The Colorado Department of Labor and Employment’s Unemployment Insurance system has been overwhelmed the last week due to an unprecedented increase in benefit demand as a result of COVID-19. CDLE is adding call center staff, implementing a new last name online filing system and revising web site content with answers to customer inquiries on filing errors.

“This morning alone, we had 186,000 attempts to contact our call center before we opened our phone queue at 8 a.m. That number a week ago was 9,000,” says Joe Barela, executive director of the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment. “All of our systems are overloaded - as are UI systems across the country - and we know frustration and anxiety is high. We are doing the best we can to navigate these uncertain times and want claimants to know their benefits will not be reduced due to any filing delays.”

On Monday, the department added 90 internal staff to the customer call center to provide immediate assistance. In addition, another 90 call center staff and document management staff will be increased over the course of the next 2 weeks through April 3. A new voluntary gating system that allows claimants access to file based on last name is now recommended, but will be mandatory later this week.

• Claimants with last names that begin with A through M may file a claim on Sundays, Tuesdays, Thursdays or after 12 noon on Saturday.

• Claimants with last names beginning with N through Z may file their claims file a claim on Monday, Wednesday, Friday or before 12 noon on Saturday.

New FAQs based on common questions and issues are also being updated daily. Online filers are encountering two common errors: one, on the eligibility screen and another on the employer verification screen. Claimants should save their application throughout the filing process and can return to it at a later time.

More information will be posted at coloradoui.gov as it becomes available.

From our sister paper the Chaffee County Times at www.chaffeecountytimes.com

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