'It’s just a dead end': New York unemployment backlog continues to pile up

More than 2 million New Yorkers have filed for unemployment insurance claims since the start of the pandemic in March.

News 12 Staff

May 18, 2020, 11:24 PM

Updated 1,465 days ago

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Many Hudson Valley residents say they are still struggling to collect their unemployment checks.
More than 2 million New Yorkers have filed for unemployment insurance claims since the start of the pandemic in March. According to the Department of Labor, 1.2 million of those claims submitted have been approved.
However, Linda Darin, of Mamaroneck, says she has been going on nearly seven weeks without her unemployment benefits.
"There's no one answering the phone, there's nobody assisting you, there's nobody helping anybody, it's just a dead end," she says.
Darin is a self-employed business owner. She says she's been forced to dip into her savings to get through the crisis.
 
"Thank goodness, because that's what I'm on relying on right now until, hopefully, I can get back to work again," she says.

New York State's Department of Labor Commissioner Roberta Reardon says since the beginning of March, they've paid over $9 billion in benefits.
 
"We have now paid nearly four-and-a-half years in benefits in a matter of two-and-a-half months," says Reardon. "That's good because it means it means millions of unemployed New Yorkers are getting support, but it also means that millions of New Yorkers are unemployed."

Still, the number of applicants in the claims backlog continues to soar. According to Commissioner Reardon, between March 2 and April 22, 50,000 applicants have been deemed ineligible for traditional unemployment insurance. They say these residents have been told to reapply for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance. Additionally, they say 16,000 applications are going through final processing, while 23,000 haven't even started processing due to reasons such as missing vital information or duplicate applications.

"I don't think that they were prepared for this so I have compassion for that, you know I'm not angry at it, but something has to be fixed now," says Darin.


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