Over two million New Yorkers have been paid over $10 billion in unemployment benefits during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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On Wednesday, the New York State Department of Labor announced that the backlog of pending unemployment benefit applications has been reduced to 7,580. Officials say this represents major progress since an unprecedented crush of applications related to the COVID-19 pandemic flooded systems in March.

The department said most of the delays had to do with applications missing critical information, duplicates or abandoned claims.

Another 15,831 applications are going through final processing, which includes a check for fraud and identity theft. These claims will either become payable in the coming days or be flagged for additional review by anti-fraud specialists, according to the New York State Department of Labor.

Applications for 20,801 New Yorkers who applied before April 22nd have been processed but not paid because those individuals have not submitted federally-mandated weekly certifications, officials say.

"No one could have predicted the wave of unemployment applications that crashed over the United States because of the COVID-19 pandemic, and every state is struggling — but New York has moved faster than any other state to address our backlog and get money into New Yorkers' hands. To date, we have paid out over $10 billion dollars during this crisis, compared to just $2.1 billion in total last year," NYS Labor Commissioner Roberta Reardon said. "Those claims that have been outstanding for weeks are ones that we simply cannot process — we have already attempted to contact all of these New Yorkers, and we will continue to try get in touch with everyone who applied so we can connect them with the benefits they are eligible for."

In total, more than 2 million unemployment benefit applications have been processed, and those New Yorkers have received over $10 billion in benefits, according to the New York State Department of Labor.

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