In an effort to loosen the logjam of thousands of unemployment claims in New York, the Department of Labor will provide further information to claimants about how to certify their benefits.
Claimants with completed unemployment applications are stuck in what some have called “pending purgatory” because they’re not going back to the department’s website to certify their benefits each week, Commissioner Roberta Reardon said on a press call Monday.
Tens of thousands of people haven’t been doing this step once their applications are approved, bringing their unemployment process to a screeching halt, the department claimed.
After filing for unemployment, in which an individual fills out a questionnaire about work history and other elements, the individual must go back to the site to certify, or "claim," their benefits each week that he or she is unemployed.
Every New Yorker who holds a completed application will receive both an email and a letter from the department with information on how to certify their benefits, Reardon said.
“We know that the end of this process is not having your application approved; it’s actually receiving your funds every week,” said Reardon.
Typically, the department mails this information to claimants after their applications are completed, but not everyone is getting their letters in a timely fashion because of delivery delays, she said. The information is also on the department website.
To claim your benefits, visit your account at labor.ny.gov/signin and enter your login information. Go to your Unemployment Services page, and click “Claim Weekly Benefits.”
To claim your benefits over the phone, call 1-888-581-5812 for Unemployment Insurance and 1-833-324-0366 for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance.
Here's what you need to know to complete your claims:
Many claimants haven’t received their benefits, despite having done every right on the website.
Some have been waiting six or seven weeks after applying for unemployment in mid-March and claiming each week since then.
“Our response time is a little slower than it would be in pre-pandemic days, but we are working meticulously through all of them,” Reardon said in response to why so many claims are still pending despite no apparent application issues or user error.
Not every claimant will get a call from the department, she noted.
Not every application requires more information from the claimant beyond what was initially entered into the website’s application form.
New Yorkers can get up to $504 a week in unemployment benefits, as well as $600 a week from the federal stimulus package.
The department recently began publicizing findings on the major roadblocks in the unemployment process, gleaned from nearly two months of crushing pressure on the decades-old system.
After overhauling the website and creating a new pandemic-related assistance program for those not included in typical unemployment insurance, the department pivoted to analysis on why the system is so backlogged.
Among the findings was the fact that many applicants weren’t including their federal employer identification number on their application, or were entering it incorrectly.
“This significantly slows down the application process,” Reardon said last week.
Businesses have a legal obligation to provide their employees with this information, and every New Yorker who is applying for unemployment insurance should have it on hand.
Self-employed individuals or independent contractors applying for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance may not have an FEIN, because they don’t have a traditional employer, Reardon said Monday.
People in that situation will instead be prompted by the application to enter a code signifying their work status.