Facing an unprecedented spike in unemployment insurance applications related to the COVID-19 pandemic, the New York State Department of Labor and the New York State Office of Information Technology Services announced a “Tech Surge” in partnership with Google Cloud, Deloitte, and Verizon to improve the reliability of the state’s online and telephone-based unemployment insurance application systems.
The Tech Surge will include critical upgrades to the Department of Labor’s technology systems that will increase its capacity to accept and process applications, making it easier for New Yorkers to apply for benefits.
Importantly, the Tech Surge will include a new online application system – which will be available at labor.ny.gov. New Yorkers are urged to use the new online system, which can handle most applications from start to finish, reducing the number of New Yorkers who must speak to a claims specialist on the phone.
In addition, the Department of Labor will roll out a new “call back” system, allowing their staff to call New Yorkers who need to submit additional information to support their existing unemployment assistance application. This means New Yorkers who have already filed partial claims under the old system and had been told to call the hotline to finish their application should not — instead, the DOL call center will call these New Yorkers directly.
Google Cloud has worked with the State Office of Information Technology Services to create a more user-friendly and reliable unemployment insurance application for the Department of Labor. The online application will shut down from 5:00 PM to 7:00 PM today to transition to this new streamlined application. Specific upgrades include:
- Leveraging Google Cloud’s infrastructure to increase reliability and allow the application to scale, so it can handle a high volume of users;
- Allowing users to save an incomplete application and pick up where they left off;
- Providing an “every device experience,” so New Yorkers can file from smartphones, tablets, and laptops; and
- Streamlining the number of questions so the application is shorter and easier to understand.
- Deloitte is opening an additional unemployment insurance call center staffed by hundreds of experienced customer service professionals, which will increase the number of calls that can be handled; and
- Verizon is expanding the number of phone “ports” for the Department of Labor’s call center from 1,750 to over 10,000 by the end of this week -- increasing the center’s call capacity.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, the New York State Department of Labor's unemployment insurance filing system has faced an unprecedented increase in volume — with peak weeks seeing a 16,000% increase in phone calls and a 1,600% increase in web traffic, compared to a typical week.