New York has paid out $10 billion in unemployment claims since March as the coronavirus pandemic began to sink the economy and shutter businesses, Department of Labor officials on Wednesday announced.
The benefits paid out over the last two months are nearly five times the total amount paid in unemployment insurance in all of 2019.
A backlog of 7,580 claims remain. Those claims reflect applications that had missing or incorrect information, were duplicates or have been abandoned.
An additoinal 20,801 claims have been processed, but cannot be paid out until a federally mandated weekly certification is issued.
“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," said Labor Commissioner Roberta Reardon. “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 backlog of claims has frustrated those who have lost their jobs or have been furloughed without pay during the pandemic. State officials have added more people to answer phones and more server space to handle the wave of people who have applied for unemployment.