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Filing For Unemployment In New York? Hold The Line, Please.

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New York’s unemployment website and phone system have been inundated with people trying to file for new unemployment claims. The state says hundreds of people are working to fix the problems.

John Malgioglio, an audio engineer in Ronkonkoma, said his coworkers were some of the first to be laid off as the coronavirus shut down public gatherings. And all of them have been calling the Department of Labor trying to file a new claim.

“Someone showed me a screen shot. They had called 87 times with no luck.”

Malgioglio posted online a public tip sheet on navigating the state Department of Labor phone system. He says the best strategy is to basically spam the system with as many calls as possible.

“It’s like you have to sit there, get some coffee, get some tea, and get ready to get hung up on a bunch of times.”

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo apologized for the system not working. He says there are several tech companies working to solve the problem. Cuomo’s budget director, Robert Mujica, says a normal week the system handles 50,000 claims.

“We got 1.2 million calls yesterday and 7.8 million calls last week. But like the governor says, we have all our resources devoted to this.”

The state Department of Labor says New Yorkers should continuing trying to call. It reassures filers that unemployment benefits are retroactive to the date workers lost their job, not when they can finally file a claim.

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Charles is senior reporter focusing on special projects. He has won numerous awards including an IRE award, three SPJ Public Service Awards, and a National Murrow. He was also a finalist for the Livingston Award for Young Journalists and Third Coast Director’s Choice Award.
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