ALBANY — New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and his top aide are defending the state’s handling of an avalanche of jobless claims in the past five weeks.
At his daily COVID-19 news briefing on Thursday, the Governor acknowledge frustrations expressed by New Yorkers trying to collect benefits.
Cuomo was asked about the complaints news organizations continue to receive from the jobless who can’t get their claims processed.
He said New York had done “far more, far faster than I think any other state in the country, and the number of people who have gotten assistance is mind boggling. But none of that matters. For a person, there is only one check that matters, and that is their check, and I get that.”
Melissa DeRosa, Secretary to the Governor said the majority of cases that remained backlogged are those of the self employed, independent contractors, or gig workers, who typically aren’t covered under unemployment insurance.
On March 27, Congress passed the CARES act which covered those workers, but DeRosa says in intial requirements that people applying for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance be rejected by traditional unemployment first.
The state earlier this week unveiled a streamlined application process.
When businesses began closing in mid-March because of COVID-19, the state unemployment phone system and computer systems continually crashed as the systems could not keep up with the number of new claims.
The U.S. Labor Department reported Thursday that 4.4 million Americans filed new unemployment insurance claims last week, bringing the total for the month since COVID-19 hit to 26 million.
That wipes out all the job gains since the depths of the Great Recession of 2008.