46,000 New Yorkers Will Lose Unemployment Insurance this Week
Albany, NY (March 31, 2010) - Can't See the video? Click Here to Get Adobe Flash Player. More than 46,000 New Yorkers are set to exhaust all 99 weeks of their Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits this week. For every one of them, these past two years have been an emotional roller coaster. They've searched for jobs, taken training programs and gone to interviews, but they are still without work.
On Monday of this week, Judiann Villela, a Department of Labor Facebook Fan, summed up the frustrations of all 46,000 New Yorkers whose benefits are ending: "I was let go Feb of 2008...for economic reasons. It certainly was as BAD for companies then as it is now. It started in 2007. Please if you have a job for me... let me know. I had two interviews last week. I have two set for this week. I have been out there for two years. It is not easy when there are so many applying for one position. Do not point fingers until you've been in my shoes."
Today, two State leaders are reminding New Yorkers about the options open to them. Labor Commissioner Colleen C. Gardner and Kristin Proud, Deputy Secretary for Human Services, Technology and Operations, who is currently overseeing the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (OTDA) had advice for people like Judiann, as well as the tens of thousands more slated to run out of UI benefits.
They urge you to visit myBenefits.ny.gov from any computer with Internet access -- at home, at the local library or at a One-Stop Career Center. On the site, New Yorkers can do a five-minute self-assessment of their income and family situation. In turn, the site lists programs that may help you, along with tips on where and how to apply in your area. Programs on the site include:
Also, State Labor Department staff at One-Stop Centers across the state will help job seekers navigate the myBenefits site. Staff at these Centers are available to help job seekers with resume writing, job matching through the SMART 2010 program and career planning.
Commissioner Gardner said, "Although you may be running out of unemployment benefits, you should not run out of hope. If you haven't been to your nearest One-Stop Career Center in a while, now is the time to come back. If you haven't checked out the myBenefits web site yet, I urge you to visit it immediately. This web site and these benefits can be the lifelines you need to keep you afloat."
Deputy Secretary Proud said, "These programs are in place to help people left with nowhere else to turn, a situation we know so many struggling New Yorkers are now facing due to the prolonged recession. We are doing what we can to make it as easy as possible for those eligible to access the State's safety net of programs and services, and the myBenefits website is a key part of those efforts. People can also visit the Governor's website - www.ny.gov/governor -- and click on the link for ‘Resources for Working Families,' to learn more about the many programs that New York State has to offer."
In addition to the issues facing the 46,000 New Yorkers who are exhausting all 99 weeks of benefits possible this week, for the second time in two months, federal provisions under Unemployment Insurance, COBRA healthcare benefits, Federal Extended Benefits and the $25 weekly benefit increase will expire on April 5. Beginning next week, another 11,700 New Yorkers will claim their last week of benefits under current law and not be able to take full advantage of the federal extension programs that have been available to date. Without new federal legislation, they will not be able to move into additional extended benefit programs. Of these, 7,300 are people that would have only collected 26 weeks of regular, state-funded benefits.
The myBenefits site serves as an Internet self-screening tool to determine potential eligibility for a number of public benefit programs, based on an individual entering minimal, anonymous household information. myBenefits can currently be used to screen for potential eligibility for three nutrition programs, including Food Stamps, five health insurance programs, the Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP), public assistance, and five tax credits.
The State plans to add other program screenings to myBenefits over time. Currently, residents of more than two dozen counties can already submit a Food Stamp application through the web site with the help of designated community organizations. Also, residents of nearly 20 counties can use myBenefits to apply directly for Food Stamps from any computer with Internet access around the clock.