Unemployed New Yorkers still having difficulties getting benefits

NY Capitol News

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the nation’s unemployment rate now sits at 14.7 percent.

More than 20 million jobs were lost in April, and in New York, some people are still struggling to receive their benefits

“We paid out $2.1 billion in all of 2019 in unemployment insurance. In the last seven weeks, New York has paid out $6.8 billion to 1.6 million people,” Secretary to Governor Cuomo Melissa De Rosa said at Friday’s press briefing.

To get a hold on the volume, the state partnered with Google and Verizon to improve the unemployment website. In April, they also announced a “new streamlined application” for pandemic unemployment assistance, and the Department of Labor increased the amount of representatives. 

But some say more work needs to be done. 

Assemblymember Mary Beth Walsh is calling on the labor department to “improve performance.” In a statement, she says her office still receives several “pleas for help” on any given day.

“While the initial increase of representatives on the phones from 1,000 to 3,000 was a good-faith effort that seemed like it would help expedite the complexities of this process, it has definitely proven not to be enough.”

Assemblymember Mary Beth Walsh

“We’re continuing to streamline the process; we’re adding more bodies. We’re throwing literally everything we can at it, and again, none of that matters to people who are still struggling and who are waiting to get money put into the bank,” DeRosa said.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said it’s an issue that’s overwhelming all states.

“If we had spent $20 million to upgrade the tech system and it wasn’t necessary or there wasn’t a crisis at the moment, I’m sure we would have been getting phone calls from publications saying why are you wasting $20 million in taxpayer money on a tech system. So we are literally building the plane while we’re trying to fly it,” DeRosa said.


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