unemployment claims

Some Conn. Filers Struggling With New Unemployment System

The Connecticut Department of Labor has paid out more than $10 million in unemployment benefits in the state's new system, ReEmployCT.

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The state’s new unemployment benefits and tax system, ReEmployCT, launched two weeks ago. Since its launch, the Connecticut Department of Labor reports that more than 21,000 claimants have filed for benefits and the department has paid out more than $10 million in unemployment benefits.

Not everyone is having success with the new system. The Department of Labor's contact center has been flooded with calls from people experiencing problems. Several filers spoke with NBC Connecticut and detailed issues they've been having with the new system.

Gail Oullette, from Plantsville, said that she has been losing sleep from worrying about her unemployment claim and the uncertainty that surrounds it.

“It is exhausting, it really is,” Oullette said. “I am stressed because you don’t know when the issue is going to be resolved.”

Oullette said that in the new system, she was unable to complete her filing. She said that she called the center and was told a supervisor would call her back, but she has not been called.

While she waits, she doesn’t know when she will receive her unemployment benefits.

"If they don't call me back, then what do I do?” Oullette said.

Oullette is not alone.

NBC Connecticut also spoke with a school transit driver who lives in Waterford. As a seasonal worker, Shannon Silva said that she usually files for unemployment in the summer. This year with the new system, she has experienced problems and has not yet received the benefits that she has been planning on.

“I budget accordingly to what I will get for unemployment for the summer, but I don’t plan on going four weeks without payment so it kind of feels like I’m drowning,” Silva said.

Stephen Roach, from New Haven, is also having trouble. He said that his stress level has been through the roof.

“I was relying on that money to bridge the gap until I could get to work again so it’s been very hard and very stressful,” Roach said.

A spokesperson for the CT Department of Labor said the department is unable to discuss individual cases. She stressed that the Consumer Contact Center is the best place for filers to turn if they are having issues.

The call volume at the Consumer Contact Center skyrocketed when ReEmployCT was first launched. The agents went from fielding approximately 2,100 calls a day to 17,000.

The CTDOL reports that each call time is now down to about 12 minutes and the center received half as many calls today as they did last week.

For the week of July 16 through July 31, the Consumer Contact Center will be operating Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. until 5 p.m. and Saturday from 7 a.m. until 4:30 p.m.

You can reach the contact center at 203-941-6868, 860-967-0493, or 800-956-3294. Consumers are encouraged to schedule a callback. Wait times vary.

Some appointments are still a week out, but if you are looking to get help filing a new claim, appointments are available as early as July 19.

To learn more about scheduling a callback appointment, click here.

The CTDOL reports they have also increased the number of agents working in the center from 90 to 140 agents.

For step-by-step directions on how to use ReEmploy CT, click here.

CTDOL reports that most people who call in to the contact center are locked out of their account. They don’t have to call for this; they can submit a form to have their account unlocked.

The CTDOL is also warning filers to be on the lookout for scams. The department does not do claims work over social media or text. They ask anyone who receives suspicious texts or emails to not click any links.

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