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Questions remain about mystery $600 unemployment payments

Dept. of Labor did not take any questions from WGRZ at Monday's press call.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — UPDATE: The NYS Department of Labor got back to us on Tuesday, May 5 with answers about the $600 payment. You can watch the latest story here.

Many of you continue to reach out to us because you still haven't gotten your first unemployment check. 

And, a lot of people who got a mystery $600 from unemployment without getting any of their other benefits, tell us they didn't get that $600 again last week.

Over the weekend, 2 On Your Side’s Kelly Dudzik heard from dozens of people who got a one-time $600 payment. 

2 On Your Side did not hear back from the Department of Labor about this. We first started asking about it on Thursday. 

We also asked on Friday and Monday. At a Monday afternoon press phone call, the Department of Labor Commissioner did not allow 2 On Your Side to ask any questions, although it did call on other media outlets.

BUFFALO, N.Y. - We've heard from some of you who still have pending unemployment claims, but got payments. They are not for the amounts people were expecting, so they are wondering if that money really belongs to them or if it's a mistake.

The state did address unemployment issues for 90,000 New Yorkers on Monday.

"You have to go into the website, into your account, and certify that you're unemployed. And, that's something you have to do every week by Saturday. So, you can either do it on your website account, or you can call," explained Secretary to the Governor Melissa DeRosa.

Monday, the state announced it has emailed 90,000 people who were stuck with a pending status because they hadn't certified their claims.

That still doesn't explain what's going on for people like Kimberly Zappia from Elma. Zappia works for a radiology company and has been trying to get her first unemployment check since March. 

She got a payment of $600 April 24, like a lot of people without explanation, and while her husband is still working, she worries about people who don't have essential workers in their families.

"I feel like a lot of the problem is that I filed in the old system. So, I feel all these PUA claims in the old system are where the problem is.  But, I don't know what to do to fix it. I don't know if I need to re file a new claim and start all over," says Zappia. 

"It's caused a lot of anxiety for sure. And it's not to mention, you know, the financial stress has caused my family to be without income for this long,” Zappia added.

Rob Sigler is a photographer from Jamestown. Sigler is still trying to get his first unemployment check, but he did get that unexplained $600 payment. He says he has called the state three-thousand times.

"All of a sudden, I got $600 deposited into my checking account. And I thought, oh, this is our first unemployment payment. Well, I went back to the website, and it still said pending zero dollars paid. So, I don't know where the $600 came from. And sadly, about five minutes ago, I got a piece of mail from the Department of Labor stating that I was denied unemployment because I didn't make at least $2,600 in one quarter in 2018. Now, I made a lot more than $2,600. So, what do I do now I've tried to call them again, when you call now it takes 15 minutes to navigate through the phone menu," says Sigler.

We will post updates on social media if we get answers from the Department of  Labor about the mystery $600.

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