The Connecticut Department of Labor is replacing a decades-old program with a brand-new online format.
Efforts to create ReEmployCT started six years ago. The program is now fully functioning and meant to make the filing process much easier for both filers and employers.
"We are so happy to retire our legacy system, which is over 40 years old," said Dante Bartolomeo, CT Dept. of Labor commissioner.
According to the Department of Labor, it will be quicker to file now. It also reduces the need to mail or fax documents, as well as the number of filings for some employers by roughly 75%.
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"It's one system, not five. It's much more efficient. It's online and it's mobile-friendly," Bartolomeo said.
During the pandemic, the state went from one to eight insurance programs, administering $10.2 billion to support families and the economy. Governor Ned Lamont said nearly 70% of these funds came from the federal government, 30% from the state.
"Especially during those tough, tough COVID times. We went from maybe 40,000 claims to 400,000 claims in that one-week period," Lamont said.
"Unemployment insurance is a social safety net. It's not one that we often think about, but we became very, very much aware how much the residents of Connecticut depended upon the benefits we were administering just to put food on their table and a roof over their head," Bartolomeo said.
As of 4 p.m. Tuesday, the department had more than 20,000 people registered in the system, and 7,600 certified for their weekly benefits. Some, however, are experiencing technical difficulties.
Kate Mertens from Hartford submits her claim every Monday, but the switch over forced the old site to shut down the last Sunday in June, leaving Mertens without a week’s worth of pay. She wishes she had a little more notice from the state.
"I'm managing but I'm sure there are a lot of people that are not," Mertens said. "To me, it's a big deal. I'm dipping into what little savings I have to cover myself."
Bartolomeo said anyone who didn't file by Sunday, June 26 will still have the ability to apply through Saturday, July 9 for those benefits.
"We have made accommodations with the American job centers. We have multiple computers in those systems. Someone can walk in and sit, and I have someone ready to assist them if they're having difficulty," Bartolomeo said.
If you are having issues with the site or logging on it, officials recommend scheduling a call back appointment.