The Connecticut Department of Labor has received more than 250,000 unemployment claims in the past three weeks, and officials estimated Friday that their backlog for processing those claims is approximately five weeks.
Unemployment has soared across the country as businesses are forced to adjust operations or shut down due to the coronavirus crisis.
Commissioner Kurt Westby said the agency has already processed more than 90,000 of the over 250,000 claims they've received. The department said the number of claims they're looking at is more than the agency normally receives in an entire year.
Employees are working overtime and weekends trying to work through the backlog. Westby said more than 80 employees are assigned to processing claims, four times the 20 employees who regularly do the work.
“The agency is working diligently to serve its residents and appreciates the public’s patience as it works to process the thousands of claims that have been filed as a result of the pandemic. We want to let people know that although it will take some time, all eligible claims will be processed, paid, and retroactive to the date they were filed," Westby said.
The department is struggling as it works with a 40-year-old computer system. They are developing a new, more automated system, but that will not be ready until mid-2021.
Those who have not yet filed should take the following steps when they apply:
- Visit www.filectui.com;
- Click first on the message above the large blue button that notes: “for quicker payment if unemployment benefit, please follow these instructions.” The link will bring claimants to a guide that should be read BEFORE filing for benefits.
- The guide will provide guidance on filing claims as a “Temporary Shutdown” option and provide guidance on entering a Return to Work date.
Those who have filed should be checking their email, including junk and spam folders, for further instructions from the Labor Department.