Unemployment benefits start flowing again for many but not all

There is new hope this week for unemployment claimants waiting on a federal extension of their benefits.
Updated: Feb. 17, 2021 at 10:22 AM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - There is new hope this week for unemployment claimants waiting on a federal extension of their benefits.

Those waiting on the second Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation were finally able to file their claims on Monday after more than a month-long delay as the state scrambled to re-implement the federal extension program on its outdated computer system.

The state started processing the second round of PEUC claims Monday and said people could have been paid as early as Tuesday, processing around 10,000 claims each night out of some 68,000, but Hawaii News Now hasn’t heard of anyone being paid yet.

Many of them are getting their monetary determination, which is a big step, but many people are still waiting on the actual payments and some are still waiting on the first round of PEUC: the first 13-week federal extension after exhausting regular state benefits.

Because HNN rarely gets a response from the DLIR, a lot of the information and stories compiled are from claimants reaching out to the newsroom and posting on a very popular Facebook group called Hawaii Unemployment Updates and Support Group.

Because so many people turn to that forum for help and guidance because they can’t get through to the actual department, DLIR has been asked by the group to staff someone to respond to people’s inquiries there.

One of the moderators for that group Kanani Elaban, an unemployment claimant herself.

Elaban said all of the moderators have attempted in the last year to get in touch with DLIR director Anne Perreira-Eustaquio but have not successfully gotten through to her.

“It would be very beneficial for everyone if they had someone from the DLIR on the group answering questions, but unfortunately they don’t, and we haven’t been able to do that. So that’s why the community just gets together and helps each other out,” Elaban said.

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