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Cuomo asks for patience with clogged state unemployment website

Jason Smith
WRVO News (file photo)

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Tuesday he knows many New Yorkers are trying to get through to the state Department of Labor's website and phone lines to apply for unemployment, and are facing long waits and crashing systems.

He said the Labor Department normally gets 50,000 calls regarding unemployment a week, now it is getting over one million calls a day, 1.2 million Monday and 7.8 million over the past week.

“It’s not working as smoothly as I’d like it to,” said Cuomo, who said the state is working with “literally hundreds” of tech experts to try to fix it. “It’s compounding people’s stress," he said.

"I apologize for the pain," the governor said. "It must be infuriating to deal with."

The governor says once people get through and get signed up, they will get their benefits retroactive to the date of unemployment.

Karen DeWitt is Capitol Bureau Chief for New York State Public Radio, a network of 10 public radio stations in New York State. She has covered state government and politics for the network since 1990.