming waiver is possible, can't promise that she would qualify, but if she's ordered to repay benefits that is something she should explore.

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