Jobless New Yorkers wait in vain for unemployment checks amid coronavirus

New Yorkers left jobless by the coronavirus outbreak aren’t having much luck getting unemployment insurance, despite Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s vow to overhaul the state’s archaic system.

Cuomo has beefed up call centers, adding thousands of workers, expanding call-volume capacity, and even partnering with Google to retool the online application. Plus, he has promised the call centers will address outstanding unemployment claims within 72 hours.

But those who need help still aren’t getting any, they told the New York Times.

“I call the Department of Labor every single day, and I know the options by heart now,” said Carly Keohane, 31, of Rochester, who is waiting for $2,124 to be deposited into her shrinking bank account. “It would be OK if I just knew where the money was.”

Over the past four weeks, about 22 million workers nationwide have filed jobless claims; many have come from independent contractors and the self-employed — now eligible for assistance during the pandemic but who pose yet another challenge for antiquated unemployment systems not set up to deal with them.

New York has been swamped by more than one million claims for unemployment insurance, about four times the number after the 2008 economic meltdown, said Melissa DeRosa, a top Cuomo aide.

“We are going to continue doing everything we can to bring the system up to deal with this scale,” she said.

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