HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH)– Governor Ned Lamont announced a new software improvement at the state’s Department of Labor Wednesday, which has already significantly increased the speed at which unemployment claim applications can be processed.
The governor said that with this new software, paired with continuing manual processing, the original anticipated six week wait period would be shortened to one week or less.
“Tonight, we’re going to be running, as I understand it, about 60,000 of those unprocessed claims, so I think that’s going to put a very big dent into the group of claims that we haven’t addressed yet,” Kurt Westby, Commissioner CT Department of Public Labor said Wednesday.
The Governor Tweeted Thursday saying the DOL has indeed processed 60,000 claims overnight and plan to process another 60,000 Thursday evening.
As a result of the coronavirus pandemic, Connecticut has received an unprecedented amount of unemployment claims, like many other states in the country.
Right now, around 350,000 Connecticut residents have filed for unemployment aid. The state’s unemployment rate was at 3.7 percent for the first half of March 2020, as non-farming jobs declined by 7,600, according to the DOL.
Around 22 million Americans have filed for unemployment aid since the start of the coronavirus pandemic in the US, according to The Associated Press.
The department was operating on a 40-year-old computer system to process the claims, which the Lamont administration said it had been in the process of upgrading before the COVID-19 crisis.
Staff at the Department of Labor have been working around the clock to process these claims and implement desperately needed software upgrades, and I cannot overstate our appreciation to the public for their understanding during this unprecedented emergency. Once processed, all claimants who have filed will receive payments that are retroactive to when they applied. We know the important role unemployment benefits have in our community, especially during this pandemic that has caused so many disruptions to many as we fight to mitigate the spread of this disease.Governor Ned Lamont
Anyone who has applied for unemployment benefits is urged to monitor their email for a notification from the Department of Labor directing them on the next steps to take in order to receive their benefits. Residents are encouraged to check their junk or spam folders as well.
Commissioner Westby also announced that additional federal stimulus benefits, including $600 in additional weekly payments, will begin April 24.
Also, the new benefits program for self-employed individuals and independent contractors, will begin by April 30.
For more information on the impact of coronavirus on unemployment benefits, click here.