HARTFORD, Conn — State Labor Commissioner Kurt Westby was present during Governor Lamont's daily press briefing on Wednesday. During the briefing, Westby said that the Department of Labor has provided $35 million for nearly 104,000 people. The DOL has now as of April 8, processed nearly 133,000 unemployment claims out of 302,000 that have been received since March 13.
“We recognize the critical role unemployment insurance plays, as it provides a lifeline to people who are out of work,” said Westby, “During this time of need, the agency is working extra hours and weekends to process claims as quickly as possible and to program in computer changes to accommodate the new federal programs that will provide additional unemployment benefits.”
The DOL said that before the COVID-19 pandemic, it was issuing about 40,000 benefit payments weekly. They were also providing $15 to $16 million in benefits to people looking for new jobs.
The $35 million issued in the past week is more than a 100% increase than what was provided the previous week.
“Typically the agency receives 3,000 new claims a week – but the applications we have seen in the last 21 days represent more than we would handle in 18 months. Typically, a staff of 20 handles the weekly processing, but we now have over 80 CTDOL employees – including those from other units, retirees, and former staff who have transferred to other agencies – all working together to get benefits to our residents as quickly as possible. Additional staff are receiving training and will soon be assisting as well,” Westby added.
Westby did state that though claims are being processed, there is a six-week backlog. He did say that all eligible claims would be processed.
“The agency appreciates the public’s patience as it works to process the thousands of claims that have been filed as a result of the pandemic. Although there continues to be a six-week backlog, all eligible claims will be processed, paid, and retroactive to the date they were filed,” said Westby.
The DOL is working on correcting the problem in an effort to speed up the claims process.
Below is information from the DOL:
To speed up the processing of their claims, unemployed residents who have not yet filed should:
- Visit www.filectui.com;
- Click first on the message above the large blue button that notes: “for quicker payment of unemployment benefits, please follow these instructions.” The link will bring claimants to a guide that should be read before filing for benefits.
For residents that have already filed a claim, Westby reminds residents that it is very important that they check their email (including junk and spam folders) daily for updated messages from the Labor Department.
The agency hopes to be able to provide the federal benefits, including the weekly $600 in additional payments and benefits to self-employed individuals and independent contractors, in the next several weeks. Updates on the status of these programs will also be posted to the agency’s website, www.ctdol.state.ct.us. Federal benefits will be retroactive to the date they were signed into law.