The coronavirus pandemic has made a huge dent on the economy as companies struggle to make profits and hence pay their employees. This has led to massive layoffs across industries and has caused problems for millions of people.

In the US, New York has been one of the epicenters of the virus and is currently fighting an uphill battle. To help New Yorkers claim unemployment benefits from the government, Google has stepped in to improve the online portal. In a press release sent out on Thursday, the New York State Government has announced a partnership with Google to improve the online unemployment portal.

The online unemployment benefits application page was briefly offline on Thursday ( 5:00 PM to 7:00 PM) to make necessary changes and will now be able to handle traffic spikes and an increased load. Google made the following upgrades to the portal to improve the user experience and make sure the website can handle an influx of traffic:

  • Leveraging Google Cloud’s infrastructure to increase reliability and allow the application to scale, so it can handle a high volume of users;
  • Allowing users to save an incomplete application and pick up where they left off;
  • Providing an “every device experience,” so New Yorkers can file from smartphones, tablets, and laptops; and
  • Streamlining the number of questions so the application is shorter and easier to understand.

I recognize that this is an extremely challenging time for all New Yorkers. I have been unemployed. I understand the urgency. We want you to be aware of the steps that we are taking to respond to each of you, as quickly as we can. We know that your livelihood depends on it and we assure you that you will get your benefits.

– Roberta Reardon, NYS Department of Labor Commissioner

Google is not the only company that’s helping New York cope with the coronavirus pandemic. The following companies are also doing their part to help New Yorkers claim their benefits and get the correct information.

  • Deloitte is opening an additional unemployment insurance call center staffed by hundreds of experienced customer service professionals, which will dramatically increase the number of calls that can be handled; and
  • Verizon is expanding the number of phone “ports” for the Department of Labor’s call center from 1,750 to over 10,000 by the end of this week — increasing the center’s call capacity.
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