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New Yorkers experience trouble with unemployment claims as applicants flood system

Nearly 3.3 million people in the U.S. applied for unemployment benefits last week. But many New Yorkers haven’t even been able to apply as the system is being flooded.

News 12 Staff

Mar 27, 2020, 10:00 PM

Updated 1,570 days ago

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Nearly 3.3 million people in the U.S. applied for unemployment benefits last week. But many New Yorkers haven’t even been able to apply as the system is being flooded.
News 12’s Jessica Cunnington talked to some New Yorkers for a glimpse at what the process has been like.
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Ebony Franklin worked at a Brooklyn day care that closed down March 18 amid the coronavirus pandemic.
“It's like you're just stuck, you're stuck in one spot and you don't know what to do,” says Franklin. “After I lost my mind for a good hour, I was like OK, let me get on the computer and try, and I haven't gotten through to unemployment since.”

More than 1.7 million calls came in last week from New Yorkers filing unemployment claims, according to the state Department of Labor. But many people haven’t been able to speak to a representative yet.
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Timothy Orlando, of the Bronx, has also been trying to file for unemployment since last Monday.

“I think twice I got to the phase where you enter your Social Security, and then it says, 'Oh, we're sorry, we're experiencing higher-than-normal calls,'” says Orlando.
One woman shared with Cunnington a screenshot of the more than 200 times she called in one day.
The Department of Labor advises people to keep trying. It says once a person does get through, the benefits will be retroactive to the day they were out of work.
Councilman Mark Treyger, the chair of the Superstorm Sandy Recovery Committee, is proposing the government partner with the nonprofit sector on a crisis case management system.
“Actually it's a win-win, where we save many community-based organizations, we keep them afloat, we help our constituents and we reduce the workload from these agencies that are clearly, clearly overwhelmed,” says Treyger.
The $2.2 trillion rescue package signed by President Donald Trump today tacks on $600 a week to regular state payments through the end of July.


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