To address ongoing delays with unemployment claims from New Yorkers in need of aid, the NYS Senate approved a bill co-sponsored by Senator Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr. that would require the State Department of Labor (DOL) to notify applicants within 30 days of whether their initial claims for jobless benefits have been accepted or denied.
“Ever since the COVID pandemic hit in 2020, many thousands of residents have faced job losses and the State Department of Labor has been inundated with requests for unemployment assistance,” said Addabbo. “My office has been actively helping hundreds of applicants for jobless aid who have sometimes waited months to learn the status of their claims. It’s a very critical and frustrating situation for people who are having difficulties purchasing basic necessities and keeping roofs over their heads without any source of income.”
Apart from requiring the DOL to notify claims applicants of their eligibility to receive benefits within 30 days, the legislation provides an exception to the Department when exigent circumstances prevent the agency from making a final determination within this timeframe. However, the Department is then required to notify the applicant of a new estimated timeframe for a determination; the retroactive date of any approved benefits, and how the claimant may confirm the status of the determination.
“The pandemic has had a devastating impact on virtually all of us – including the tragic loss of too many innocent lives – and has been particularly hard for those who lost their livelihoods as a result of COVID’s ripple effect on our economy,” said Addabbo. “This legislation would help ensure greater accountability from the DOL to people who are very anxiously waiting to learn whether they will receive unemployment benefits in these very difficult times.”
Now that the bill has passed the Senate, it is under review by the Assembly Committee on Labor.