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Department of Labor Overwhelmed with Unemployment Claims
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The Connecticut Department of Labor says its phone system is simply overloaded as it tries to process unemployment benefit claims.  WNPR’s Harriet Jones reports.

The Department has 552 call center lines to deal with benefit claims.  This Sunday, the system took more than 69,000 calls.  State officials say their best advice to claimants is to be patient and keep trying.  They say the system is typically busiest on Sunday, when many people try to file, so they’re advising that claimants should try other days of the week, and also try to file online.  Paul Oates from the Department of Labor says it’s an extraordinary situation:

"Part of the backlog is coming from the fact that in past years, and other times, typical times, people go off the rolls.  But this year, as one extension ends, another one goes into effect.  So nobody’s actually ever exiting, so that’s keeping the lines pretty busy."

The Department has posted a warning on its website telling people that they may experience difficulty.  The volume of benefit checks being issued in a typical week is around fifty percent higher than the same time last year.

For WNPR, I'm Harriet Jones.