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Cuomo Asks For Patience With Clogged State Unemployment Website

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo speaking March 26, 2020.

Governor Andrew Cuomo says many New Yorkers trying to get through to the state’s websites and phone lines to apply for unemployment aid are facing long waits and crashing systems amid the coronavirus pandemic.

He says the Labor Department normally gets 50,000 calls regarding unemployment a week, now it is getting more than one million calls a day, 1.2 million Monday and 7.8 million over the past week. 

“It’s not working as smoothly as I’d like it to,” said Cuomo, who said the state is working with “literally hundreds” of tech experts to try to fix it. “It’s compounding people’s stress.”  

“I apologize for the pain,” the governor said. “It must be infuriating to deal with.”  

The governor says once people get through and get signed up, they will get their benefits retroactively, to the date that they lost their jobs.

Karen DeWitt is Capitol Bureau chief for New York State Public Radio, a network of public radio stations in New York state. She has covered state government and politics for the network since 1990.