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New Yorkers Were Promised Help And They Need It Now

New York needs to act quickly to buttress its unemployment filing system to handle the massive influx of applicants the state has seen in the last few weeks.

The state rightly waived waiting periods and did what it could to increase benefits to help people through the unprecedented business shutdown caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. People thought they’d be able to quickly secure the benefits they were promised by the state Legislature and Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

Alas, that is not the case.

Thousands of New Yorkers find themselves unable to make their way through the filing process on the state Labor Department’s website. If you make it through the online filing, filers are required to verify information by phone — but people have reported that it takes hours to get someone from the Labor Department on the phone regardless of when they call or how long they remain on hold.

No one could have seen the sheer number of unemployment filings coming as recently as a month ago. The state must move quickly to fix this crisis, too. Gov. Andrew Cuomo has said the state is hiring more people to deal with the filings and to end the logjams.

We hope he is. New Yorkers were promised that the state would help take care of them through these industry-wide shutdowns that shoved New Yorkers into unemployment through no fault of their own. They need help now, not weeks down the road.

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