Glitch disables state program

June 29, 2009

Colorado's Unemployment Insurance program suffered a computer crash last weekend that has left unemployed workers unable to use the program's online system to file either initial or continued claims for benefits.

Because of the problems, which had not been resolved by Monday afternoon, the program is giving unemployed workers until Wednesday to file new claims and still have the claims effective this week, and continued users until Saturday to file, said Cher Haavind, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Labor and Employment, which oversees the program.

Even with the computer system down, claimants can still use the program's automated phone system for continued claims, Haavind said, and new claimants can call a dedicated line to sign up for benefits.

"You won't lose out on any benefits because you're not able to get online," she said.

Although the computer glitch is a new problem for the insurance program, it has been plagued with long waits for phone assistance. Colorado Springs resident Rebecca Schindler, who has been out of work since January, said navigating the unemployment program has been frustrating.

"They're not responsive to their public," she said. "Nobody in that department wants to talk to the customers, and that's what we are, we're customers. They forget that."

The program has added staff and recently switched to a two-tier phone system, with one line for new claims and another for questions or problems with ongoing claims.

Calls to the new claims line are typically answered within 10 minutes, Haavind said, but getting help with a problem can still mean waiting on hold for up to an hour.


Call the writer at 636-0275



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