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January 20, 2011

Eligibility for unemployment insurance determined by the law in place at the time of the filing of a claim for benefits

Eligibility for unemployment insurance determined by the law in place at the time of the filing of a claim for benefits
Dwyer v Commissioner of Labor, 273 A.D.2d 675

In June 1997 the Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board ruled that former Orange County Personnel Director Joseph M. Dwyer was entitled to unemployment insurance benefits.

The Board subsequently reopened its prior decision and on March 19, 1998 issued a ruling rescinding its June 1997 decision. This action reinstated a prior determination that Dwyer’s work as Orange County Commissioner of Personnel ending in November 1994 was excluded from coverage under Labor Law Section 565(2)(e) because it was a major nontenured policy making or advisory position. Dwyer did not appeal the Board’s March 1998 ruling.

On May 18, 1999 the Board agreed with the department that Dwyer had to pay a recoverable overpayment of $7,800 in unemployment insurance benefits. Dwyer appealed the May 1999 determination.

The Appellate Division affirmed the Board’s determination, noting that while Dwyer contended that the Board abused its discretion when it reopened its June 1997 decision in his favor, he did not appeal the March 1998 decision that held he was not eligible for unemployment insurance benefits. Accordingly, the court said it could not consider any challenge to the March 1998 ruling by the Board in this appeal.

The Appellate Division noted that while Section 597 was amended in 1998 so as to limit the recoverability of certain unemployment insurance overpayments, the legislation is not retroactive and applies only to benefit claims filed on or after May 19, 1998, the effective date of the amendment.

Accordingly, Dwyer was not covered by any of its provisions.

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