The Cuomo administration is still getting inundated with complaints from frustrated jobless New Yorkers who haven’t received federal pandemic-related unemployment benefits that officials promised to transfer into their accounts last week.
“Everybody’s struggling, we all need our money,” said Elizabeth Overby Ronchi, 65, who worked at Carnegie Hall, the famed Manhattan music venue shuttered during the coronavirus outbreak.
“I’m a bartender at Carnegie Hall and a lot of my coworkers, even the ushers — I spoke with them today — nobody’s getting anything. Some of my coworkers who have Chase direct deposit, and others with the KeyBank card, they’re getting nothing. It’s hit or miss,” the Bergen County resident told The Post.
KeyBank is the institution contracted by the state to process the extra payments to more than 2 million jobless New Yorkers.
“They said try and get in touch with unemployment [department of labor], but the problem is you can’t get through. They’re a waste. You call and they tell you you’re already certified and they hang up on you,” Overby said.
“We’re not going to open until January so all of us, we’re really struggling and we need the money.”
The Labor Department and KeyBank admitted on Friday that processing glitches prevented many of the 2.26 million recipients from receiving three weeks of retroactive $300 benefits totalling $1.9 billion through President Trump’s Lost Wage Assistance program, as promised.
The president authorized the federal unemployment insurance by executive order on Aug. 8 after the $600-a-week payments provided by the CARES Act expired on July 31 and Congress deadlocked on an extension plan.
State and bank officials said the snafu would be fixed and the payments would land in the bank accounts of anxious jobless recipients by last Friday afternoon.
But the mess landed in Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s lap again on Monday, when a reporter informed him during a press briefing of complaints from jobless New Yorkers who could not access the funds.
Cuomo immediately referred the question to his top aide, Secretary Melissa DeRosa.
DeRosa blamed KeyBank for the delay and warned that the bank would be banned from doing business with state government in the future if it doesn’t fix the problem.
She said the problem was on “KeyBanks’ side,” and added, “They have been read the Riot Act.”
She said state officials were told by KeyBank the processing glitch would be fixed by the end of the day Friday.
“So. if you’re saying there’s still people on social media this morning, they should reach out to the Department of Labor directly and we’ll also make sure [the agency] issues an update this morning,” she said.
“But we have been assured by KeyBank this will not happen again, DeRosa said, adding, “We may consider no longer working with KeyBank.”
KeyBank issued a statement later Monday saying all issues on its end were resolved — and pointed the finger at the the Labor Department for any outstanding benefits issues.
“A processing issue that caused a delay in Lost Wage Assistance (LWA) payments specifically to Key2Benefits cardholders was resolved and all claimants received their funds by 3:30 a.m., Saturday morning,” the statement said.
“Claimants who are indicating problems with their expected payment are experiencing a separate issue, for which they should contact the New York Department of Labor. We are reviewing our processes and procedures to make sure there are no issues for future LWA payments,” KeyBank said.