Photo Courtesy of Sen. Addabbo’s Office
“The COVID-19 pandemic has put millions of New Yorkers out of work, more than during the Great Depression,” said Sen. Addabbo, pictured here at a job fair last year at Resorts World Casino New York City.
By Forum Staff
The State Department of Labor processed more than two million unemployment claims between March 8 and May 9—more than 2.5 years’ worth of claims in 60 days, State Sen. Joe Addabbo, Jr. (D-Howard Beach) reported Friday following a Zoom meeting with other State legislators and Labor Department Commissioner Roberta Reardon to discuss how the agency is handling the influx of claims due to the COVID-19 crisis.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has put millions of New Yorkers out of work, more than during the Great Depression,” Addabbo said.
The senator added that a number of factors could delay an individual’s unemployment claim, such as incorrect information given to the Department of Labor, the complexity of an individual’s work history, or the federal requirements of properly identifying the individual and certifying the benefits. More information is available at dol.ny.gov, Addabbo noted.
Governor Andrew Cuomo’s office recently sent out a release stating that the DOL has paid out more than $10 billion to over two million New Yorkers. The backlog of pending unemployment benefit applications that were filed before April 22 has been reduced to 7,580—which includes applications that are missing critical information and cannot be processed, duplicates, and abandoned claims. There are also an additional 20,801 claims filed before April 22 that have been processed, but cannot be paid until federally mandated weekly certifications are submitted.
In order to help process these unprecedented number of claims, the agency has rolled out a new, secure online system that allows New Yorkers to easily submit prior weeks’ certifications that they had missed. They have also expanded their workforce, with over 4,000 staff and 3,000 volunteers working 12-hour shifts, to make calls to those waiting to hear about the status of their claims.
According to the DOL, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act provides an additional $600 per week, on top of regular benefits, to all unemployment insurance and Pandemic Unemployment Assistance recipients.
“While great strides have been made at the Department of Labor to clear the backlog of claims, more still needs to be done,” Addabbo said. “I appreciate the hard work and dedication of the Department of Labor employees, and I want to thank Commissioner Reardon for keeping us legislators updated on this situation, as many of our constituents are concerned about their benefits. We need to continue to work together to ensure that all New Yorkers are able to financially survive this pandemic. I look forward to assisting my constituents with their unemployment claims.”
The senator also noted that his Howard Beach and Middle Village offices are open Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., and a staff member can be reached at (718) 738-1111 or (718) 497-1630. After 2 p.m., a 24/7 live operator is available. The building in which Addabbo’s Rockaway office is located is currently undergoing renovations and is therefore closed, but constituents on the peninsula can still call (718) 318-0702 to reach a staff member.