ALBANY, N.Y. (WWNY) - Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, the state Department of Labor says it has paid out over $10 billion in unemployment benefits to more than 2 million New Yorkers.
The department also says the backlog of claims before April 22 has been reduced to 7,580, "representing major progress since an unprecedented crush of applications related to the COVID-19 pandemic flooded the DOL’s systems in March."
According to the DOL, the backlogged claims are missing critical information, are duplicates or have been abandoned.
It said another 20,801 claims have been processed, but can't be paid out until federally-mandated weekly certifications have been submitted.
“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,” said state Labor Commissioner Roberta Reardon.
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.
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, the DOL said.
According to the labor department, applications for 20,801 New Yorkers who applied before April 22 have been processed but not paid because those people have not submitted federally-mandated weekly certifications. By law, these certifications must be submitted before benefits are released.