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DOL says unemployment backlog is improving

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DOL officials said yesterday they’ve “significantly reduce” a backlog of unemployment benefit applications that’s swelled as an influx of jobless New Yorkers seek relief during the pandemic.

Since then, nearly 2 million applications have been processed for over $10B paid.

Submissions that remain unprocessed include those that are missing critical information, duplicates, and abandoned claims.

Additionally, since the passage of the Federal CARES Act, more than 560k applicants have received Pandemic Unemployment Assistance benefits.

“No one could have predicted the wave of unemployment applications that crashed over the United States because of the COVID-19 pandemic, and every state is struggling — but New York has moved faster than any other state to address our backlog and get money into New Yorkers’ hands. To date, we have paid out over $10 billion dollars during this crisis, compared to just $2.1 billion in total last year,” NYS Labor Commissioner Roberta Reardon said. “Those claims that have been outstanding for weeks are ones that we simply cannot process — we have already attempted to contact all of these New Yorkers, and we will continue to try get in touch with everyone who applied so we can connect them with the benefits they are eligible for.”

The numbers for applications submitted pre-4/22 are as follows:

1,194,933: Paid
20,801: Not Paid – Need Certification
7,580: Not Paid – Partial Claims missing Information Needed to Process

Over the weekend, the Department of Labor analyzed the outcome of applications that were filed on or before April 22nd in an effort to quantify the size of the unemployment benefit backlog.

This analysis found that 7,580 applications filed before that date had not been processed. The DOL is unable to process these applications because they either contained incorrect or missing information, are duplicates, or had been abandoned by the claimant. The Department of Labor has attempted to contact all of these New Yorkers and will continue trying to reach them to complete their application or close out their claim.

Examples of missing or incorrect information that prevents an application from being processed include a Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN) and address for an individual’s former employer or an applicant’s Social Security Number.

Last month, the Department of Labor issued a directive reminding New York-based businesses they have a legal obligation to provide unemployed New Yorkers with the information they need to apply for benefits, including the company’s FEIN and address.

Another 15,831 applications are going through final processing — which includes a check for fraud and identity theft. These claims will either become payable in the coming days or be flagged for additional review by anti-fraud specialists.

In addition, applications for 20,801 New Yorkers who applied before April 22nd have been processed but not paid because those individuals have not submitted federally-mandated weekly certifications.

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