Brooklynites say filing for unemployment is a full-time job during the coronavirus pandemic
Long wait times, dropped calls and a malfunctioning computer system from the 80s plague applicants
Brooklynites who lost their jobs because of the novel coronavirus pandemic report that filing unemployment insurance claims is proving to be a herculean task, taking days of effort in many cases.
With so many trying to apply, the Department of Labor’s computers — some of which date from the Reagan administration — have become overwhelmed. Unemployment Insurance offices are closed, and it takes dozens, if not hundreds of attempts to get through using the the online or telephone call-in system.
In New York state, 80,334 people filed a claim the week ending March 21, according to figures released Thursday by DOL. The prior week, only 14,272 people filed claims. Across the country, a record-setting 3.3 million people filed for unemployment, up from 200,000 the previous week, the highest number by far in the country’s history.
In New York City, these numbers likely represent only a fraction of those trying to sign up.