Unemployment issues must be addressed

By Bee Group Newspapers | on June 10, 2020

FRANK TODARO
Erie County Legislator

I hope our community is continuing to stay safe and healthy. It has been a long, difficult few months but I am encouraged to hear we are safety beginning to reopen many businesses and get people back to work. At the legislature, we continue to stay busy monitoring the COVID-19 outbreak and its impact on our state and local governments.

One issue I continue to hear from my constituents about is the process for filing for unemployment and New York state’s slow response. For the last few months, my office has received many calls from unemployment benefit applicants asking for assistance to navigate the overwhelming and complicated system set in place by New York. Applicants, in many cases, have waited weeks or months for a return call from the Department of Labor in order to process their application. The severe lag time between initially filing for benefits and receiving the first check is causing major financial hardship for thousands of New York families. This is unacceptable.

In response to this, I introduced a resolution calling for the New York State Assembly and state Senate to hold hearings with the Labor Department to seek measures to better process new and existing unemployment benefit applications, and call on the state Comptroller’s Office to conduct an audit of the Labor Department’s procedures, so we know what is being done and what is falling through the cracks. With millions of New Yorkers unemployed through no fault of their own, it’s time for New York state to provide better service for the taxpayers. I am proud to share with you that the resolution received the unanimous support of my colleagues in the Erie County Legislature. We are sending a bipartisan message to Albany that these issues involving unemployment must be addressed, and taxpayers deserve better from our state leaders.

I’d also like to share that I am partnering with the Lancaster Area Chamber of Commerce to distribute masks to businesses throughout the community as they begin the reopening process. Making sure employees have access to these supplies will help ensure health and safety for all. If you would like a mask, please contact the Lancaster Chamber at info@wnychamber.com or by phone at 681-9755. Up to 50 masks per business will be available while supplies last.

As always, if you have questions, comments or concerns regarding a county-related issue, or if there is something else I can assist you with, please reach out to my office at Frank.Todaro@erie.gov or by phone at 681-2071. We would be happy to hear from you!

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