Woman on spectrum says State Labor Department needs better accessibility

Darlene McGraw has autism and epilepsy. She tells 13 Investigates she had a hard time applying for unemployment. McGraw says she could not navigate the website properly because of her cognitive learning disability.

Her hours were cut significantly at her part-time job during the pandemic, and she says she’s been trying for months to apply for unemployment.

She’s called the Department of Labor many times for help but can’t get anyone on the phone. So she gave up and decided to call 13 Investigates.

Within days of our team reaching out to DOL on McGraw’s behalf, she got a call.

McGraw says someone from DOL walked her through the entire process, and she has now received all of her unemployment money.

Shorlty before the story aired, 13 Investigates heard back from the Department of Labor. After asking for comment two days before the story aired.

They said, "the New York State Department of Labor cannot comment on individual claims due to privacy laws.”

DOL does have some accessibility features. All of this information is available in the Unemployment Insurance Claimant Handbook, the UI FAQs, and online at their Career Services for Persons with Disabilities website.