KDOL begins partnership with Kansas sheriff offices to help expedite unemployment claims process

Local

WICHITA, Kan (KSNW) – Since 2020, staff at the Kansas Department of Labor (KDOL) have dealt with old equipment and new federal programs as more and more Kansans continued to face issues with their claims being denied. Now, KDOL is working to get cases cleared up and money into accounts.

Twenty-nine Kansas sheriff offices, including Sedgwick County, are teaming up with KDOL to help verify the identity of many who are waiting for their unemployment.

“I am owed somewhere around $40,000, and I have never gotten a dime,” said Jeremy Rutherford, who has been waiting for his unemployment money.

Marked as “fraud”, Rutherford has been trying to get his unemployment for more than a year. On Monday, he was the third person at the Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office hoping to prove he is who he says he is.

“If you’re committing fraud, you are not going to the sheriffs office. You know it’s not happening,” said Rutherford.

Craig Wichier, another Wichitan who’s struggling with unemployment issues, said he hasn’t been paid since December.

“You call and they refer you to a website, and the website refers you to a number. It’s just a circle,” said Wichier.

Sedgwick County Lieutenant Benjamin Blick said his office has been busy verifying more by 30 people before noon.

“If it’s just me sitting in there for a matter of five minutes helping someone fill out a form,” Lt. Blick said. “If we can speed that process up like I said, it’s a small token for what we can do for those people.”

Once the sheriff’s office verifies each individual against who they say they are, the forms go back to KDOL and it’s on the Department of Labor to further process the claims.

“I’m at my last end, I’m trying anything, and I don’t think it’s going to help, but I’m trying anything,” said Wichier.

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