New Yorkers experience issues reapplying for unemployment

Posted at 4:15 PM, Apr 28, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-28 17:32:17-04

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Several viewers have contacted us in hopes of finding answers, as they try to reach the Department of Labor to get any information about their unemployment benefits.

Rebecca Hartwig, a mother of two, said her paperwork showed as "processed" on the DOL's website on April 8, but hasn't received any payments since.

She's tried calling at different times of the day.

"Nothing worked it just hangs up and says they're too busy," she said.

Danny Mendez from Buffalo said he's had issues applying for extended benefits and certifying each week.

"If you would like to speak to a representative - boom and it hangs up on you, that's all it does. And there is no live person to speak to," said Mendez.

"There's been times where I've just sat there and called 40 times in a row in the morning," said Morgan from Buffalo.

She said it's been difficult to support her family after almost a year without benefits.

We've contacted the Department of Labor with these stories, and a spokesperson said the best way to contact the department's unemployment specialists remains (888) 209-8124.

The spokesperson adds the department is updating its phone system and increasing communication with New Yorkers.

But Brittany from Niagara Falls said she never would have known the department never received a document from her had she not called repeatedly for weeks.

"And I'm like well, this is crazy because I call and I call and I call, and you never get through to anyone. No letters were sent out, no phone calls were made. So if a person is not constantly calling, how are they supposed to know that they were missing a document?"

The Department of Labor says as we've reached the one-year mark of the COVID pandemic, some people may have to reapply for benefits.

When they reapply, their benefits will stop until their new application is processed, and that can take two to three weeks.