13 Investigates follow-up: Man finally receives unemployment benefits

Over the past two years, 13 Investigates has been reporting on people waiting for months and months to get their unemployment benefits in the Capital Region. One of them is Michael Bacher.

Bacher received $2,200 in benefits, and he said he is feeling a lot lighter after it came in. He was able to pay off his outstanding bills.

Bacher called us after feeling at a total loss as to what to do to get the benefits he was owed by the New York State Department of Labor. For months, he was trying, but never got any luck. He could not get a real person on the phone no matter how many times he called.

In March, Bacher sat down with 13 Investigates to show us what happened when he called. It kept him on an endless loop of automated messages.

Bacher said he is mpw working at his part-time job again at a local country club as a maintenance worker. He is making a good amount of money to keep himself afloat.

“Things are much better; I’m just hoping the third time is not a charm because I don’t want a third time going through waiting 13 to 15 weeks for my unemployment. It was tough,” Bacher said.

Bacher applies for unemployment every winter because his job is seasonal. He said he is worried he will have the same trouble all over again, and he has some advice for the department.

“I’m just hoping they use an operator next year. You have somebody to talk to,” he said. “I’ll wait 15 minutes to talk to somebody to understand my problem.”

13 Investigates reached out to the Department of Labor for comment, and it said:

The New York State Department of Labor is halfway through its 4-year strategic modernization plan, an ongoing effort that will reduce call volume, enhance customer experience, and swiftly connect New Yorkers to Unemployment Insurance benefits. NYSDOL is currently collaborating with the New York State Office of Information Technology Services to develop and implement technological solutions that will improve the UI benefits application process, check on the status of claims, and address claim issues with unprecedented efficiency with the goal of handling 100% of customer inquiries.”