During the COVID-19 pandemic, health care employees are overwhelmed with work. Due to New York’s shelter-in-place orders, many non-emergency transportation services have halted to focus on essential needs. If you’re a driver who was affected, you can take advantage of unemployment benefits during this time. Use the following guide to start claiming your funds as soon as possible.
Who Is Eligible for Unemployment Benefits in NY?
Typically, benefits are reserved for workers who have been laid-off, not fired or resigned. Self-employed people are usually also not eligible.
However, during the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. government is offering financial assistance to anyone whose work was interrupted by the virus, including independent contractors. Therefore, if you need assistance in paying your bills and your job was negatively affected, you are eligible for state benefits.
If you’re not eligible for New York unemployment benefits, you may still be able to receive federal assistance. This is listed as “Pandemic Unemployment Assistance” (PUA) under the C.A.R.E.S. act.
How Can You Apply for State Benefits Online?
Creating an Account
First, create an account with the Department of Labor. If you already have one, sign in on the page linked above.
If you’ve created an account in the past with another government agency, use this resource.
If you’ve already filed an application for benefits over the phone, wait one business day before setting up an account.
Filing as a Self-Employed NEMT Driver
Many non-emergency transportation services work with “self-employed” drivers. If this is your status, you must file as such. Follow the steps below to do so:
If you don’t have other sources of income, choose “One employer” on the dropdown menu when prompted about how many employers you have.
When asked about any sources of income, select “no” if you’ve lost the ability to make money from non-emergency medical transportation.
As a self-employed individual, you won't have a Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN) number from your employer. Leave the sections under MOST RECENT EMPLOYER INFORMATION, PART I, blank.
Under “Last Employer Name,” write “self-employed.” When asked for your employer’s telephone number and address, put your own.
Agape Transportation cares about their drivers. Based in the Bronx, NY, they offer non-emergency transportation services to clients throughout New York City and Westchester County. Their dedicated team of drivers has helped clients safely arrive at doctor’s appointments since 2012. Visit their website to learn more about their services, or call (718) 585-2222 with any questions.