DENVER (KDVR) — Nearly every sector of Colorado’s economy is now being impacted by the coronavirus outbreak, and Colorado’s unemployment system has reached a breaking point.
The state’s unemployment website keeps crashing as the job losses pile up.
“Everyone’s in this situation,” explained Joe Barela, executive director of the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment.
Numerous state unemployment websites across the country have crashed in recent days because of the amount of people trying to file unemployment claims.
Colorado’s site is seeing as much traffic in one day as it typically sees in an entire week.
“This morning — even before we opened for business at 8 a.m. — we had over 100,000 people waiting to get into the call center,” said Barela.
The state is expecting upwards of 25,000 new unemployment claims again this week. However, that number doesn’t reflect the thousands of Coloradans who have logged online only to have the website crash.
Erin Voight has been trying since last Wednesday when she suddenly became unemployed.
“Multiple times a day, probably hundreds of times a day, and we keep getting stuck at either the same spot or getting server maintenance issues. I can’t get any of my applications to go through,” Voight explained.
The Colorado Department of Labor and Employment is making some changes. The department is now repurposing 90 employees to help process claims. An additional 60 workers are also being hired to help staff the unemployment benefits call center, but it will take 10 to 14 days to train them.
“This happened in the course of a week. We went from 4,000 claims to over 180,000 people trying to come into the system in five days,” Barela said.
The message from the state is to keep trying.
“Stay optimistic. Don’t give up. We’re putting so many resources into trying to increase that capacity,” Barela said.
The Department of Labor and Employment says it should take about 10 days to start receiving benefits after you file.
The state has now set up a system for applying. If your last name begins with the letters A-M, you should file on Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday or after noon on Saturdays.
If your last name begins with the letters N-Z, you should file on Monday, Wednesday, Friday or before noon on Saturday.