NEW YORK (CBSNewYork)Stimulus checks are starting to arrive, but for many, it’s money already spent.

For some, the struggle is to get unemployment checks.

Danny Lariviere, who works in fashion and has been weeks without work, desperately needed this $1,200.

“So I checked it and I had a deposit from U.S. Treasury,” he said. “That whole check went for rent, and it didn’t even cover the whole rent.”

He continues to wait on his unemployment claim. For him and for others like Brie Roche-Lilliot, who is a laid-off retail manager, they deal with a system that is overloaded.

“I spent about three hours probably trying to apply online and, as many people would say, the system [would just time you out] or you didn’t get through,” she said.

Another 5.2 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits last week, and that brings the total number for the past four weeks to roughly 22 millIon – a staggering number that’s about the same as the population of the state of Florida.

Several states, including New York, promise overhauls for the overtaxed websites to finally get people in the system.

“It just feels like running on a hamster wheel. Feels like there’s no sign of progress,” Roche-Lilliot said.

David Lewis is the founder of OperationsInc, a human resources outsourcing and consulting firm.

“Use the time now to go ahead and prepare for your job search, so when things start to open up and you come out of our house, you’ll be in a better position to be able to search for that next job,” Lewis said.

A key piece of the federal government’s stimulus efforts just ran out of money. The U.S. Small Business Administration says its Paycheck Protection Program will not accept any more applications for the $349 billion dollar program. The loans have a 1% interest rate, the interest does not have to be paid for the six months and in some cases turns into a grant.

“So far, that money has not reached most businesses who applied for a loan, and now we have the news of the PPP is out of money, which is going to create a lot of questions and uncertainty out there in the market. So I think at this point the unemployment number we’re looking at today is likely to continue to grow,” Lewis said.

The governor has promised those who finally get their unemployment will have it applied retroactively.


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