ALBANY — As unemployment applications continue to come into the Department of Labor due to COVID-19, the state is working to clear the backlog and streamline the process.
The governor’s secretary, Melissa DeRosa, says they’ve made “a significant dent” in the backlogged claims. Plus, 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 8 has gone down to about 4,300.
“So that’s all been cleared, those phone calls all happened,” said DeRosa. “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. DeRosa 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.
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.
“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,” DeRosa says.