Some making progress with new unemployment system upgrades, others not as much

Local

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Following an unprecedented spike in COVID-19 related unemployment applications, the New York State Department of Labor said they made some changes to boost capacity in order to make the process a little bit easier.

Chris Johnson, of Cohoes, told NEWS10 ABC that while his girlfriend was able to successfully submit an application, he has not had the same luck. He said he’s made thousands of calls a day and only once he was able to get through to someone in a subdivision.

He said that person told him he would be documented as someone trying to submit a claim but that he needed to keep calling back to speak with an actual unemployment specialist to complete the application process. As of Friday, he said he had still been unable to get connected to a specialist. He did, however, receive an automated call from the Department of Labor around 10:30 a.m Friday,

“It said we recognize you have been trying to file a claim. We know that you are on our list and to stop calling. We’ll call you, basically. So to hear that there is some type of acknowledgment, finally, I’m hopeful that we’re at least taking a step in the right direction,” said Johnson.

Patrick Giaminelli, of Schenectady, told NEWS10 he submitted an online application several weeks ago. He, like many others, was told that he had to speak with a specialist over the phone to complete it. He said he’s called more than 800 times a day with no luck getting through.

“When I punch in my social security number and PIN ID it says you’re information is already in the system, but you need to talk to a customer service representative and you need to call back… click,” said Giaminelli.

With the new guidelines released, he said he understands that they will now instead be reaching out to him, but he said he has yet to receive the same automated call that Johnson did.

“I did not, and that’s why I’m very frustrated. I do understand with the pandemic and everything and the influx of calls, I do understand that. Still, at least give me something to give me hope,” said Giaminelli.

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