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.”