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    Posted February 25, 2009

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Unemployment Alert

New Interstate Arrangement in Effect For Combined Wage Claims

Effective January 6, 2009, the U.S. Department of Labor amended the definition of "paying state" to mean a single state against which a claimant elects to file a combined wage claim (CWC) provided the claimant has employment and wages in that state's base period and qualifies for UC in that state by combining employment and wages.

Prior to this new amendment, the paying state was the state in which the individual filed the CWC, usually the state where the claimant was physically located at the time of filing, provided the claimant qualified for benefits in that particular state. The new definition for a paying state is the state against which the individual elects to file a CWC, provided he/she has employment and wages in that state's base period and can meet the qualifications for unemployment benefits under the laws of that state by combining employment and wages.

This change in definition of "paying state" ultimately puts the responsibility of determining which state to file an unemployment insurance claim against in the hands of the unemployed worker. There is no order for determining which state to file against for benefits, such as the last state worked in, or the state where the individual resides. Under this current interstate arrangement, claims for Unemployment Insurance may be filed against any state where an individual has employment and wages and can meet the eligibility requirements of that state based solely on wage credits earned in that state or by combining wages earned in that state's base period.

If you have employment and earnings in any state and contact that state to file a claim for benefits, that state is now responsible to advise you not only of their eligibility requirements for UI benefits, but also to advise you of your options to file for benefits in any state where you have worked and earned wages. Even if the individual has no employment and no wages in the state, the state must provide general info about the CWC program and give that individual information on how to contact the states where he/she worked and had earnings.

The process for filing CWC has always been a bit more complicated for members of Actors' Equity and now this process has been made nearly impossible to navigate. Therefore, we suggest that you contact Valerie LaVarco in the New York Equity office prior to attempting to wade through the murky waters of this new interstate arrangement.

Equity is working with the AFL-CIO to try to get this ruling reversed, but that will not happen right away. In the meantime, If you have a combined wage claim, be patient and know that it will be a more complicated process. Valerie LaVarco can be reached at or (212) 869-8530 ext. 327.

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