Unemployment issues: Ways to address them

Local

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – The Governor’s office isn’t giving many answers to your questions when it comes to unemployment.

It’s been problem after problem from social security numbers distributed to the wrong person to money being taken out of personal bank accounts. 

Lesa Rhodes’ family dealing with both sides. Her husband waited eight weeks to receive his unemployment payments but is finally back on track. As for her daughter, she is still waiting for her payment. 

Rhodes says enough is enough.

“You’re already in a pandemic, you’re already in quarantine, you’re already alone, and now you have no money coming in, what are you doing to these people,” said Lesa Rhodes.

How many people are impacted by these latest frustrations? The Governor’s office would not give us a number. 

A spokesman for Governor Laura Kelly stated: “We just began what will be a thorough review of the Kansas Department of Labor. To our knowledge, there has been no systemic data breach. Because information on a person’s unemployment claim is privileged and confidential, we can’t comment on specific claims. However, on occasion human error leads to administrative inadvertent, this is not unique to the Kansas Department of Labor, it happens in the government agencies across the country. For individuals who were impacted by administrative inadvertent, we have systems in place to identify them and contact them as we find out. For those who have been impacted, we will offer credit monitoring for a full year.”

As for the delay with payments, duplicate payments, and withdrawing money from unemployed Kansans accounts, they still blame the old system.

The office sent a statement that said “Under Governor Kelly’s administration the Kansas Department of Labor was in the preliminary stages of a multi-year process to modernize of our system, then COVID-19 happened. As a result, the Kansas Department of Labor had to shift its full efforts to helping Kansans who either lost their jobs or were furloughed, and from March 15th to June 20th they delivered $1,019,899,275 in unemployment insurance to Kansans. This administration will continue to use every resource at our disposal to ensure Kansans are getting the support they need from the Kansas Department of Labor.”

When money was withdrawn, it left some people with overdraft fees and other late payments.

The governor has promised to make those Kansans whole but hasn’t said how.

The office also hasn’t given a scope to how many people are affected.

We also wanted to see what banks are saying.

Intrust Bank told us they haven’t seen direct overdraft charges from KDOL’s withdrawal, but said: “We always work with our customers on an individual basis based on their unique situation.”

Meritrust Credit Union officials said, “We encourage any of our members who have been impacted by the unemployment issues to communicate with us.”

Both are advising that if you received an overdraft fee, the first step is to call them.

Another phone number you can call is the new hotline specifically for these duplicate payment problems.

The number is 785-580-2602.

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