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April 4, 2020

CT DOL says it’s making progress on 250K+ unemployment claims

HBJ File Photo

Connecticut’s labor agency says it’s received more than 250,000 unemployment applications since March 13, which is far more than it usually gets in a full year.

The Department of Labor reports it has now quadrupled the usual number of employees assigned to claims processing, to 80 total. Those staff continue to work overtime and weekends. Thus far they’ve processed more than 90,000 of the claims, or about 36%, according to DOL, which is training additional workers for the coming weeks.

The current backlog to process claims stands at approximately five weeks, up from DOL’s week-ago projection of three weeks.

Connecticut is far from alone in seeing jobless claims spike sharply, as the state’s COVID-19 coronavirus public health emergency approaches the two-month mark.

U.S. initial unemployment claims totaled 6.6 million for the final week of March, nearly double the prior week’s count. Connecticut saw more than 33,000 claims that week, up from 25,100 the week before.

The U.S. economy also suffered its worst monthly job report since 2009, shedding 701,000 positions

“All states are struggling to process the large volume of claims, and many, including Connecticut, are working with old computer systems,” Connecticut DOL Commissioner Kurt Westby said in a statement Friday evening.

DOL has a 40-year-old computer system that is slated for an update in mid-2021.

Unemployed residents who have not yet filed a claim are asked to visit For those who have already filed and are awaiting word, DOL says they should check their email (including junk and spam folders) daily for possible updates. 

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