New York set to launch revamped unemployment application website
A staggering 16.8 million Americans have lost their jobs over the last three weeks, and a flood of unemployment applicants led the state to unveil a new, stream-lined process.
John Downs, from Deer Park, says he has been trying to apply for unemployment benefits with the state, but hasn't been able to get anyone on the phone since he started calling on March 20.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo says the state Department of Labor was inundated with calls, crashing the system. His office says so far there have been 800,000 unemployment claims in New York, and they've been able to complete 600,000.
But now, Cuomo says the department's site has been updated.
"We're working with Google to come up with an online mechanism that bypasses any phone certification," Cuomo says.
As of Friday at 7:30 a.m., the new system is supposed to be online. Officials say there are fewer questions to fill out in the applications.
The governor's office adds that if there are any problems with your form, do not make any calls because someone will call you.
"They're going to be reaching out directly to the people so they don't have to go through this infuriating process of calling and getting busy signals and thereby collapsing the system," says Melissa DeRose, secretary to the governor.
Cuomo says 1,000 Department of Labor employees are working the phones, and it will take 72 hours for someone to call you back to work out any issues with the application.
According to Cuomo, benefits will be retroactive from the moment you became unemployed.
PHOTOS: The world copes with the spread of COVID-19