Southern Brooklyn elected officials Councilman Chaim Deutsch, Councilman Kalman Yeger, State Senator Simcha Felder, and Assemblyman Simcha Eichenstein sent a joint letter to Governor Cuomo, calling for ‘decisive action’ to resolve the backlog in incomplete unemployment filings.
Since the COVID outbreak began, more than 1.5 million New Yorkers have filed for unemployment. Low and middle-income residents have been disproportionately affected, particularly those in the service and retail industry. Since the influx of unemployment filings began in March, Governor Cuomo has made great strides towards resolving the issues with the system by hiring a tremendous number of new Department of Labor employees, as well as upgrading the filing system itself.
Despite his efforts, there is still a tremendous backlog, leaving tens of thousands of New Yorkers in desperate need. The letter reads, in part:
“Every day, we receive hundreds of emails and calls from constituents who are suffering enormously. It is devastating and heartbreaking to hear the desperate pleas for help from so many of our fellow New Yorkers.
We urge you to escalate this urgent issue in your administration, and bring relief to so many of your constituents. If New Yorkers cannot rely on government assistance to tide them over at this desperate time, the impacts of this crisis could be far more devastating than experts have predicted. Our constituents are counting on your leadership to resolve this enormous roadblock and get their deserved benefits into their pockets as soon as possible.”
Deutsch said, “The impact of delaying unemployment benefits will be substantial, as many New Yorkers fall behind on their rent or mortgages, struggle to buy groceries, and are unable to provide for their families. The state and federal government has stepped up to ensure that unemployment benefits will be expanded and extended, but there is still a serious delay in getting funds into the pockets of those who are most in need. I have every confidence that Governor Cuomo can get this done and offer relief to our fellow New Yorkers.”
Yeger said, ““While we’re grateful to Governor Cuomo for beginning a quick streamline of the unemployment process, much more needs to be done. Far too many of our fellow New Yorkers are facing devastating financial hardship in unprecedented and unanticipated numbers. Our neighbors have done everything right; now government has to do its part to help. I urge the Governor to pour more resources into the Department of Labor to give our fellow New Yorkers the relief they desperately need and deserve.”
Eichenstein said, “As too many in New York and beyond are affected by the plight of unemployment as a result of COVID-19, the State Department of Labor, despite all of their hard work to deal with an unprecedented influx of applications, has not done enough to meet the need. People are desperately waiting these unemployment funds to pay their basic essential expenses like food, rent, and utilities. Governor Cuomo urgently needs to implement additional reforms to the State Department of Labor to respond to the needs of New Yorkers out of work and help ease the burden of individuals who are now unfortunately reliant on unemployment.”