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Users report problems with new unemployment web system

Michael Lopardi

Photo: Video by ktnv.com

Users report problems with new unemployment web system

CREATED Sep. 9, 2013

Las Vegas, NV (KTNV) -- People trying to file unemployment claims are dealing with more headaches as the new web system came online Monday.

"A nightmare, an absolute nightmare," said Carol Lehman of Las Vegas.

Lehman spent most of Monday trying to file her weekly unemployment claim online. She lost her job last year and is quickly losing hope.

"This is the second week that we would not have had any money come in," said Lehman.

The Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation is phasing in a new computer benefits system. The web component launched Monday but users reported a variety of problems. Lehman had trouble registering; others didn't get that far, instead reaching an error message.

"Just please get it fixed so we can do what we need to do," said Lehman.

Action News first started looking into complaints about the new computer system last week. First, people who couldn't file claims online flooded the agency's call centers, leaving many to reach a busy signal. Now, some can't get through online. 

"This is putting a hardship on a lot of people that can't access any kind of money from unemployment," said Lehman.

Some users were frustrated to reach the website and find a message that said the system was "currently unavailable."

"Basically, it's just the volume of people," said agency director Frank Woodbeck.

Woodbeck said some people had trouble accessing the site on Monday morning because the system was overwhelmed by users trying to log on. The web system is going offline in intervals as part of the installation process to make sure it's working properly, the agency said. Woodbeck said he knows people are angry.

"I apologize and I understand the frustration when you're trying to call and you can't get an answer or you're trying to go online and you somehow get kicked out of the system," said Woodbeck.

The agency has processed about 48,000 claims so far with the new system, which was four years in the planning. The project replaces the previous, 30-year-old system. Woodbeck said he hopes the launch of the web system will ease the burden on the phone system. People who do not need to speak with an operator are encouraged to use the automated phone system after hours, the office said.

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