DOL phone lines jammed, people can’t get through for BYE date problems

Jennifer Lewke
Created: April 19, 2021 06:29 PM

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — It’s a sense of déjà vu for so many unemployed New Yorkers. You’re having trouble with your claims but you can’t get through to anyone at the NYS Department of Labor for help.

It’s an issue we’ve heard time and time again throughout the pandemic but there’s a new tidal wave of frustration.  

A year ago, we were in the midst of lockdown, millions of New Yorkers were thrown into the unemployment system and that system could not keep up. That one-year mark is important and the reason for a new wave of issues as many people now need to reapply or recertify for benefits. 

Elizabeth Feringa and several others who’ve contacted News10NBC have reached what’s called their Benefit Year End (BYE) date which is typically when their unemployment benefits would run out. But, because of extended pandemic programs, they should still be able to collect until September.  

The NYSDOL says folks who are getting traditional unemployment benefits are only required to re-apply at the BYE date if they’ve received 10x their benefit rate in wages from an employer since filing last year otherwise, they should just be able to keep re-certifying on their current claim weekly. If they are receiving Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) they don’t need to re-apply, according to the DOL 

“I received an email that said if I was on pandemic unemployment that I wouldn't need to reapply if I had not returned to work or had not worked at all and all the sudden the payments just stopped completely,” Feringa said.

It’s now going on four weeks with no benefits and no explanation.

“It's extremely difficult when that's the only thing that you have at the moment to rely on. I have to pay bills and to even keep that little bit paid, it's not paying everything but it's paying the best that we can so, you know I have nothing now… it feels like I can't breathe,” Feringa added.  

The same thing happened to Terri Jackson.

“You can keep re-certify your benefits without having to file a new claim [is what they told me] and then when I did that, I waited and never got anything, “ Jackson said.  

That was at the end of March and Jackson’s payments still haven’t resumed. 

The NYSDOL says if you file a new claim, it can take two to three weeks to process. If you don’t need to reapply and just need to continue to re-certify, you should have your money within 48 hours.

Does it suggest people who run into problems call the telephone claims center for help, the problem?

“I have called every day since [March] 29 at least five times and you can't get anybody… I haven’t been able to talk to a person. I get through the whole menu you have to push it all these things you have to give your Social Security number and then you get to the end and they say all people are busy because of high call volume and then they hang up on you,” Jackson said.

For more guidance on the BYE, click here.

Copyright 2021 - WHEC-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company