BUFFALO, N.Y (WKBW-TV) — As New York State moves forward with reopening, there is still a large number of people who remain off work due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
As a result, the New York State Department of Labor (NYSDOL) announced that it has an Extended Benefits Program available for people who need coverage beyond the 26 weeks of traditional unemployment benefits that were offered before the pandemic.
The Extended Benefits Program became effective on July 5 , 2020.
Do you qualify?
NYSDOL provided the following fact sheet with frequently asked questions. Click here to see the fact sheet.
Here in NYS, the $600/week Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensations will end on July 26. That is a concern to Citizen Action of New York which fears many people, especially in poorer neighborhoods, will be affected and unable to pay their rent once Governor Andrew Cuomo's Executive Order putting a moratorium on evictions expires.
"The rent is due and the rent is too damn high. It is due on the first of the month. We are tapped-out and we don't have any money," said Katrinna Martin-Bordeaux, a volunteer for Citizen Action of New York.
The group held a rally in front of the Rath Building in downtown Buffalo calling on Congress to pass the HEROES ACT which was approved by the House of Representatives two months ago to provide financial help for communities and individuals affected by COVID-19.
It is currently stalled in the U.S. Senate over concerns about its cost ($3 trillion) and the expansive number of programs and policies that it seeks to modify or expand.
Citizen Action believes Erie County needs to allocate $15 million to prevent evictions and homelessness.
"The City of Buffalo, in addition to all cities, is going to be in trouble if we do not receive the support from the federal government," added Katrinna Martin-Bordeaux.
The New York State Department of Labor provided the following information about the number of claims it has handled because of the public health emergency:
Statement: Labor Commissioner Roberta Reardon: “The COVID-19 pandemic showed all of us what it means to be ‘NY Tough,’ and just as everyday New Yorkers stepped up to bend the curve of this deadly virus, the DOL is redoubling our efforts to help jumpstart the Empire State’s economy. We have moved heaven and earth to get unemployed New Yorkers their money — paying over 14 years’ of benefits in a matter of months. Now that businesses are opening back up, we want to help connect every job seeker in New York with the right job opportunity, including by sending over one million proactive recruitment emails. I encourage both businesses in need of workers and New Yorkers in need of a job to take advantage of our Jobs Express website.” A video sound bite of jobs in your region is available here [youtu.be].
- In just over three months, we’ve processed over 3.1 million unemployment insurance [labor.ny.gov] claims and over 1.1 million Pandemic Unemployment Assistance claims -- compare that to 833,000 claims that we processed in all of 2019.
- Since the COVID-19 pandemic began in early March, the Department of Labor has paid over $30 billion in unemployment benefits to over 3.1 million New Yorkers -- compared to just $2.1 billion paid in total last year. In other words, New York has paid over 14 years’ worth of benefits paid in four months.
- Last week the DOL also released a new fact sheet [labor.ny.gov] on the Extended Benefits Program in New York, which became effective July 5, 2020. Thanks to the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) and Extended Benefits (EB) programs, New Yorkers receiving traditional Unemployment Insurance are now eligible for up to 59 weeks of benefits — up from 26 weeks before the pandemic. Under federal law, those receiving Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) are now eligible for up to 46 weeks of benefits.
- Under current federal rules, the last week for FPUC benefits (the additional $600) in New York is the benefit week ending July 26th.