Assemblymen Jones and Stec Call for Action on Mounting Unemployment Insurance Claims

May 8, 2020

The outbreak of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) has caused the shutdown of thousands of businesses across the United States and millions of Americans are out of work. In New York state, over 1.6 million residents have filed for unemployment and frustration is mounting as claims continue to go unprocessed.[1] Assemblyman Billy Jones (D-Plattsburgh) and Assemblyman Dan Stec (R-Queensbury) have received several hundred calls in their offices from constituents expressing these same concerns.

“My staff and I are working tirelessly to assist my residents that have done their part and filed for unemployment amidst this pandemic,” Jones said. “Each day we receive dozens of calls from individuals who are struggling, and they shouldn’t have to be. It is heartbreaking to hear their stories: single parents who aren’t sure how they will feed their children this week because they are out of money, residents who aren’t sure how they will pay for their prescriptions, and small business owners who have drained their savings and are afraid their doors will be shuttered forever. It is simply unacceptable that these individuals cannot even receive a simple call back to finish processing their claims. We must do better.”

Jones joined his Assembly colleagues in calling on the Department of Labor commissioner to process older claims, and indicated that for several weeks he has notified the governor of claims that his office has received which are more than 30 days old and are surpassing into the several hundred. Assemblyman Dan Stec stated he has also been in contact with the governor’s office and has indicated the same issues.

“One of the most pressing and most frustrating failures of state government's response to the coronavirus has been the Department of Labor's inability to process the volume of unemployment claims,” said Stec. “While certainly the volume is unprecedented, it is absolutely unacceptable for so many people to be waiting up to seven or eight weeks for their benefits, or to go weeks without contact from the labor department on the status of their applications.”

Both assemblymen agree this is not a time for politics or name calling. The assemblymen concur that we must work together and help these struggling individuals get the benefits they are entitled to.

“This is not a game, these are people’s livelihoods,” said Jones. “We are calling on the Department of Labor to fix these inadequacies and get these individuals the benefits that they are entitled to. We must put an end to their financial struggle.”

“These are not just numbers. These are people, families, and single parents struggling to keep up on their financial obligations,” said Stec. “