RI Department of Labor and Training
PRESS RELEASE
 

DLT Advises Unemployment Customers that Peak Claim Period Has Arrived

Agency offers tips to help expedite payments amid annual
seasonal influx that is expected to total 5,000 claims by July 9

 

June 28, 2016

CRANSTON, RI — The RI Department of Labor and Training is advising Rhode Islanders who are filing unemployment claims that the Unemployment Insurance (UI) Call Center is experiencing one of its busiest stretches of the year.

The calendar dictates the ebbs and flows of UI. With the state’s 306 schools having closed for the summer, claims filed by bus drivers, substitute teachers, and school food-service workers have risen substantially in the past 10 days. DLT estimates that the influx will eventually total 5,000 claims by the week ending July 9.

Although the Call Center has shaved nearly 10½ minutes off the average call wait time so far this month compared with June 2015,* DLT is offering tips to help customers avoid delays when filing for benefits or calling over the next three weeks. These include:

  • Having all relevant information handy before clicking or calling. This includes a job separation notice, pay stub, the names of all employers and dates of all employment over the past 18 months, and hours worked for the most recent calendar week of employment as well as identity information such as Social Security Number and driver’s license number.

Filing online instead of by telephone. Filing online is fast and easy. (Online claim form for UI customers.)

Keeping the confirmation number that’s given at the end of filing a claim. This number is needed when customers check the status of their claims online themselves or when speaking with someone in the Call Center.

Consider calling (401-243-9100) on a less busy day. Mondays and Tuesdays are the Call Center’s busiest days of the week. Thursdays and Fridays are the least busy. The Call Center does not accept calls on Wednesdays so that staff can process claims — a task that’s central to keeping wait times down.

For more detailed information, please see Tips for Filing for Unemployment During Peak Periods.

“We’re striving to make accurate decisions faster so that customers are getting their benefits and questions answered faster, and we’re keeping costs down for Rhode Island employers whose taxes fund the whole system,” said DLT Director Scott Jensen.
  
For the week ending June 18, with many schools out for the summer, Call Center employees took in 1,129 claims — compared with 716 claims for the week ending June 11. For the week ending June 25, 2016, the Call Center received 1,767 claims. Based on claims filed during last summer’s peak period, DLT estimates it will receive 1,400 more claims this week and another 1,000 next week for a total of 5,000 received during the summer 2016 peak period.

Whether claims are entered by the customer or DLT staff, claims must be entered accurately and completely. If not, staff must process the claims by making calls and sending emails to find the missing information, verify the claimant’s identity and work history, and ensure the claims are complete before moving them to other employees in the Call Center who determine the claimants’ eligibility.

Processing incomplete and inaccurate claims affects how quickly claimants get their benefits and how quickly Call Center staff can answer the phones.

“One way our customers can help us serve them better is by providing complete and accurate information concerning their identity and work history when filing their claims,” said Jensen. “A clean claim means a faster eligibility decision and a faster benefit payment.”

 

*9 minutes and 26 seconds on 5,483 calls through June 24, 2016, versus 19 minutes and 53 seconds on 4,946 calls through June 23, 2015.

 

 

ABOUT DLT: The RI Department of Labor and Training offers employment services, educational services and economic opportunities to both individuals and employers. DLT protects Rhode Island’s workforce by enforcing labor laws, prevailing wage rates and workplace health and safety standards. The department also provides temporary income support to unemployed and temporarily disabled workers. For more information, please call the RI Department of Labor and Training at (401) 462-8000 or visit the web site at www.dlt.ri.gov

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