More than 33 million unemployed, many still struggle to get benefits

Coronavirus
Unemployment office

Unemployment office

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NEW YORK — The latest numbers released by the U.S. Department of Labor show 3.2 million new unemployment claims nationally, with 319,000 new claims in the tri-state area.

In total, 33.5 million American workers have filed for unemployment during the pandemic, although fewer people are filing with each passing week.

Congress did pass special unemployment benefits as part of the CARES Act, including allowing freelancers and self employed apply for benefits.

However, states like New York have had trouble processing those claiming having to repeatedly reinvent its outdated and overloaded system.

New York officials defend their efforts to get people unemployment by saying it has processed 1.5 million people, and gotten them $5.8 billion in benefits. That is about $3,800 per person.However, New York did not report a significant increase in new people getting benefits week-to-week.

New York’s Labor Department also said hundreds of thousands of people have not properly certified their benefits online leading to delays.

However, online systems continue to have issues. State Senator Julia Salazar wrote a long thread on Twitter, saying she has confirmed the state system was not properly generating confirmation numbers.

On Friday, the April jobs summary will be released, and will be another stark reminder of the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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