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Governor Rell Reminds Users: Unemployment Insurance Offices Open Saturdays, MLK Holiday

Improvements Continue to Internet, Phone Systems;

Last Weekend Saw 148 Percent Increase in Web-Based Filing

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE            

January 15, 2010 

 

Governor M. Jodi Rell today reminded users of the state Unemployment Insurance (UI) system that Connecticut’s UI call centers are now open on Saturdays from 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., part of sweeping service improvements Governor Rell has ordered including major upgrades to the Internet-based process for filing and continuing claims and an ongoing expansion of the telephone-based portion of the filing system.

 

In addition, the call centers will be open on Monday, January 18, when most state offices are closed in honor of the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

 

“The economic crisis has turned everyday life upside-down for so many Connecticut families,” Governor Rell said. “Layoffs and business closings have left a staggering number of people wondering how they will pay their bills, feed their families and keep a roof over their heads. They have been understandably frustrated with our unemployment system, which has been overwhelmed by the number of claims.

 

“We are doing everything we can to improve that process,” the Governor said. “We added five servers to the UI computer system last week, and the number of on-line continuing claims processed on Sunday totaled 40,942 – up from 16,587 the preceding week. That is an increase of 148 percent. Callers and people commenting on-line are saying they were able to get their claims completed on line quickly  – a vast improvement over the hours it had been taking and one that I know is welcome for people struggling with the personal and financial difficulties that come with the loss of a job.

 

“We continue to work on upgrading the telephone filing system as well,” Governor Rell said. “We are adding telephone lines, adding staff time and adding new automated processing systems to handle claims. Everyone – from the Department of Labor and the Department of Information Technology to our vendors – is working overtime to make these improvements quickly. Phone lines are being installed within days rather than the weeks, and equipment is being built, tested and installed in less than two weeks, rather than the ordinary six- to eight-week schedule.”

 

This week a sixth server was added to the UI computer system to further bolster its ability to handle high volumes of claims. The Labor Department is also adding capacity to its printing and mailing operations to ensure that as the number of claims processed increases it will be able to print and mail benefit checks to recipients in a timely fashion. Beginning overnight Sunday, 96,000 unemployment checks were processed – a record.

 

“For many families these UI benefits are a lifeline while they continue the search for a new career,” Governor Rell said. “We will continue to make every effort to ensure the process is as smooth and efficient as we can make it.”


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