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Cuomo On State Employment Process Frustrations: "I Get It"

File photo: New York Governor Andrew Cuomo
Pat Bradley
/
WAMC
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo

Complaints about New York’s unemployment offices continue, even though Governor Andrew Cuomo and his aides have said they are improving the antiquated system. 

Several days ago, the state simplified the forms and said applicants would get a call back from the state department of labor in 72 hours. Cuomo, during a briefing in Buffalo Tuesday, was asked about jobless New Yorkers who say the state failed to call them back during that time period. The governor says he understands the frustration.

“There’s nothing worse  than being unemployed, and nervous about a paycheck, and then you call for unemployment benefits, and you can’t get through on the phone,” he said. "I get it. I get it."

The system, which normally handles around 50,000 calls a week, had nearly 8 million calls in one week in late March and early April. Cuomo says the state has 1000 workers transferred from other departments to work on the volume of phone calls, which is working with Google to try to streamline the system.

On Monday, the state labor department issued a new application that fixed a glitch that required applicants to file twice, one for regular unemployment, and if they were rejected, to then file for the federal enhanced pandemic unemployment program. Now they just have to apply once. Cuomo says even if benefits are delayed, they will be retroactive to the date of the person’s job loss. 

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