Struggles with unemployment claims continue, KDOL responds

Local

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Kansans who are still looking for work continue to rely on unemployment, and for many, the struggles with unemployment payments continue.  

Lakisha Anderson has received some unemployment money but is still waiting on unemployment checks from several months ago.  

Anderson said after she spent two hours Friday morning talking to four different representatives, the last rep stated there were IT problems on her end and then she disconnected. Anderson said she doesn’t know if her case was resolved or what exactly was going on. 

What happens now?

“I guess we’ll wait a couple more days or so, I don’t know,” said Anderson. “It’s just like you just wait and either you might get it or you just don’t.”

Anderson shares a similar story with many unemployed Wichitans. On Friday, a dozen Kansans rallied to voice their frustrations. Many said it comes down to one issue — getting through the phone lines with a KDOL representative. 

“There is a lot of issue with people just trying to get through to talk to somebody,” said Megan Duree from Wichita. “There is an issue with customer service representatives as opposed to claims specialists, we need more claim specialists.”

Duree said that even if she has received payments, she dealt with issues similar to that of Anderson’s. She’s concerned there are not enough reps to take care of these complicated cases.  

KDOL has acknowledged the protest, the number of call representatives available, and released the following statement:

KDOL respects every American’s right to peacefully protest. We continue to strive to get every legitimate claimant paid every dollar they are due. The agency is paying out both the federal Continued Assistance Act and American Rescue Plan funds to claimants, and between the week ending 02/13 and the week ending 04/24 KDOL has paid out over $183 million in state and federal benefits. In terms of reaching our contact center, we announced in March that we were adding up to 500 more customer service staff to support the surge in calls, and we plan on having them deployed and on the phones between mid-March and early-May, bringing the total number of staff directly assisting claimants to approximately 950.”

You can find more information about claimant staff here.

Protestors said they want to shine a light on those still facing unemployment issues and want to work together with the KDOL office to fix these ongoing issues.

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