Filing Unemployment Claims Much Easier Now

Swarthmore College
NBC Philadelphia

Ask almost anyone who has been laid off in the past year and they’ll tell you filing an unemployment claim hasn’t been easy.  Connecticut’s unemployment system recently came under fire over the holidays when things seemingly came to a screeching halt.

“I would dial the phone like 20 or more times a day or spend hours online trying to file my claim with no luck,” said Dawn Bliesener of Shelton.

That was pretty much the story across the board up until a few weeks ago.  That’s when some much needed, perhaps overdue, improvements to the state’s unemployment system when into effect.

“What we’ve done is put in 5 new servers to help the old one that was 9 years old.  We’ve always called back 30 retiree employees and are in the process of adding new interactive voice response systems to the phone lines,” said Nancy Steffens of the Department of Labor.

Since then, folks like Bliesener say filing claim is a whole lot easier.  The only real hiccup came on Sunday when the new phone software glitched causing the Telebenefits line to go down for a few hours.  The Department of Labor says the vendor corrected the issue and the system was back up by Sunday afternoon.

“It took me all of a minute to a minute and a half to file my claim online,” said Bliesener.

Now that the system appears to be back on track, what’s next?  The Governor and Department of Labor say direct deposit and debits cards for the unemployed.  It’s a program that’ll not only save time, but save the state money as well.

“It’ll be marvelous to just know the money is there, and that I can pay my rent instantly,” said Bliesener.

Thirty other states have struck deals with banks to offer the program.  The Department of Labor says it should be up and running here in Connecticut by this summer.

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