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Wait could be over for thousands stuck in KDOL backlog

Updated: Jun. 7, 2021 at 5:23 PM CDT
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - The wait could be over for thousands of Kansans stuck in a backlog at the Kansas Department of Labor (KDOL). Starting Monday, June 7, sheriff’s offices across the state will help Kansans get approved for unemployment benefits if their accounts have been incorrectly flagged as fraud.

Data shows that Kansas had one of the highest rates of identity theft in the country, more than New York and California combined. To try to fix this, KDOL added security to its website. Part of that upgrade required those filing for unemployment to prove their identity. The security features cut down on unemployment fraud, but also created an unexpected problem, as nearly 60,000 Kansans failed ID proof verification and for months, have gone without benefits.

There is now a program designed to clear the issue. Law enforcement agencies across Kansas are partnering with KDOL to help clear the new backlog.

“I’m desperate and I’ve been trying to get help since December,” said unemployed Kansans Craig Witcher. “And I’m just doing whatever they say.”

Witcher was one of 58,000 Kansans locked out of applying for benefits after KDOL implemented the new security features on its website.

“Nobody can talk to, no one can even get in a system to file your claims or to do anything,” he said. “Can’t talk to nobody. Just calling, calling, calling, calling.”

Witcher said on one day, he called 300 times.

The new program designed to finally resolve the issue is something Sedgwick County Sheriff’s lieutenant Benjamin Blick is “just a small thing that we can do.”

“I know I mentioned previously to someone else that it’s been an incredibly difficult year, year and a half almost now for some folks that for whatever reasons for the pandemic, they lost their employment,” he said. “And then they went to get, you know, the unemployment insurance benefit that should be due to them and then for whatever reason they weren’t able to do that. So, if it’s just me sitting in there for a matter of five minutes helping someone fill in the form. If we can speed that process up for them, like I said, it’s a small token of what we can do for those people.”

To complete the identity verification, those applying for unemployment must provide one or two documents based on the federal form I-9 requirements. Next, the applicant will need to fill out a form that twill be sent to KDOL to have their identity reinstated. The process, we’re told, only takes five minutes. And if there are no issues with an application, we’re told it will only take 48 hours to clear an account.

“This is the first time that we’ve done something along those lines and I guess at this point, I’m kind of trying to figure out how many of these forms we’re actually going to process and how it’s going to affect our record section right now,” Blick said.

Across Kansas, there are 29 law enforcement agenies who have partnered with KDOL to help.

  • Allen County Sheriff’s Office 1 N Washington Ave. Iola, KS 66749 Monday - Friday, 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. Contact: Undersheriff Roy Smith ssmith@allensosheriff.org Sheriff Bryan Murphy bmurphy@allencosheriff.org (620) 365-1400
  • Bentley Police Department 150 South Wichita Avenue By appointment only Contact: Chief Tim Bryan (316) 796-1799 bentleypdchief@gmail.com
  • Bourbon County Sheriff’s Office 293 East 20th Street Fort Scott, KS 66701 Monday - Friday, 8 a.m. - 4 p.m. Contact: Bill Martin, Sheriff (620) 223-1440 opt. 6 wkmartin@bourboncountyks.org
  • Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office 915 East Country Road Columbus, KS Monday - Friday, 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Contact: Deputy Matt Hatfield (620) 429-3992 mhatfield@cksoks.org
  • Cloud County Sheriff’s Department 2090 Fort Kearney Street Concordia, KS 66901 8 a.m. - 4 p.m. Contact: Sarah Johnson smassella@cloudcountyks.org Sheriff Ken Davis sheriffdavis@cloudcountyks.org (785) 243-3636
  • Cowley County Sheriff’s Office 911 Fuller St. Winfield, KS 67156 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. Contact: Sheriff David Falletti (620) 221-5444 dfalletti@cowleycounty.org
  • Crawford County Sheriff’s Office 225 North Enterprise Drive Girard, KS 66743 Monday - Friday, 8 a.m. - 3:45 p.m. Contact: Undersheriff Scott Tyrell (620) 724-8274 styrell@crsoks.org
  • Dickinson County Sheriff’s Office 109 E. 1st Street Abilene, KS 67410 Monday - Friday, 9 a.m. - 4 p.m. Contact: Megan Jones (785) 263-4081 megan.jones@dkcoks.org
  • Douglas County Sheriff’s Office 111 E 11th St. Lawrence, KS 66044 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. Contact: Security Checkpoint Staff/Courtroom Security (785) 841-0007 Supervisor, Sgt. Dale Flory (785) 865-6626 dflory@dgso.org
  • Ellis County Sheriff’s Office 105 West 12th Street Hays, KS 67601 Monday - Friday, 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Contact: Joshua Gibson (785) 625-1040 jgibson@ellisco.net
  • Ford County Sheriff’s Office 11311 E. Comanche Dodge City, KS 67801 Monday - Friday, 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. Contact: Sheriff Bill Carr bcarr@fordcounty.net Undersheriff Dale Coleman dcoleman@fordcounty.net (620) 227-4501
  • Franklin County Sheriff’s Office 220 S. Beech Street Ottawa, KS 66067 Monday - Friday, 8 a.m - 5 p.m. Contact: Sarah Roecker (785) 229-1230 sroecker@franklincoks.org
  • Geary County Sheriff’s Office 826 N. Franklin St. Junction City, KS Monday - Friday, 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Contact: Lt. Mark Maschmeier mark.maschmeier@gearycountysheriff.org Cpt. David Gilbert david.gilbert@gearycoutnysheriff.org (785) 238-2261
  • Gove County Sherrif’s Office 420 Broad St. Gove City, KS 67736 Monday - Friday, 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. Contact: Shawn R. Mesch (785) 938-2250
  • Graham County Sheriff’s Office 410 N. Pomeroy Ave. Suite B Hill City, KS 67642 Contact: Sheriff B. Cole Presley (785) 421-2107 sheriff@ruraltel.net
  • Greenwood County Sheriff’s Office 311 N. Main Eureka, KS 67045 Monday - Friday, 8 a.m. - 4 p.m. Contact: Sonja Kennedy or Sheriff Heath Samuels (620) 583-5568 gwso@greenwoodcountysheriff.org
  • Haskell County Sheriff’s Office 300 S Inman St. Sublette, KS 67877 Contact: Sheriff Troy Briggs (620) 675-2280 tbriggs@haskellso.org
  • Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office 1360 Walnut St. Oskaloosa, KS 66066 8 a.m. - 3 p.m. Contact: Sheriff Jeff Herrig (785) 863-2765 jherrig@jeffersoncountykssheriff.com
  • Johnson County Sheriff’s Office 27745 W. 159th St. New Century, KS 66031 Monday - Friday, 8 a.m. - 4 p.m. Contact: Sgt. Robert Huff #857 (913) 715-5596 robert.huff@jocogov.org
  • Kearny County Sheriff’s Office 106 E Washington Ave. Lakin, KS 67860 8 a.m. - 6 p.m. Contact: David Horner or Erica Tarpley (620) 355-6211 kcso@pld.com
  • Kingman County Sheriff’s Office 120 N. Spruce St. Kingman, KS 67068 (620) 532-5133
  • Linn County Sheriff’s Office 107 S. 4th St. Mound City, KS 66056 8 a.m. - 4 p.m. Contact: Sandy Haynes, Administrative Supervisor (913) 795-2665 shaynes@linncountyso.com
  • Marion County Sheriff’s Office 202 S. 4th Marion, KS 66861 Monday - Friday, 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Contact: Undersheriff David Huntley (620) 382-2144 dhuntley@marioncoks.net or sheriff@marioncoks.net
  • Mead County Sheriff’s Office 233 N. Meade Center Mead, KS Monday - Friday, 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. Contact: Sheriff Douglas Ritter (620) 873-8765 dritter@meadeco.org
  • Miami County Sheriff’s Office 209 S. Pearl St. Paola, KS 66071 Contact: Cpt. Matthew Kelly (913) 294-3232 mkelly@sheriffmiamicountyks.gov
  • Norton County Sheriff’s Office 105 South Kansas Norton, KS 67654 Open 24 hours Contact: Sheriff Troy M. Thomson (785) 577-5780 troy@nortoncountyks.gov
  • Osage County Sheriff’s Office 131 W 14th St. Lyndon, KS 66451 Monday - Friday, 8 a.m. - 4 p.m. Contact: Bonnie Feliciano (785) 828-3121 bfeliciano@oscosheriff.org
  • Overbrook Police Department 102 W. Santa Fe Trail Monday - Friday, 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. Contact: Terry Hollingsworth Chief of Police Office: (785) 665-7230 policechief440@overbrookks.com
  • Rose Hill Police Department 125 W. Rosewood Rose Hill, KS 67133 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. Contact: Lt. Taylor Parlier (316) 776-0191 tparlier@cityofrosehill.com
  • Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office 141 W Elm St. Wichita, KS 67203 Monday - Friday, 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. Contact: Sheriff Jeff Easter (316) 660-3900 jeffrey.easter@sedgwick.gov
  • Seward County Sheriff’s Office 501 North Washington Ave. Liberal, KS 67901 Monday - Friday, 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. Contact: Undersheriff Ryan Roehr (620) 309-2032 rroehr@sewardcountyks.org
  • Wallace county Sheriff’s Office 313 N Main Street Sharon Springs, KS 67758 Contact: Sheriff Marshall Ray Unruh (785) 852-4288 or (785) 824-1374 marshallunruh@yahoo.com
  • Washington County Sheriff’s Office 301 B St. Washington, KS 66968 8 a.m. - 4 p.m. Contact: Sheriff Justin Cordry or Undersheriff Corey Riggs (785) 325-2293 jcordry@washingtoncountyks.gov
  • Wellington Police Department 200 North C Street, Ste 100 Contact: Chief Tracy A. Heath (620) 326-3331 wellingtonpd@cityofwellington.net
  • Wichita County Sheriff’s Office 411 South 4th St. Leoti, KS 67861 Contact: Sheriff Kris Casper (620) 375-2723 (call ahead)
  • Wilson County Sheriff’s Office 925 Pierce St. Fredonia, KS 66736 Contact: Sheriff Jack Lucke (620) 378-3622 jacklucke@wilsoncountykansas.org

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