Frustrations continue to mount over unemployment as more workers move to new call center

Frustrations continue to mount over unemployment as more workers move to new call center
The convention center phone bank is expanding (Source: DLIR)

HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Frustrations over unemployment continue to mount as more volunteers will be moving to the state’s new call center at the Hawaii Convention Center on Monday.

Officials said they will be running the call center only out of the Convention Center and the Kakaako site will be closing.

The state Department of Labor and Industrial Relations said phone bank hours will be from 7:45 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, and from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday.

Workers will be processing filings made online from 7 a.m. to noon and from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Meanwhile, many people reported problems with the unemployment website over the weekend as filers said they couldn’t get on the site all day.

Some, like resident Howard Kent, said they are upset and frustrated that they haven’t been able to file a claim for weeks as their bank accounts dry up.

"My wife and I have both been out of work now for a month and we still cannot get through to unemployment," Kent told Hawaii News Now. "You can't get paid if you don't file your claim. So how are we gonna collect? Are they gonna pay us when we go back to work? I need the money now. Not in June."

Hawaii has the highest unemployment rate in the nation as a result of the shuttered tourism industry.

Laid-off workers have encountered problems at almost every step of the filing process, especially those trying to call for assistance with their claim.

The growing number of volunteers taking the calls should ease the burden, but antiquated equipment and low grade technology have also contributed to the problems — and those are tougher to fix.

Here are some resources for those trying to file:

  • First-time filers for unemployment benefits, click here.
  • To review an FAQ after filing a claim, click here.
  • A step-by-step guide for filing, certifying and obtaining unemployment benefits is available here.
  • To check the status of your claim, click here.
  • Those who have received a disqualification notification, click here. This portal is only for those who were notified by email, letter, or other message that says you are disqualified. Submit your full name, last four digits of your Social Security number, telephone number with the area code, and a screenshot of the disqualification.
  • To reset your password, call (833) 901-2272.
  • Call (833) 901-2275 to make an appointment by phone or if you’re having trouble with filing for unemployment.

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