New York Labor Dept. overwhelmed with applications


ALBANY, NY (WSYR-TV) The New York State Labor Department is flooded with calls and traffic to its website with New Yorkers trying to apply for unemployment benefits.

The department says its website is averaging 250,000 logins per day.

That is a 400% increase over the normal average.

On an average day the department reports it takes 10,000 calls, but on Tuesday this week it received 75,000 calls.

Some areas of New York have seen a 1000 percent increase in jobless claims.

A month ago, jobless claims were at a near record low.

Thursday, the U.S. Labor Department reported nationwide 281,000 people filed for unemployment, a 33 percent increase from the previous week.

The Washington Post reports that economists expect a million people will lose their jobs by the end of the month and March could be the worst for layoffs in American history.

So it is not surprising NewsChannel 9 has heard from our viewers running into problems filing a claim for unemployment insurance.

The New York Labor Department says the surge in online traffic has caused intermittent problems with their system.

Thursday the department said it was adding server capacity to handle the traffic and dedicated more than 700 people to address the influx.

More than 65 people are being hired to help and more will be added.

The New York Labor Department asks that you not call about the Families First Coronavirus Response Act which is a federal program just enacted to provide extended unemployment benefits.

If New York qualifies for that program you will get that automatically.

Earlier this week the department asked people to file claims alphabetically.

Based on the first letter of your last name, the labor department says you should file on: 

A-F on Monday 

G-N on Tuesday 

O-Z on Wednesday 

If you missed your day you can file on Thursday or Friday. 

Telephone filing hours have also been extended to the following hours: 

Monday-Thursday, 8 am-7:30 pm 

Friday, 8 am-6:00 pm 

Saturday, 7:30 am-8:00 pm 

From the department’s news release: “Filing later in the week will not delay payments or affect the date of an individual’s claim, since all claims are effective on the Monday of the week in which they are filed.” 

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