KDOL working to better serve Kansans

Joplin Area Coronavirus

KANSAS — It’s been more than a month since frequent issues at the Kansas Department of Labor forced Delia Garcia to step down as Secretary.

Now — a new Secretary has taken over and made some changes.

Lack of communication and long wait times have been just the beginning of the issues plaguing the Department of Labor.

But now, with a new leader in place, will those issues be resolved?

So far, some Kansans, like Chloe Hough, haven’t seen their issues go away under the new leadership.

Chloe has been struggling with the department of labor since applying for unemployment in march. Now, after months of getting her unemployment benefits, the department has suddenly suspended her payments, but chloe says she can’t get in touch with anyone from kdol for help.

Chloe Hough, Kansas resident, said, “You call, there’s no one answering, there’s no voicemail, then the line clicks. You can’t get a hold of anyone.”

In June Governor Kelly directed her Deputy Chief of Staff, Ryan Wright, to take over as Labor Secretary.

Wright says he has been working to hire and train new call center staff.

On Monday, the department began to streamline the call process, by dividing up calls based on the issue.

Ryan Wright, Acting Secretary, KDOL, said, “If they need a password reset, they can go to those folks that deal with password resets, but if you have a more complicated issue with one of your claims, for example, then we can get you to one of those experts.”

Secretary Wright says he expects this will help staff quickly get through more calls moving forward. An online chat bot has also been added to the get-kansas-benefits-dot-gov website to help people with their questions.

And Secretary Wright says he understands that there is a lot of work still do at the Department of Labor, including gaining the public’s trust back.

“We want to be helpful and not hurtful in this process.”

And Secretary Wright told me that if you qualify for unemployment benefits but aren’t currently getting anything from the department, you will be paid that money.

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