Senator Witkos Joins Calls for Increased Communication and Data From State Department of Labor
Hartford – State Senator Kevin Witkos (R-8th District) has recently signed on to a letter from the Senate Republican Caucus to Commissioner Kurt Westby of the state Department of Labor voicing concerns about the number of residents expressing issues with unemployment benefits and the inability of the Department of Labor to address calls and emails from residents. "Over the past month, I have been contacted by numerous constituents all expressing their frustration and anxiety over the inability to receive any information from the Department of Labor. On top of worrying about losing their jobs and keeping their family and loved ones safe, these constituents were at their wits end trying to have their specific questions and concerns answered by the Department of Labor. While the Department of Labor has announced their efforts to speed up the process of processing claims, too many of our residents have been left with worry and uncertainty due to a lack of information from the Department of Labor" said Senator Witkos. CT DOL announced on April 15, 2020 that significant computer system upgrades have been made with the goal of speeding unemployment claims processing, the letter asked for an update this week on how those upgrades are working to help constituents obtain the financial assistance they desperately need and have been waiting on for many weeks. The letter included the following asks: 1. A summary of the 60,000 claim test performed on April 15, 2020. 2. How many claims have been processed since the system upgrades were implemented, 3. How many outstanding claims remain. 4. Whether or not the CT DOL remains on track to begin distributing the additional weekly $600 benefit in federal stimulus funds by April 24th. 5. Whether or not CT DOL remains on track to begin the new benefit program for self-employed individuals by April 30th. 6. A timeline for processing claims over the phone. 7. A timeline for being able to address case specific questions over the phone. "I am pleased to join several of my fellow Senators in calling for the Department of Labor to take meaningful steps to address this ongoing issue and look forward to seeing tangible results. Added Senator Witkos.