After weeks of frustrating unemployed Kansans with an inability to issue relief checks amid a 2,400% increase in claims due to the pandemic crisis, state officials have announced a new process for filing unemployment benefits and weekly claims.
Kansas Department of Labor Secretary Delía García announced at a joint conference with Gov. Laura Kelly on April 16:
The department is asking claimants to file an application for benefits and weekly claims on certain days by the first letter of their last name. This process is called “Gating” and will ensure more Kansans access to file.
- If you need to file an unemployment application or weekly claim and your last name begins with the letter A – M, file a claim on Sunday (afternoon), Tuesday, or Thursday.
- If you need to file an unemployment application or weekly claim and your last name begins with the letter N – Z, file a claim on Monday, Wednesday, or Friday.
- Saturdays will be reserved for anyone who has not previously been able to file a claim.
- Remember: claims filed on either Sunday or Monday will be paid at the same time, so there is no disadvantage to you if your last name is Zook and you file on Monday instead of Sunday.
“When Kansans follow this guideline, we believe it will reduce the load on the system and allow claimants to file claims on time,” García said. “Thank you for your patience as we continue to work together to get your benefits to you.”
Kansas Department of Administration secretary DeAngela Burns-Wallace said an “IT SWAT team” has been working to add more processing power to the website to keep up with the claims and that is why they had to shut down the website on April 14.
Right now, code is being implemented to issue the $600 per week additional unemployment funds by the Federal CARES Act. It should be up by next week, they said.
The governor said 160,000 Kansans have filed for unemployment. According to the governor, plans to update the mainframe computer system from the 1970s were halted in 2011 and never picked back up.
She says this old technology is the cause of many issues. However, she said the Kansas Department of Labor continues to work extended hours with new hires being brought in, and staff from other departments are helping out as well.
The state has 1,588 positive cases as of April 16. It is up 94 from on April 15, Kelly said. There have been 80 deaths.
Gov. Kelly announced she will be on a call with President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence on April 16 to discuss how to reopen the economy.