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US: Millions are applying for unemployment, but the system is broken by design. Here are their stories

Following eight years working in luxury retail and more than 20 years in finance before that, Francis Rennie is considering retiring in September.

“I can’t do this anymore,” says Rennie, 65, who has been furloughed since March because of the coronavirus pandemic.

It’s not a rash decision, he says. He has waited nearly four months for his first unemployment payment from New York State’s Department of Labor. That’s after spending the better part of a month struggling to access the state’s website and unemployment claim assistance line for help with his application. Finally, he received a notification from the state: It was a letter that arrived in late May stating he had been approved. Since then he has received others reminding him to recertify for his benefits, which he has done each passing week.

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