Kansas Department of Labor says it will soon have unemployment claim backlog done

Local

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Waiting and wishing, many Kansans said they are desperate to get their unemployment benefits from last year.

Cory Vandegrift said he was laid off from his job in aviation last April. He’s filed every week since but has only received payment twice. The state said that could change soon.

“I can go in, and I can check my claim status. That’s all I can do and I can see. Every week that I’ve filed and every week that’s been processed, but nothing’s been paid.”

He and many others who were laid off from the aviation industry are still waiting for unemployment relief.

“I have called 150 times a day, can’t get through to anybody you know, I have, I have children to feed, and I’ve been relying on other assistance in order to do that,” said Vandegrift.

Ryan Wright with the Kansas Department of Labor said they have added more than 400 temporary employees to answer phones. He said they expect to get through the unemployment backlog this week.

“If a claim is owed a dollar from this agency and the claim is found to be valid, they will get paid that money,” said Wright.

Wright said since March of 2020, 3.7 million claims have been processed. He said for those still waiting, if your claim is approved, the money will be on its way.

“We literally have some employees working 24 hours a day to make sure that we are getting claims paid,” Said Wright.

But for Vandegrift he says time is running out.

“I was employed for many, many years, and I never thought I’d get up in this position. And now that I’m in this position, I can’t get the help that I need to stay afloat,” said Vandegrift.

Tuesday night, Governor Kelly announced that she will be committing $37.5 million dollars to this year’s budget to update KDOL’s old IT system.

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