State launches new online portal for tracking unemployment claims
HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - The state Unemployment Office has launched a new web link for people to track their claims.
The status form went online Tuesday after multiple complaints from people waiting to receive benefits.
Since March 1, some 230,631 jobless claims have been filed. That’s roughly a third of the state’s workforce.
Also Tuesday, more help arrived for the state Department of Labor and Industrial Relations.
Nine volunteers ― librarians and library staff ― set up another processing site at the state library, which is currently closed to the public.
Stacey Aldrich, the state librarian, said they reached out to Department of Labor Director Scott Murakami to offer their services.
“We’re all about serving the community," Aldrich said, adding that during the shutdown the volunteers were working from home and many didn’t hesitate to help.
“Staff know people who are waiting for unemployment checks," Aldrich said.
Nine showed up Tuesday because that’s all that could be trained at the site.
But a total of 30 volunteers from her division are expected.
“They were there and said whatever you need, I want to help,” she said.
Murakami also announced the addition of a third call center and claims processing site, which will be up and running April 21 at the Hawaii Convention Center.
He said the additional locations are needed to ease the burden on the downtown office, and the Kakaako phone bank that launched last week.
Both sites crashed because of the overwhelming amount of people seeking assistance with their claims.
Murakami told state lawmakers that the locations also allow for social distancing.
He pointed out that while it is taking longer to get benefits paid out, money is starting to flow.
He said that $11 million in claims were paid last week statewide, and this past Monday alone the total was nearly $8 million.
“I realize that’s not enough, that we’re trying to do more," Murakami said. “But it’s a good sign to see the money’s going out.”
To help streamline the process, the state has also set up emails for those with specific requests:
1. Backdating - email@example.com
This email address is for those who would like to have their claim backdated. The backdate will be for their first week of less than full employment due to COVID-19. Individuals are to submit their full name, last four digits of their Social Security Number, telephone number (including area code), and the week that they would like their claim backdated to.
2. Disqualification - firstname.lastname@example.org
This email address is for those who have received an email, letter, or other messages (screenshot) that says that they are disqualified from UI. Individuals are to submit their full name, last four digits of their Social Security Number, telephone number (including area code), and a screenshot of their disqualification.
3. Language access - email@example.com
This email address is for those who would like to request language assistance from UI. Individuals are to submit their full name, telephone number (including area code), and the language that would like to receive interpretation services. The interpretation services would be provided free of charge and via telephone.
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