The New York State Department of Labor's website, through which the unemployed claim weekly benefits, crashed over the weekend. Claimants have been unable to file for weekly benefits since then, meaning payments will be delayed.
On an annual basis, according to the department's monthly statistics, Suffolk County's unemployment rate is at its highest from January through the month of March.
When someone tries to file for his or her weekly claim, an error message appears that reads, "There was a problem with the system. Please try again later." Those who call the claim line directly hear a recorded message saying, "We are experiencing technical difficulties at this time and cannot assist you."
The system was still down as of 3:45 p.m. Monday.
Cullen Burnell, a press officer with the New York State Department of Labor, directed a reporter to check the department's Facebook page or Twitter feed. "They will be updated with the latest information for those needing to access the system," he said in an email.
However, there were no updates on the Facebook page as of 11:32 a.m., while the department had tweeted out the following at about 9 a.m.: "Unemployment Insurance phones and web site apps aren't working. Working to fix; plse check back later to file a claim/claim weekly benefits."
One person tweeted back, "It has been down all weekend! Do you not have staff that works to correct these inconveniences before hand?" and "Why don't you have a place on your website to alert people when these issues arise as to not cause a bloody panic?"