The New York State Bar Association and state court system are offering pro bono legal services for people who need help in securing unemployment benefits. 

Starting this week, NYSBA says that people can go to their website and be matched with a lawyer that will help them through the appeal process, free of charge, if their unemployment claims were denied.

Since this pandemic began, 1.4 million New Yorkers have received unemployment benefits and more than $3 billion has been distributed by the state Labor Department.

“Hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers are out of work due to the coronavirus, and we know that some of them will need help to obtain the unemployment benefits to which they are entitled,” Chief Judge Janet DiFiore wrote.

The website created by NYSBA and the court system, gives directions on how to file either Unemployment Insurance or Pandemic Unemployment Assistance claims and next steps if those claims were denied. It will then help connect people to one of hundreds of lawyers from around the state than can provide legal assistance. 

"We know that unemployment benefits are a lifeline for many families, and we welcome the opportunity to provide assistance.” said NYSBA President Henry Greenberg.

“Becoming unemployed is one of the most stress-inducing things that can happen in a person’s life, and we are dedicated to reducing that anxiety any way we can. This program will help ensure New Yorkers can access the benefits they need and deserve,” said New York State Department of Labor Commissioner Roberta Reardon. 

The legal network is working to expand so it can help represent people through domestic violence incidents evictions and other cases that might be brought up during this time.

Lawyers who are interested in volunteering their services can go to this website to sign up. If you have specific questions about volunteering, please contact NYSBA via e-mail: