In an ongoing effort to address widespread difficulties reported by New Yorkers struggling to file unemployment claims, the state plans to briefly take the Department of Labor system offline late this afternoon to make improvements, a top Cuomo administration official announced.
Melissa DeRosa, secretary to the governor, has been spearheading the administration's response to the overwhelming number of New Yorkers who are trying to access benefits after losing their jobs due to the COVID-19 crisis, said the system will go offline at 5 p.m. and come back at 7 p.m.
When the system comes back online, the form that New Yorkers need to fill out will be shorter and streamlined, DeRosa said. One of the problems that has emerged is that if an applicant leaves any question blank, they had previously received an alert that they needed to call the DOL to provide additional information.
That contributed to an avalanche of calls that has overwhelmed the DOL phone lines, resulting in applicants getting repeated busy signals and being unable to get through, even though DOL now has 1,000 people manning its phone lines.
DeRosa said the new protocol will be that is an applicant leaves anything blank, they will be told that they get a phone call from the DOL within 72 hours.
DeRosa again acknowledged that the situation is frustrating and infuriating, but also reiterated that the state has never before experienced this level of call volume into the DOL and asked New Yorkers for their patience while the administration addresses the issue.
The state is partnering with Google to address the online unemployment platform issues.
Even if they experience difficulty in filing their unemployment claim, the Cuomo administration is reassuring New Yorkers that benefits will be backdated to the time when they lost their job.