Launch of the new CT unemployment benefits system with some complaints

More than two years after being inundated with applications for unemployment benefits from furloughed workers, the Connecticut Department of Labor’s new ReEmployCT went live Tuesday – with a sprinkling of complaints from people already baffled by the new system.

The DOL mothballed a failed unemployment benefits system at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, with antiquated central IT architecture that was not designed to handle hundreds of thousands of new claims flooding the department in the spring of 2020. ReEmployCT was the system designed to take its place.

As of mid-June, fewer than 19,000 people were receiving unemployment benefits from the Connecticut Department of Labor, with claims surging at that time, largely as school bus companies laid off drivers for the job. ‘summer. However, more workers in the leisure sector were also filing claims, with inflation expected to limit overspending by some families, impacting the hospitality and entertainment industries.

Under ReEmployCT, those already receiving benefits must create a new username and password as one of the six steps required to activate their account. The DOL urges claimants to ensure they correct their details in their account to avoid any interruption of benefits. Less than an hour after the midday launch on Twitter, DOL asked people to be patient if the website was slow to load.

Several people expressed their frustration on Twitter in the afternoon, with one complaining of “an insane amount of bugs and glitches” after a dozen attempts to enter information, the only success generating an email verification.

The website has links for worker claims and company payments to the Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund. DOL also offers phone support at 1-800-956-3294, with calls on Tuesday afternoons generating an automated voice response that promised a callback in 50 to 80 minutes. Later that day, DOL posted on social media that the appeals would be returned on Wednesday.

On Tuesday night, DOL spokeswoman Juliet Manalan told CTInsider that large conversions can involve isolated issues for some people.

Even when ReEmployCT went live Tuesday, Connecticut’s CTHires website remained offline, which connects applicants to employers, with the DOL directing job seekers to as an alternative. A Florida company called Geographic Solutions confirmed last week that it had taken down career websites it runs in several states, after detecting what a company official called ‘abnormal activity’ , but found no evidence that job seekers’ personal information had been accessed.

Manalan confirmed that the CTHires outage was the result of the Geographic Solutions situation and that the ReEmployCT system was unrelated to CTHires.

ReEmployCT’s core platform was developed by software giant Tata Consultancy Services, with funding from Connecticut, Maine, Mississippi, Oklahoma and Rhode Island. Kurt Westby, who led the Connecticut Department of Labor during the first year of the pandemic, had credited the TCS with concocting a system in just five weeks to help the DOL process claims for self-employed workers in under the federal pandemic unemployment assistance program.

The pandemic forced DOL to delay the launch date of the new website by over a year. DOL said it chose a July launch to coincide with what is typically a slower month for new unemployment claims, as well as the start of a new fiscal year for the state and many businesses.

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