TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) — If you are filing for unemployment, there is new information about when you need to file.
The Kansas Department of Labor (KDOL) has updated their gating process. Starting immediately, if your last name begins with A-G you will file on Sunday, H-M file on Monday, N-S file on Tuesday and T-Z file on Wednesday. If you miss your filing day, anyone can file Thursday through Saturday.
KDOL Secretary Delia Garcia says this will help relieve stress on the department’s computer system, but also helps get payments out quicker. If you file on the incorrect day, your payment may be delayed.
“It’s a partnership through people, through individuals, you know paying attention to the advice and guidance we’re trying to give through social media and through the website,” explained Secretary Garcia.
Secretary Garcia says KDOL is seeing a decrease in the number of unemployment claims. Last week the department had about 13,000 initial claims, compared to this week with 11, 447 initial claims.
“That doesn’t mean that people don’t need our programs, but what it means is the number is decreasing. We’re serving more,” said Garcia.
According to Secretary Garcia, KDOL has paid out more than $223,336,649 million in unemployment benefits to Kansans. But, she says, the department is working to continue getting payments out to more people.
Previously, issues arose when attempting to send out payments. This was because the bank KDOL is using, Bank of America, put a spending cap on the account; meaning only a certain amount of money could be sent out at a given time. Secretary Garcia says that will no longer be an issue.
“We’re just going to lift the cap for now, until we get all payments out,” said Garcia. “That way we can do all three; our regular payments, also our FPUC $600 a week payments, the PUA payments and also the PEUC.”
The Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) is available for self-employed, contractors or gig-workers. Applications are now open for these individuals and payments are on track to go out on May 25, 2020. The Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) is available for individuals that have previously used all of their unemployment benefits. Those payments will go out at the end of the month.
Secretary Garcia understands Kansans’ frustrations with the outdated unemployment system in Kansas. She says that KDOL is working hard to get all payments out as quickly as possible. Garcia says that all regular payments, including the additional $600, should be going out. Back payments on the $600 should have gone out last week for most people, some will see that money in their bank accounts this week. PUA recipients will get their money and back payments beginning next week.
Many people have complained that when they login to see their benefits, it says the money has been sent, but they check their bank account and see the money is not there. Secretary Garcia says the money is probably on its way to you.
“According to our IT, it goes up immediately when the individual files and then it will take 2-3 business days for the money to hit the bank,” explained Secretary Garcia.
Many of the issues KDOL has been having with the unemployment surge can be traced back to the department’s computer system. Both Governor Laura Kelly and Secretary Garcia have blamed the more than 40-year-old system for the struggles. Garcia says KDOL was working to update the system prior to the coronavirus pandemic, but had to stop once the virus hit Kansas.
“I put that as a priority last year. We began the work last summer into the fall. I sent my staff to states like South Dakota and Mississippi, who have top of the line modernization systems in place that we would like to emulate,” explained Garcia. “So the plans are to continue picking up where we left off as soon as we get out of some of this.”
Secretary Garcia is optimistic that state lawmakers understand the great need for an updated computer system. KDOL estimates that it would cost between $37 to $37 million to update the system.