NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – The numbers released by the US Labor Department are higher than some analysts expected as 3.8 million people last week filed claims for jobless benefits.

This surge puts more people in state systems that are over-burdened and extremely slow, reports CBS2 Dave Carlin.

Amanda Hatton applied with New York State for unemployment benefits a month ago. Tthe laid-off customer service rep for a lighting company says every day she checks – but nothing.

“Another day of no unemployment,” she said. “I’ve been told to call phone numbers that led to dead ends.”

Wave upon wave of the newly jobless have joined the struggle.

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With the newly reported 3.8 million, the total jobless has risen to about 30 million people in the past six weeks.

“I’ve been trying to apply for unemployment for New Jersey since March 27,” said Ralph Galati of Manahawkin, N.J. “This is one of the things I get right up here.”

The error message is “authentication failed” for Galati, a photocopier service technician who struggles day after day trying to reach anyone who can help him with a stalled claim.

“I can’t get in and I can’t get an account,” he said.


Carman Lacivita is in the system but still in limbo.

He’s an actor living in North Bergen and was starring in a play that was abruptly canceled during rehearsals.

“My status has been pending for four weeks now,” said Lacivita. “I know a lot of people are in the same boat.”

Persistence is often given as advice.

“Keep trying, as frustrating as that sounds, and to contact elected officials, like a council member or a state senator,” said employment attorney Davida Perry of the firm Schwartz Perry & Heller.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo Thursday publicly acknowledged delivery of benefits is painfully slow and the system remains overwhelmed despite tweaks.

“We’re doing everything we can to move the unemployment checks faster,” said Cuomo. “If you look at our state’s processing of checks, it’s actually way ahead of what other states are doing.”

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, meanwhile, said his state’s backlog has been improved within the last two days, but he also asked those applying to remain patient.

Congress approved expanded unemployment payments of $600 per week through July.


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