The state unemployment agency says the number of people waiting to have claims processed is growing. The agency says the backlog is largely due to suspected instances of fraud.
As the COVID-19 crisis has spurred furloughs and layoffs, complaints from people waiting for their jobless benefits have grown.
The Unemployment Insurance Agency says most of the cases are suspected identity fraud by people who’ve filed. And it can take awhile to resolve those issues. The agency says about 100,000 claims have been flagged for that reason. Another 37,000 cases need to be resolved for some other question or discrepancy.
There’s been an outcry from people who’ve been laid off and say they can’t pay their bills due to the backlog. That’s captured the attention of the Legislature, where a bipartisan group of state lawmakers have called on the unemployment agency to find a way to re-open offices for in-person visits despite the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.