Out-of-work New Yorkers stuck in 'pending purgatory' as they await unemployment assistance

At a time when many are out of work and filing for unemployment, the governor says the state won't be able to pay them without federal help.

News 12 Staff

Apr 27, 2020, 9:12 PM

Updated 1,449 days ago

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At a time when many are out of work and filing for unemployment, the governor says the state won't be able to pay them without federal help.
Hicksville's Maria Hickey and her husband are both self-employed but are now out of work due to the coronavirus pandemic. Both have filied for unemployment and New York's Pandemic Unemployment Assistance. They haven't seen a single dollar in seven weeks.
"I've been in pending purgatory, that's the word that everyone is using because the self-employed people aren't getting their claims put through," says Hickey.
Hickey joined a Facebook group related to self-employed peoples' issues getting help. The group now has 30,000 members.
"It seems a lot of us self-employed people are not getting the attention," says Hickey. "There's a lot of confusion, whether we are pending, or not even pending."
Hickey's personal struggles is playing out amid a national political back-and-forth about where money will come from to fund unemployment programs.
When asked if New York has enough to keep paying out unemployment, he said, "No. That's why the federal government has to provide funding, we don't have the money. How much do we need for unemployment? It depends how many people moving forward ask for unemployment benefits and how long it goes on, but it's in the billions of dollars."
Before Cuomo's daily news conference, President Trump tweeted:
 
The tweet didn't mention New York by name, but Cuomo responded by pointing out that every year, New York gives $29 billion more to the federal government than it gets back.
As for Hickey, she just wants the system fixed and promises kept.
"You offered to do it, put them through, put the money in our accounts so we can continue to live," she says. "Do what you promised to do because we're all kind of suffering here."
 


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