State hopes new system alleviates unemployment frustrations

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DENVER (KDVR) — The state says it has employees working overtime to expand the capacity of its unemployment benefits website and call center.

“Within the last 24 hours, we doubled the amount of staff in our customer service center,” said Cher Haavind, a spokesperson for the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment.

“(Monday) at this time, we were receiving a lot of calls and complaints and traffic to social media on inability to get into the system, and it’s calmed down a little bit as of today (Tuesday),” she said.

On Monday, the state launched a system encouraging applicants to file for benefits during designated times, according to the first letter of their last names.

Geena Galvan said she had success using that method during an off-peak hour. She stayed up until 1 a.m. on Tuesday – the day designated for her last name – after trying at other times, unsuccessfully, for the previous week.

“Drink a Red Bull, set an alarm and go for it,” she said. “Honestly, if I wouldn’t have done it, I don’t think I would have filed for unemployment this soon.”

Haavind reminded applicants that their benefits are based on their last paycheck and not on the date they file. She urged people to have patience and to visit the state website.

She said staff members are constantly updating the site to provide answers to frequently and repeatedly asked questions.

“We continue to see unprecedented demand and applications submitted,” Haavind said.

She urged people to attempt to file for benefits during off-peak times.

“Obviously we are frustrated as well, and we understand there’s a lot of anxiety and uncertainty. We are working on all of our systems throughout the day and night. We have staff working overtime,” Haavind said.

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