The New York State Department of Labor has been hit hard by the coronavirus. Tens of thousands of workers throughout the state who have lost their ability to earn an income have filed unemployment insurance claims. Their inquiries and applications have overwhelmed existing infrastructure and caused service interruptions. Call centers have experienced more than 150,000 calls daily versus approximately 10,000 calls per day on average before the outbreak. Website logins have passed 250,000 per week versus approximately 42,000 the previous week.
In a press release, the Department of Labor stated that staff are “working as hard as we can to ensure that all benefits are paid, and appreciate your patience.”
To handle the skyrocketed requests, server capacity has been increased to handle calls and logins. More call center workers have been hired and more than 700 employees are processing claims. Additionally, all claims will be backdated to the exact date of unemployment and filing has been spread out so that people can only file on a specific day Monday through Wednesday based on the first letter of their last name. For example, people with last names that start with A-F file on Monday, G–N on Tuesday, and O–Z on Wednesday. Thursday and Friday have been set aside for filers who missed their filing days.
Call center hours at 888-209-8124 have been extended from 8 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Friday, and 7:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturday.