More staff being added to take unemployment calls

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TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) — The United States Department of Labor estimates more than 10 million people have claimed unemployment due to the coronavirus pandemic, out of which 79,353 claims are from Kansas.

The Kansas Department of Labor is receiving hundreds of thousands of call each day. On Monday, the department reported more than 800,000 calls. The department is working with minimal staff and outdated equipment, according to Labor Secretary Delia Garcia. Now, Secretary Garcia and Governor Kelly are making changes so that all Kansans get the assistance they need during this time.

At a joint press conference on Thursday, Governor Kelly announced that the state has hired Amazon web services to take on some of the calls coming in to the department. Additionally, staff from other state agencies will be moved to the department to assist and former and retired employees will be hired back. This will help organize the multitude of calls coming in, based on what help is needed and allow basic questions to be answered quickly.

“I care about our Kansas workers and my staff is doing everything we can, and many of our own families have been impacted by this health and economic crisis,” said Secretary Garcia. “They are working around the clock because they know what it’s like to struggle to put food on the table.”

Secretary Garcia urges Kansans to file for unemployment online, if possible. You can do so at www.getkansasbenefits.gov. You can also reset your username and password on the website, the Secretary asks that you do not call the department for assistance with this.

If you must call the Department of Labor for assistance, Governor Kelly says it’s important that you stay on the phone and be patient. If you hang up and call back, your call has moved to the back of the line of callers.

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