Unemployed Kansans still struggling to get through to labor department

Published: Jul. 6, 2021 at 10:55 PM CDT
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - More than a year into the pandemic, some Kansans are still struggling to get through to the Kansas Department of Labor.

The agency says it does not know when it will reopen its doors. So for now, phone calls are the only way to get through to a representative.

Although the unemployment rate has dropped to pre-pandemic levels, people like Christine Bittner still find their calls only going to voicemail.

“I had to start into therapy for anxiety, depression, excess alcohol use. It’s taken a toll on me. I’m 52 years old, I’ve worked since I was 14. I’ve always paid taxes, always been on the right side of the law. When you have a pandemic, and it’s the first time you file for unemployment, and you have to go through this,” said Bittner.

KDOL says it answers an average of 60 to 80 percent of the calls it receives every day. Once a caller enters the queue, they are able to speak with a representative. The problem many Kansans like Bittner is that the queue is almost always full.

“Fix the system so nobody else has to go through this,” said Bittner.

KDOL says it believes the reason people can’t get through the phone lines is due to autodialers. The agency says autodialers will not help you get through the system and it burdens the system for everyone else.

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