Western New Yorkers wait for benefits after DOL unemployment mail mix-up

Posted at 11:35 PM, May 08, 2020

BUFFALO, N.Y. — 7 Eyewitness News continues to hear from Western New Yorkers who've received other individuals personal information in the mail from the New York State Department of Labor's unemployment office.

Zoe White of Jamestown said everything looked normal when she received an envelope from the Department of Labor.

“The first three pages were mine. My name, my social security number, my address," she said.

The fourth page, however, was another person's information, their quarterly earnings, their social security number. White wants to know who has hers. She worries about what could happen after the year of free credit monitoring from the Department of Labor is up.

"If somebody knew that it was only a year, they could do something with the information after a year."

She said the missing page had information to finish her claim, so she reached out to 7 Eyewitness News' Nikki Dementri, who reported on other Western New Yorkers in the same situation. White then received a call back from the Department of Labor, and her claim is now processed.

Angela Obson of Buffalo said her claim has been pending for 7 weeks.

“I have not even received anything other than they’ve breached my information," she said.

Unlike White, Obson never received a letter with her information. The single mother worries the letter that never showed up contains what she needs to finish her claim. The only letter she received was one saying she was that her personal information may have been compromised.

A spokesperson for the Department of Labor said the individuals will be sent their appropriate determination letters.

On Friday, the Department of Labor Commissioner Roberta Reardon said people with pending claims will receive status updates next week.

“Using emails and text messages to communicate directly with New Yorkers, when their application reaches victory milestones in this process," she said. "Letting them know what step they are on, if any action is required, and what to expect next.”