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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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marina carminati

I am waiting the unemployment since the 23rd of March. How I am supposed to pay my rent and eat? Cuomo should talk about this issue every day. This is starting to be unacceptable.


The department is upgrading the site and hiring more staff. Unemployed people should inquire about applying for a job while they are on the phone.


I agree with Gianaris on this one, should be able to take care of eveything online, unless there is a serious problem like fraud. The free rent thing though is stupid without property tax reduction.


You correctly mentioned fraud and online in the same sentence. Hence the reason for over-the-phone verification.


You missed the point. I said only if there is suspicion of fraud should you need to verify via phone. For the majority, online verification should be sufficient based on wage data submitted by companies. This way, the benefits are not held up for weeks while you wait for a simple phone call.

Mr. Myself

More free stuff. No verifications. Just more free stuff. That’s all I hear when local politicians speak.

Diane Speros

Instead of scrapping the department, why not staff it up to handle the increase in calls? Any why not fix the online system so it doesn’t keep crashing? We’re not a third-world country, yet our basic support systems don’t even function properly. You don’t just eliminate departments when they’re not performing – you FIX the problem! Isn’t that what you’re elected to do?


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