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New York State Department of Labor

Audio & Rush Transcript: NYS Labor Commissioner Reardon Announces Directive Requiring Employers to Provide Information New Yorkers Need to Apply for Unemployment Benefits

Missing or Incorrect Federal Employer Identification Number is the Primary Reason Unemployment Applications Cannot be Processed

Every Business Must Provide Employees with NYS Employer Registration Number, Federal Employer Identification Number, and Full Employer Name and Address

Directive from DOL Reminding New York-based Employers of their Legal Obligation to Provide Information sent to over 320,000 Businesses

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Albany, NY (April 29, 2020) -

Commissioner Reardon: "Here in New York, we are working faster and more aggressively than other states our size to connect New Yorkers with their benefits - and in just six weeks, we have delivered over $3 billion dollars in benefits to more than 1 million individuals. For context, that is over 5 and-a-half times the amount paid by Florida, which has roughly the same population as New York State. And a new analysis by Roll Call found that, of the 10 states with the most new unemployment claims during this crisis, New York is doing the best at processing new claims."

Reardon: "Today, we are taking action to reduce the number of ‘partial' claims that are submitted and help New Yorkers get their benefits faster...the number one reason claims are listed as ‘partially' complete and cannot immediately be processed is because they have an incorrect or missing Federal Employer Identification Number, also known as an F - E - I - N...So today, I am issuing a directive reminding all businesses in New York State that they have a legal obligation to provide their workers with the information they need to apply for unemployment insurance - including the business' F - E - I - N."

Earlier today, New York State Labor Commissioner Roberta Reardon announced the New York State Department of Labor has directed all New York-based employers to proactively provide New Yorkers with the information they need to file for unemployment benefits. In a directive sent to over 320,000 businesses, the DOL reminded employers of their legal obligation to provide employees with their employer's NYS Employer Registration Number, Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN), and full employer name and address. The Department of Labor has identified missing or incorrect FEINs as the number one reason New Yorkers' unemployment benefit applications cannot be immediately processed -- once that information is provided via a phone call, DOL can complete the claims process.

AUDIO of Commissioner Reardon's remarks is available here.

A rush transcript of Commissioner Reardon's remarks is available below:

Good afternoon, this is New York State Labor Commissioner Roberta Reardon. I'd like to start by thanking all of you for joining us on this call today, and for the work you are doing every day to inform New Yorkers during this difficult time - I hope everyone on your teams and in your families are doing well.

As you know, our nation has seen an unprecedented increase in unemployment claims, following this public health crisis and every state is struggling to handle this deluge. In fact, before this crisis, the single highest number of unemployment insurance claims filed in one week - nationwide - was 695,000 claims filed in October of 1982. But during this crisis, we have seen weeks with 4.4 million, 5.2 million, 6.6 million, and 6.8 million claims in a week. The volume is simply heartbreaking.

Here in New York, we are working faster and more aggressively than other states our size to connect New Yorkers with their benefits - and in just six weeks, we have delivered over $3 billion dollars in benefits to more than 1 million individuals. For context, that is over 5-and-a-half times the amount paid by Florida, which has roughly the same population as New York State. And a new analysis by Roll Call found that, of the 10 states with the most new unemployment claims during this crisis, New York is doing the best at processing new claims. Now, I understand those numbers might not matter to someone who is waiting on their check. I have been unemployed before myself, I understand the stress, I understand the anxiety, and I want you to know we are all working as hard as we can to deliver your benefits.

Today, we are taking action to reduce the number of "partial" claims that are submitted and help New Yorkers get their benefits faster. We have analyzed over one million claims that have been submitted to the Department of Labor and found that the number one reason claims are listed as "partially" complete and cannot immediately be processed is because they have an incorrect or missing Federal Employer Identification Number, also known as an F - E - I - N. Correcting that issue requires a phone call from a DOL representative to the claimant, which significantly slows down the application process.

So today, I am issuing a directive reminding all businesses in New York State that they have a legal obligation to provide their workers with the information they need to apply for unemployment insurance - including the business F - E - I - N. We are also directing employers to provide this information to those who have already lost their jobs due to coronavirus, so that every New Yorker who is applying for unemployment insurance has this information.

We are also doubling down on proactive communication to New Yorkers about the quickest way to receive their benefits. That includes reminding individuals that the fastest, most reliable way to receive your funds is by Direct Deposit into an existing checking account. Any New Yorker who is currently receiving benefits on a KeyBank debit card can switch to Direct Deposit by going to our website at LABOR (DOT) N - Y (DOT) GOV, clicking on Unemployment Services, clicking on Update Your Personal Information, and clicking on Update - Register for Direct Deposit. That is the fastest way to get your money.

Finally, I want to re-cap all of the steps our team has taken to improve the unemployment insurance system.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic started, we have built and launched a new online application, in partnership with the State Office of Information Technology Services and Google Cloud, which leverages cloud servers to instantly scale to the number of New Yorkers who log in to file a claim.

After cumbersome federal guidelines were changed, we updated our application to provide a single process for New Yorkers to apply for either traditional unemployment insurance or the new Pandemic Unemployment Assistance in one seamless application.

And we have increased the number of servers supporting our website from just 4 to over 60, and we deployed up to 3,100 staffers seven days a week to answer phones, make proactive calls to those with partially-complete applications, and process applications - up from just 400 people working five days a week before this crisis.

Once again, this crisis is unprecedented, and I know, as with all aspects of coronavirus, New Yorkers' needs are immense and immediate - but so are our actions, and we will continue to throw everything, including the kitchen sink, at upgrading our systems and processing applications.

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