Press Release

YKASEC, AALDEF Korean Workers Project Announce New Korean-Language Guide to Unemployment Insurance

YKASEC and the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF) Korean Workers Project announced the publication of the first-ever Korean-language booklet on New York State unemployment insurance (UI) benefits.

According to statistics from the New York State Department of Labor, the limited-English-proficient (LEP) Korean-language workforce was the fourth-largest in New York State, and 30% larger than the Polish-speaking population. Compared to other populations, however, Korean workers drastically underutilize the benefits—only 96 Korean-language speakers received UI benefits in 2003-2004, compared to 396 Polish speakers.

Many eligible Korean workers do not receive UI benefits because they face serious language barriers when trying to apply for, certify, and receive UI benefits. Mr. “Oh,” an unemployed Korean worker, applied for UI benefits in May 2005. His former employer underreported his wages, so Mr. Oh’s weekly benefits was less than $65 instead of the $250, but Mr. Oh was unable due to his lack of English to get this benefit rate changed. In addition, Mr. Oh could not certify weekly because the certification system is only offered in English, and his claim was finally invalidated as a result.

The AALDEF Korean Workers Project and YKASEC have created a new Korean-language guide to UI benefits in New York State to help overcome these language barriers for Korean workers. This 10-page, full-color guide is the first Korean-language publication about unemployment insurance benefits, and offers information on eligibility, application procedures, and the amount and duration of benefits. This publication is available free-of-charge at either YKASEC’s office in Flushing or AALDEF’s office in Manhattan, and may be downloaded at (/uploads/pdf/korean_unemployment_guide.pdf). The guide was published through a generous grant provided by the Lucius N. Littauer Foundation.

AALDEF Korean Workers Project Director Steven Choi said, “Too many workers in the Korean community have simply not known about the benefits like unemployment insurance and workers compensation. We hope this new booklet will help get these benefits to the people were designed for—workers in dire need.”