Legislation to connect unemployed New Yorkers with food, rent, and utility support signed into law

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ALBANY – Legislation that will connect New Yorkers to additional state support when applying for unemployment has been signed into law by the Governor. The legislation (S.5490-B/A.6337-B), sponsored by Senator Michelle Hinchey (D, Saugerties) and Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther (D-Forestburgh) requires the State Department of Labor to provide individuals filing or certifying an unemployment claim with additional information on rental, mortgage, food, and utility assistance.

The labor department is charged with sharing this information as part of the online claims process so that each time a person utilizes the website portal they can review the variety of additional state assistance programs available, including information on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP), Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP), and mortgage relief through the COVID-19 Eviction and Foreclosure Prevention Act of 2020.

“This legislation ensures that any New Yorker who files an unemployment claim will also have the opportunity to review information on a variety of other state funding programs that can help with rent, mortgage, food, and utilities — right there on the DOL’s unemployment portal,” said Hinchey.

“The pandemic has placed New Yorkers in difficult positions, many relying on unemployment and other state programs for assistance for the first time,” said Gunther. “My office assisted hundreds of people navigating the unemployment system, and many of them would benefit from other state programs. Therefore, assisting them with additional information on programs such as HEAP, SNAP, and ERAP, can help New Yorkers stay warm, fed, and in their homes. I was proud to work with Senator Hinchey on this legislation and to help New Yorkers in a time of need.”

At the height of the pandemic, New York’s unemployment rate soared to 16 percent as some businesses trimmed their workforce and others shuttered altogether. The most recent figures, provided by the New York State Department of Labor, show an improvement of 7.7 percent statewide.