Getting Help When You're Out of a Job

The rising unemployment problem in Connecticut is slowing the system down.  And while the state Department of Labor said unemployment checks usually arrive two to three days after you apply for aid, the front end of the process is clogged up.

Reaching the unemployment office is taking a number of attempts, according to labor department managers.

The number of people out of work continues to climb in Connecticut.  More people are filing claims at state offices.

"It's important that people do call because really it's a way for people to get by until they find another job," said Nancy Steffens of the Connecticut Department of Labor.

Most first time filers need to do so by phone said Steffens.  These days, that takes a little patience.  It is taking multiple tries to reach a state labor representative on the phone to complete your application.

As of mid-November, Connecticut unemployment claims averaged 53,780.  It is increased by 48% over the same time last year when the department processed 46,413 claims.

"We are asking people to be patient.  We are having people get through," said Steffens.  "It's just not taking one try or two tries - it's maybe taking 4 or 5 tries."

Last year in November, it was taking people an average of 13 weeks to find a new job, according to the labor department.  The number of weeks has jumped to 16.

To help get people back to work, Connecticut runs employment centers around the state that offer free access to the Internet and other services.

Reggie Lenon of Hartford recently lost his job at Cigna.  He said he was on the hunt at one state employment center hoping to get back to work soon.

"Jobs are scarce all over.  We're in a bad economical crisis," Lenon told a reporter.  "I come down here everyday and try to see any opportunities that I can explore," Lenon added.

Lenon said he was optimistic and he was prepared to fight through this adverse time.

The Department of Labor suggested that the best time to call for unemployment benefits is on a Thursday early in the morning.  Steffens said the busiest time is on Monday and generally any mid-afternoon.

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