ALBANY, NY – As unemployment applications continue to come into the Department of Labor due to COVID-19, the state is working to clear the backlog.
NewsChannel 34’s Corina Cappabianca has more on what improvements are being made to help people get their checks quicker.
The Governor’s Secretary says they’ve made ‘a significant dent’ in the backlogged claims.
And, there’s now more than 3,000 Department of Labor representatives working to process applications.
The State Department of Labor says the unemployment application ‘call backlog’ of 275,000 before April 8th has gone down to about 4,300.
((Melissa DeRosa, Secretary to the Governor)) So that’s all been cleared, those phone calls all happened. Those applications are closed. Now those applications get inputted and the comptroller starts to process the checks.
The Department of Labor partnered with Google and Verizon to improve the state’s unemployment website.
The Secretary to the Governor says the backlog of people should start seeing their money come in this week.
She says choosing the direct deposit option can speed things up.
((Melissa DeRosa, Secretary to the Governor)) Others choose to get their money on a debit card, that’s a longer process that takes about a week to come in the mail, so if you can I would encourage people to go the direct deposit route.
Also new today, the department of labor announced a ‘new streamlined application’ for pandemic unemployment assistance for those who are unable to work due to the pandemic.
Those who may qualify for the federal program include gig workers, farmers, self-employed people and independent contractors.
((Melissa DeRosa, Secretary to the Governor)) You can now fill out one application, put in all the information and the department of labor determines if you are not able to get regular unemployment insurance it will automatically put you into pandemic unemployment insurance so you don’t have to wait, get rejected, reapply.
So far the state Department of Labor says it has paid about 2.2 billion dollars in unemployment insurance benefits to more than one million people.