UTICA, N.Y. -- If you're one of 810,000 New Yorkers who have tried to file for unemployment benefits since March 9th, but have been met with brick walls, dropped calls and dead ends, things could start looking up as soon as tonight.
"Today between 5 and 7 p.m., the system is going to go down to reboot -- 7 o'clock, the new application goes online. It's streamlined, there are fewer questions and one you get to the end of that, if you succesfully fill it out, it's going to say 'you're finished with the application process," said Governor Andrew Cuomo's secretary, Melissa DeRosa, during the governor's daily coronavirus briefing, Thursday. "If there's any information that's left blank, it's going to say 'don't call us' we'll call you within 72 hours."
Lt. Governor, Kathy Hochul, said that the clock doesn't start ticking once an applicant finally gets through to the appropriate person, online or on the phone; it starts ticking when you lost your job.
"The checks will be released retroactive to the day you lost your job. Even if it takes two, three, four weeks to get the application done because of the extreme backlog we have," said Hochul.
Nationwide, the job statistics are grim; roughly one in ten workers lost their jobs in the past three weeks. New York has extended unemployment benefits 13 weeks, up to 39.
"Our first priority is to get people back to work, but there may be people whose jobs are gone forever, certain industries, certain restaurants, certain small businesses, that just aren't going to be able to get back up on their feet again," said Hochul.
To file an unemployment claim online, visit: labor.ny.gov.