NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Unemployment remains a major issue across the country.
Many New York and New Jersey residents are losing hope, and are out of cash.
Adam D’Aleo has listened to the New York Department of Labor’s “we are experiencing high call volume” recording more times than he can count.
“It’s embarrassing, I remember it,” D’Aleo said.
When he was laid off at the beginning of April, he filed for unemployment benefits online. Every time he logs in, he gets this notice: “To complete the claim, call the claims center.”
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“It’s like calling into a radio station for, like, the 100th ticket, to be the 100th caller to get that ticket to see the concert. That’s what it is when you’re calling into the New York State Department of Labor,” D’Aleo told CBS2’s Jenna DeAngelis.
He went on Twitter and got a response from the Department of Labor telling him he was put on a callback list.
“Yes, I’m waiting for this call. but I don’t even know how this call is going to go, which is also another hurdle within itself that I’m nervous for,” D’Aleo said.
Meanwhile, he’s looking for a new job. He’s among 1.4 million New Yorkers who have filed for unemployment benefits in six weeks.
The Department of Labor says it launched a new web application with Google, has dedicated more than 3,000 representatives to answer phones, and has paid over $3 billion in unemployment benefits.
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Gov. Andrew Cuomo was asked about unemployment Monday, and spoke about the need for federal help.
“We’re out of money now. We are now running a $10-15 billion deficit. We’re out of money now,” Cuomo said.
People DeAngelis spoke to want more answers from Cuomo and Gov. Phil Murphy, who Monday couldn’t answer why the unemployment site went down Sunday, impacting people like Maria Matos.
“Yesterday I tried to file between 8 and 9 in the morning. I couldn’t because the line was down. Checked every hour, the line was down all day,” said Colonia, N.J. resiednt Maria Matos.
“People can’t go six and seven weeks without money. You just simply can’t,” said Michelle Izzi.
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Izzi created a Facebook page called #NJUnemploymentPandemic to help all those in need, including herself, get some answers. She’s one of more than 850,000 New Jersey workers who have filed for unemployment since March 15.
“People have no food. People are talking about suicide,” Izzi said. “We’re literally begging you, sir, please come out of your ivory tower, come down here in the trenches with your people and actually see what’s going on, answer us.”
“This will make… this will not make anyone feel any better, but we are leagues ahead of virtually every other state. But there’s still a backlog. I know folks are still frustrated. You won’t lose one penny, I promise you, including of your federal plus,” Murphy said.
The New Jersey Labor Department has distributed $1 billion in unemployment since mid-March.
How long will people have to wait for their share? That’s the question which remains unanswered.