Like most other states in the country, Kansas experienced a number of unexpected problems during the coronavirus outbreak. When thousands of residents were laid off, they began to use the dated unemployment system and collect back wages from employers all at once. This created a surge of claims that could not be fulfilled in a reasonable time.
Process to help unemployed workers breaks down
The computer system that handles claims in the state experienced a sudden rush of about 200,000 claims in just under a month. The mainframe computer that handles unemployment is over 40 years old, and the increase in the computer’s workload over the same time last year was approximately 3000% more.
While workers waited for days without getting on a response, or stayed on hold on the phone for hours at a time, they were not receiving their unemployment benefits. The phone and computer systems have even crashed at times, which causes a new wave of calls and applications coming in as people need to resend requests. The governor admitted that the unemployment system has essentially been neglected for the last few decades. The coronavirus pandemic demonstrated that this system is inadequate to handle a sudden influx of claims.
There have been a number of tech professionals working long hours to try to update the state’s unemployment claims infrastructure while keeping the old one in place and functional until all of the updates are complete. This has proven to be extremely difficult, as information needs to be migrated from an old system to a new one while handling a very dense workload. The governor assured residents that the process is being completed as quickly as possible and asked for continued patience.
The residents who have been affected by an inability to receive their proper benefits are obviously not pleased. Many of them have bills that are several weeks late already. One self employed 38 year old male who was interviewed said that he has not received any kind of accurate timeline regarding when his claim will be processed. The delays cause people to wait hours or days before they can even confirm if their claims have been filed and received or not. Others reportedly attempted to call the unemployment office at 8 am when it first opened, only to receive busy signals after hundreds of attempts. More workers were forced to contact the office by phone when the website crashed.
When problems related to back wages from an employer or similar issues get serious, it may be best to get outside help from an attorney.
Learn more about labor and employment laws from a local lawyer
There are attorneys who represent local clients in the state of Kansas with any issues related to unpaid wages, wrongful termination, sexual harassment, or similar problems. Browse the listings on USAttorneys.com to find a lawyer in your city.