Thursday, March 1, 2012

NEW YORK UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE HEARINGS - CREDIBILITY ISSUES

In determining credibility issues, the DOL is guided by certain principles and practices as set forth in Review Letters. I will begin with the following from the DOL website "REVIEW LETTER 1-2009, March 2009, UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE – PRINCIPLES & PRACTICES" - the following is the introductory paragraph:

"In difficult economic conditions the unemployment insurance system becomes increasingly important. As has happened often before, a rise in the unemployment rate and the resulting extension of benefits requires that the department provide services to larger numbers of people for longer periods. These are the precise circumstances for which unemployment insurance was created. This Review Letter is intended to re-affirm the Department’s mission to pay Unemployment Insurance benefits when due to those who lose their jobs through no fault of their own. In the absence of credible, sufficient evidence that a denial of benefits is appropriate, prompt payment of benefits claimed is our highest priority.

As part of the Department of Labor, the UI Division also shares a duty to extend the protection of Labor Laws to all entitled workers. This Review Letter will also discuss that perspective in the context of some selected issues that have been the subject of recent decisions by the Appeal Board and Department initiatives. In other instances, an analysis rooted in the purpose of the system has given rise to a new view of an old problem.

The unemployment insurance system, enacted during the Great Depression, serves several purposes. It fulfills a humanitarian objective clearly defined in Section 501 of New York’s Unemployment Insurance Law that declares the public policy of the state as follows:

“Economic insecurity due to unemployment is a serious menace to the health, welfare, and morale of the people of this state. Involuntary unemployment is therefore a subject of general interest and concern which requires appropriate action by the legislature to prevent its spread and to lighten its burden, which now so often falls with crushing force upon the unemployed worker and his family.”

The system’s second, broader aim is to minimize the effect of a national economic downturn or recession, by putting money into circulation during periods of high unemployment. These funds have been referred to as “high velocity dollars”, by which is meant that the money will be immediately spent. This rapid spending slows down the vicious cycle of a recession whereby layoffs cause loss in income, followed by reductions in consumer spending, which in turn leads to further business failures and layoffs caused by reduced sales revenue and lowered demand for products that people can’t afford to buy. Unemployment insurance also helps to prevent the dispersal of the employer’s trained labor force, the sacrifice of skills, and the breakdown of labor standards during temporary unemployment. Since its inception seventy seven years ago, the system has been a complete success. It is credited with having shortened recessions and it has provided a crucial safety net in hard times for millions of unemployed workers and their families."

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