More than 46,000 New Yorkers are set to exhaust all 99 weeks of their Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits this week. For every one of them, these past two years have been an emotional roller coaster. They've searched for jobs, taken training programs and gone to interviews, but they are still without work.
On Monday of this week, Judiann Villela, a Department of Labor Facebook Fan, summed up the frustrations of all 46,000 New Yorkers whose benefits are ending: "I was let go Feb of 2008...for economic reasons. It certainly was as BAD for companies then as it is now. It started in 2007. Please if you have a job for me... let me know. I had two interviews last week. I have two set for this week. I have been out there for two years. It is not easy when there are so many applying for one position. Do not point fingers until you've been in my shoes."
Today, two State leaders are reminding New Yorkers about the options open to them. Labor Commissioner Colleen C. Gardner and Kristin Proud, Deputy Secretary for Human Services, Technology and Operations, who is currently overseeing the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (OTDA) had advice for people like Judiann, as well as the tens of thousands more slated to run out of UI benefits.
They urge you to visit myBenefits.ny.gov from any computer with Internet access -- at home, at the local library or at a One-Stop Career Center. On the site, New Yorkers can do a five-minute self-assessment of their income and family situation. In turn, the site lists programs that may help you, along with tips on where and how to apply in your area. Programs on the site include:
Home energy assistance
Earned Income Tax Credits
Child and dependent care credits