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NEW YORK, NY- New Yorkers wouldn’t have to wait for weeks on end to learn if they are eligible for unemployment benefits under a bill unanimously passed in the State Senate.
The bill, co-sponsored by Forest Hills’ State Senator Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr., would require the State Department of Labor to accept or deny unemployment claims for jobless benefits within 30 days of an application.
It’s the latest attempt to support unemployed New Yorkers in the wake of the pandemic, as the city’s unemployment rate remains nearly double that of the nation’s and inflation continues to rise.
Neighbors in Forest Hills have been facing the challenges of unemployment and rising costs firsthand, with more families reportedly turning to local food pantries to make ends meet as of late.
“My office has been actively helping hundreds of applicants for jobless aid who have sometimes waited months to learn the status of their claims,” Addabbo said in a statement. “It’s a very critical and frustrating situation for people who are having difficulties purchasing basic necessities and keeping roofs over their heads without any source of income.”
The bill aims to reduce the anxiety people face when dealing with unemployment by hastening the Department of Labor’s response time to a month or less, Addabbo said.
The only exception, though, would be if “exigent circumstances” — meaning, serious damage or danger — prevents the labor agency from responding to applicants within 30 days, at which point it could give the applicant a new time frame.
After passing the State Senate in April, the bill is now under review by the State Assembly Committee on Labor.
The Assembly will eventually bring the bill to a vote, and, if it passes, it could go on to be signed into law by the Governor.