We’re taking on the DOL: All eligible workers should be able to claim UI

Every eligible worker should be able to claim Unemployment Insurance (UI). Yet throughout the pandemic, many New Yorkers have experienced unprecedented delays and administrative hurdles to obtaining unemployment compensation, with much of the greatest burden falling on New Yorkers with limited English proficiency. 

We just sued the Department of Labor for its continuing failure to comply with its legal obligation to produce responsive UI records. 

“Governor Hochul promised a new era of transparency for New York, but the DOL continues to ignore its basic obligations to provide information to the public. The DOL is blocking information that is essential to ensuring that all eligible New Yorkers have prompt access to UI,” said NCLEJ Attorney Katharine Deabler. 

The complaint has included lack of translation, long delays, wrongful denials, outdated technology, burdensome documentation requirements, and poor communication by the Department of Labor (DOL) staff. The delays cause inordinate financial, physical, and emotional stress, as the economic impact of the pandemic continues to leave many with few options for income.

Nearly a year has passed, yet the DOL has failed to produce a single document or respond in any meaningful way to the request.

NCLEJ submitted a request for records to the DOL pursuant to New York’s Freedom of Information Law (“FOIL”) on January 21, 2021. 

Read coverage in the Gotham Gazette.