COVID-19 has resulted in a large increase in unemployment claims filings throughout the country. With many states making the decision to close all entertainment venues, along with restaurants, bars, movie theatres, and gyms, the number of people currently laid off from their employer is astronomical. This increase has brought some state unemployment agencies to their knees.

At CCC we received notification of three state systems that couldn’t handle the increase. Kentucky, New York, and New Jersey’s systems were overwhelmed and had to shut down. Kentucky’s phone line and website for filing unemployment insurance claims were not functioning Tuesday and have not since Monday morning when the Governor’s order went into effect. Kentucky’s errors were a result of an increase in unemployment claims, from an average of 2,000 claims a week before the virus outbreak to 9,000 claims processed on Tuesday alone.

To combat the increase in claims, Kentucky has issued new protocols for residents who want to file for unemployment insurance. The state unemployment agency is asking people to follow a schedule based on the first letter of their last name if they plan to file for unemployment this week.

The agency has also increased its staff to deal with unemployment claims by 45 individuals and will set up an alternative online application system Wednesday morning that people can use if the regular system crashes. That alternative system will be available on the Kentucky Career Center website: https://kcc.ky.gov/career.

In New York, so many people tried to apply that the website crashed several times throughout the day — while the Department of Labor’s hotline was so busy that callers seeking aid could not get through to someone who could handle their claim. Typically those seeking to file unemployment have from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays. DOL spokeswoman Deanna Cohen said the department saw a “spike in volume comparable to post 9/11,” adding there are more than 700 staffers assigned to handle the high demand.

New Jersey’s system crashed as a result of over $15,000 people attempting to file on Monday, March 16, 2020. Governor Phil Murphy has indicated he has requested assistance from the federal government in making sure every application is received and handled. He adds that the state’s paid sick leave and paid family leave laws are in place for “a situation exactly like this.”

Governor Murphy advised all those with their employment affected by the crisis to visit the state’s labor website if you need help.

At CCC we’ve seen a large increase in the numbers of claims coming through the SIDES interface, as well a via traditional mail.  For all claims related to COVID-19, CCC is providing a response noting that it is due to the virus and properly coding the claim to ensure our clients have the ability to review the effect on their program once this is all over. Don’t worry – CCC’s got you taken care of! With recent upgrades to our infrastructure, CCC Chief Technology Officer, Dan Tienes, indicates “I’m not worried about our system crashing”.

 


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