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Orchard Park man trying to get $8,000 in unemployment back pay

David Atkinson has struggled to get answers from the New York State Department of Labor.

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — An Orchard Park man contacted 2 On Your Side after going nowhere trying to get about nine months' worth of unemployment back pay.

"I'm owed about $8,000 in back pay," David Atkinson said. 

David Atkinson lost his job as a credit counselor at a non-profit last August. While he finally started getting his weekly benefits this May, he is still missing months of back pay.

"What would that $8,000 mean to you if you were able to get it?" asked 2 On Your Side's Kelly Dudzik.

"It means everything. I want to start my own business. I want to start a new career path for myself. I think that's where I want to go, and this is really just kind of holding my whole life up," Atkinson said.

Like so many other Western New Yorkers who've contacted us, Atkinson ran into issues with the ID.ME link where he had to verify his identity to get his benefits.

"I emailed them and it took about a little over two months for them to email me back," Atkinson said.

The New York State Department of Labor told Atkinson there was a problem and he needed to send in his paperwork. That was in October, and Atkinson got a text and email saying his case could now be paid.    

"And then I waited and didn't get anything," Atkinson said. 

So Atkinson used the advice he used to give his clients - he sent certified letters to Albany. Six or seven so far, along with about twenty emails.

"I'm always really nice in my letters, but I'm saying, you know, I'm desperate please this is affecting my credit is important, it's part of my job is credit backgrounds, so for me to get a job in the credit field, if I have bad credit, they're going to be looking at me and going what's going on?" Atkinson said. 

Now almost a year later, Atkinson is still waiting for that back pay. 

2 On Your Side contacted the New York State Department of Labor asking if there is anything Atkinson can do. A spokesperson told us they do not comment on individual cases due to privacy laws, but said if we gave them Atkinson's contact info, their Unemployment Insurance Team can look into it.

Atkinson is going to keep us posted.


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