As the workforce takes a hit because of the coronavirus, some Western New Yorkers are being laid off to help ease the blow to employers. A Buffalo lawyer is urging people to get the process going of receiving their benefits.

“The most imperative thing is for people to apply for benefits immediately,” said Colligan Law attorney Joe Saeli.

Saeli said that should be your first step, if you’ve recently lost your job due to the coronavirus. It’s best to apply online here. After you send in your application and wait to claim your benefits, you may want to look at other services.

“If you don’t have any other significant income in their home and if you don’t have any source of health insurance, they should investigate possibly applying for Medicaid health insurance,” Saeli said.

Saeli said for the most part, you’ll be approved to get your benefits unless you were terminated for misconduct.

“If somebody is denied benefits for some reason, you have the right to request a hearing before a New York State Department of Unemployment Insurance judge, administrative law judge and if somebody is denied their benefits they should appeal immediately,” he said.

Governor Cuomo and President Trump recently signed bills into laws that allow those out of work because of the coronavirus to receive paid sick leave.

“Those eligible include, the first are people quarantined by the health department or by their health care provider. The second group of people is people who are experiencing symptoms of coronavirus and they’re seeking a medical diagnosis but no diagnosis has been made yet. The third group is people who are caring for somebody else who are quarantined either by the health department or by their physician. The fourth category is somebody who can’t come to work because they have to care for a child whose school closed and there’s no childcare available for that child,” he said.

For companies that have had to lay their staff off, Saeli believes when it’s time for them to rehire, they’ll most likely turn first to the employees they initially let go.

“When things pick up again, they usually look to those same people and see if they’re willing to come back to work because they already know the jobs and they’re familiar with the company,” he said.