xml:space="preserve">
xml:space="preserve">
Advertisement
Advertisement

From when to file weekly claims to whether you can get an extension, your Connecticut unemployment questions answered

The state Department of Labor has received more than 350,000 claims for unemployment benefits over the past month as a result of businesses closing due to the coronavirus outbreak.

The high number of claims, in addition to an outdated system, has caused a significant backlog, leaving many to wonder when they will begin receiving their benefits. Here is some information about that, as well as some common issues people filing claims have run into.

Advertisement

If you are looking to file a claim, head to www.filectui.com/.

Why has it taken so long to receive benefits?

Advertisement

Because of the influx of claims (350,000 since March 13) and the 40-year-old processing system the Department of Labor uses, there has been a five-to-six-week backlog to process claims. Gov. Ned Lamont announced Wednesday that the department has programmed a technical fix into its system, which is expected to speed the process. The agency successfully ran 60,000 claims through its new system Wednesday night and expects the backlog to compress from five to six weeks to one or less in the coming days.

All claims will be paid retroactively to the date they were filed.

When will I get my weekly $600 benefit?

Lamont said Wednesday that the additional weekly $600 federal stimulus funds are scheduled to be added to benefits on April 24. The Connecticut Department of Labor had to program several new benefits, including the $600 benefit, into its system before it could be rolled out. Those benefits will also be retroactive.

When can self-employed individuals and independent contractors expect benefits?

Like the additional weekly $600 benefit, the Department of Labor had to program the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program into its system. Lamont said those benefits will begin April 30.

The department recommends that self-employed individuals wait until the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program is up and running to file their claims.

My unemployment runs out soon. Will I be getting the 13-week extension?

According to the Department of Labor, each situation is different, so applications must be reviewed for eligibility. When available to the public, it will be paid out retroactively to eligible claimants. This is another benefit the department had to program into its system, so the rollout was not immediate.

I filed my paperwork and received confirmation. When do I file my weekly claim?

For now, just wait for the “next steps” email from the department. That email will confirm your claim has been processed and what your next steps are.

I submitted my unemployment paperwork, but it has been days and I haven’t heard anything. How long does it take to hear back?

Advertisement

If you did not receive an initial confirmation email, you did not successfully complete your application, according to the Department of Labor. If you did successfully complete the application, you would have received a confirmation email, followed by a “next steps” email from the agency.

My unemployment claim is being “held pending determination.” What does this mean?

The Department of Labor is required to verify each claim that is filed. This may require the agency to contact an employer or research past claims. The agency can then determine if a claim is eligible or not. Until then, the claim is held.

If the agency denies the claimant benefits, a written letter will be sent to their residence explaining the reason, and the individual will have the opportunity to appeal the decision.

I have a question for the Department of Labor, but I can’t get through via phone?

Per a department spokesperson, “The agency has posted FAQs on its website. These FAQs include phone numbers you can call for assistance. These lines are very busy, but residents are telling us they have been getting through after calling several times. Prior to the pandemic, those with questions could call or visit an American Job Center for assistance. Because those centers are now closed, we are trying to answer calls via the phone bank and we are working to expand this.”

You can reach the American Jobs Centers for general information about your unemployment benefits at 860-263-6975 or 203-255-2653, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., or by submitting questions to dol.webhelp@ct.gov. Responses could take three to five days.

You can also call the following numbers for information about unemployment benefits: 203-809-9847; 203-892-6036; 203-723-3817; 203-723-3818; 203-723-3820; 203-723-3821. For Spanish: 203-723-3819; 203-450-9268; 203-548-7322.

All other specific questions should be directed to the Department of Labor, as they are being dealt with on a case-by-case basis. This includes cases of benefits suddenly stopping or claims being voided.

Shawn McFarland can be reached at smcfarland@courant.com.

Advertisement
Advertisement