TOPEKA, Kan. – As legislators meet in the state to find solutions to problems with the state’s unemployment system, some unemployed Kansasians are having problems paying.
Lawmakers met in the state capital on Thursday to discuss a project to update the state’s outdated computer system, which the state’s labor office has blamed for numerous problems in solving resolve the parties to the dispute in the past year. This includes long call lines and payment delays, leaving thousands of Kansas residents struggling to make ends meet.
Representative Sean Tarwater, R-Stilwell, head of the state’s Unemployment Improvement & Modernization Council, said that while progress is being made, there is still a “long way to go”.
“Our aim is to speed up the process, not slow it down, and deliver the best possible choice in the end.”
Tarwater said he’s heard fewer concerns about delayed unemployment payments. However, a new problem has emerged with applicants to the state’s re-employment program.
“My Re-Employment Program” is a new initiative to get people back to work, connecting unemployed Kansasians with jobs in their area. The program requires people who have received unemployment benefits for at least three consecutive weeks to register, or they risk losing their benefits.
As of this week, about 7,000 of the 16,000 people who requested to be notified to join the program have had their accounts suspended, according to state officials. The state is now urging them to sign up for the program to continue getting paid.
“We will continue to work with those 7,000 people to fix their situation, so they can continue to receive benefits,” said Governor Laura Kelly.
Governor Kelly held a bill signing ceremony on Thursday for the new legislation, which has contributed to recent changes to the state’s unemployment system. That’s what some legislators have called necessary overhaul to get the state’s labor department on the right track.
Top state labor officials attended the ceremony, and said paying people was a top priority for the department.
“Our focus continues to be on getting legitimate claimants paid as promptly and efficiently as possible,” said Kansas Labor Secretary Amber Shultz.
NEW PAYMENT CARD
However, some jobless applicants have expressed concerns about getting paid on time or getting a response from the department.
The state labor office recently switched from a new debit card provider, Bank of America, requiring claimants to read and accept disclosures on their accounts prior to the change. , so as not to encounter delays.
Claimants are expected to receive their new cards on Tuesday. But for now, some people are having to wait one to two weeks.
Brian Ramey from Osage City said he signed the debit card disclosure form as soon as he could.
“I received a confirmation email on July 4th. I filled in my information, received an email confirming that it was done,” he said.
Ramey thought he would have his new card now with the money needed to pay the bills, but when Tuesday arrived he was told he would have to wait 7-10 business days before it comes.
“It’s absolutely not surprising and there’s no point in them not having that when they expect you to comply with all of their policies,” Ramey said. “But, then it’s their turn, they have a job.”
In an email to the Kansas Capitol Office on Thursday, a department spokesman said “numerous reasons” could have contributed to the delay.
“One example might be that the plaintiff did not accept the Bank of America disclosures and we would like to remind all plaintiffs to please accept those disclosures. The card cannot be submitted until this step is completed. We ask the claimants to be patient and the card is being shipped. The first day the new US Bank cards became available for use was yesterday, July 21, and we messaged claimants to please use their benefits on the Bank Debit card. their US goods first. “
SPOKESPERSON, KANSAS LABOR DEPARTMENT
Ramey spoke with the Kansas Capitol Office in October 2020, about his issue of receiving federal unemployment benefits for Small Business affected by the coronavirus pandemic. Since then, he can get one of the federal programs, Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA).
He said he welcomed a number of state officials who were able to help him.
“They have helped a lot of people. And they seem to get the answer.”
https://fox4kc.com/news/kansas-unemployment-saga-continues-thousands-of-payments-on-hold-frustrations-over-new-changes/ | Kansas unemployment saga continues as thousands of payments remain on hold