Problems persist for some Kansans trying to file for unemployment benefits online

Published: Feb. 23, 2021 at 6:46 PM CST
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - Stories of hardships and frustrations continue as Kansans continue to have issues with the Kansas Department of Labor. Problems with the website started last March, but there is now a reoccurring problem that is preventing some from being able to file for unemployment benefits online.

Since the Kansas Department of Labor launched the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) program on Friday (Feb. 19), there has been a lot of feedback, much of it negative. Some say they are not receiving payments. Others can’t even file their unemployment claim online without receiving an error message.

Eyewitness News sat down with unemployed Kansan Amanda Sengvilay to try to help her through the process of filing her claim. But the same error message popped up over and over again. Meanwhile, bills continue to pile up.

“We have kids. We have bills to pay. We have food we have to provide for our children, and we have no money coming in,” Sengvilay said. “How are we supposed to do that?”

The online error message isn’t the only problem. Some Kansans are locked out of their account after the state added security features to the KDOL website to prevent fraud.

“Because of identity theft, I can’t get any money. And I’m not alone. This is what really frustrates me the most,” Sengvilay said. “There are thousands of people that are losing their cars and can’t pay their rent. They’re being evicted and nobody cares.”

Data from KDOL sows that nearly 30,000 people have failed ID proofing, but the agency said it’s unclear how many are scammers. The problem is that honest Kansans who have been locked out of their account can’t get through to the state’s call center for help.

“All we hear, it’s on hold until such and such a date, but we can’t hang up anymore, plain and simple,” Sengvilay said.

KDOL said some users are having issues with using Google Chrome when trying to apply for benefit. They encourage the use of Firefox, Safari or Internet Explorer instead.

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