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Gianaris Launches Petition to Remove Unemployment Verification Via Phone

State Senator Mike Gianaris. (Photo: Office of Mike Gianaris, via Flickr)

April 9, 2020 By Michael Dorgan

Many people who file for unemployment are unable to complete the process online–and are required to call in to verify information pertaining to their claim.

State Sen. Mike Gianaris launched a petition today urging the Department of Labor to scrap that requirement.

Many people who are mandated to call in to verify their claim are simply unable to get through– often calling for hours and hours each day and getting nowhere. They then miss out on much needed funds.

“The unemployment claims system is overwhelmed and people need relief,” Gianaris said, adding that the system has failed to keep up with the surge in new applicants who have been laid-off as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The petition calls for the Department of Labor to process all claims through its website– including those where extra verification is required. Gianaris said the department should adopt a similar system as the IRS, where people self-certify online the accuracy of taxes when e-filing.

He said the department should implement this change as soon as possible.

“The unemployment claims system is overwhelmed and people need relief,” Gianaris said. “The Department of Labor must #WaiveTheCall so claims can be processed more quickly and New Yorkers can receive desperately needed relief.”

Many applicants say they have been calling repeatedly and have failed to get through. One Sunnyside resident said that she has been calling every day– for hours at a time– since March 25 and has got nowhere.

More than 16 million Americans have now lost their jobs in the last three weeks, according to the latest Labor Department figures released Thursday. Just over 345,000 New Yorkers filed new claims last week alone.

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Any social security card carrying American should be able to go to a post office and get a money order for whatever government sponsored benefits are available


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