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Regional News

Check's In The Mail For Some Unemployed

By Joyce Gramza


Oswego, NY – The New York State Labor Department says unemployed New Yorkers who exhausted their state benefits last month should have about 40 million more dollars in their pockets in time for Christmas.

"We were going to have about 200,000 New Yorkers who were facing the premature loss of unemployment benefits," says Department of Labor Commissioner Colleen Gardner."

"And with the holidays upon us, it's safe to say a lot of people are breathing a sigh of relief."

Gardner says while urging Congress to extend benefits, the Department also urged New Yorkers who were exhausting their benefits to continue to claim them in case the law passed.

"We had about 124,000 of them who did that, and we held those claims in a file," she says. "We are processing those claims as fast as we can in order to try to get payments out to them by the middle of this week. We think it's imperative that we get the payments out before Christmas."

Many people who were facing the holidays with no income will receive two weeks worth of benefits this week because the extension is retroactive.

Gardner says staffers scrambled all weekend to get those funds out, a total of about 40 million dollars. She says each dollar of unemployment benefits injects two dollars into the state economy.

"And we think especially now this will enable the unemployed to pay for the basics as well as possibly spend money in the economy this holiday season," she says.

Gardner also met last week with a group of people not being helped by the extension.

"We have 134,000 New Yorkers who have exhausted all of their 99 or 93 weeks of benefits," she says. They're very anxious, they're working hard to try to find work."

"My heart goes out to them this holiday season. I think about them a lot and I hope that they will come through our doors and we will see what we can do to help them," Gardner says.

Gardner says the unemployment rate in the state was unchanged in November and there is still only one job available for every five New York job-seekers.