NORTH TONAWANDA, N.Y. — If you are one of the thousands of Western New Yorkers still waiting for unemployment benefits, there is a glimmer of hope.
This week, the New York State Department of Labor is contacting people to let them know what their status is. The New York State Department of Labor announced last week that it is doing outreach, which is welcome news to people who have been waiting in some cases two months or more for their benefits.
In a tweet on Friday, the NYS Department of Labor says it will be emailing and texting people applying for unemployment benefits to keep them informed throughout the process from submission to approval.
While Debbie Maida, a warehouse worker from North Tonawanda, hasn't gotten a text or an email yet, she checked her status online. Maida was stuck in pending for a long time. She found out she's no longer pending and knows how much money she's going to get.
"So even though you haven't gotten paid yet, are you hopeful that this will work out and this will work out for everybody who's still waiting so long for their money?" Asked 2 On Your Side’s Kelly Dudzik.
"Yes, I do. I mean, it takes a while, and you just have to do what they say. But yes, I'm very hopeful. My only concern is that I'm hoping that I can get paid from the first time I was off," says Maida. "They told me to, if you send like your W2, fax it over to them, make sure your Social Security number is on it because once I did that, it was like a week later, I noticed that they start moving things a little faster."
Remember, if your claim is pending, that means someone from the DOL needs to call you.
Maida has this advice for anyone going through this.
"Stay strong through this because it's very tough," she says. "And I know it's tough for me, having to borrow money was, luckily my children, they've all been able to keep their jobs are essential. So, they've been helping me out. But, if it wasn't for them, it would be very tough. So, just stay strong through it."
And, if you haven't already, contact your State Senator and Assemblymember. 2 On Your Side has heard from many people who have and got help – some even got their unemployment benefits after making that phone call.