Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training



Online Filing Available for Extended Benefits Programs
New service for unemployment insurance customers available 24/7

July 23, 2009


Due to recent technological improvements, the RI Department of Labor and Training announced today that customers for all RI unemployment insurance programs now have the option to file their claims online at www.dlt.ri.gov. Prior to these improvements, unemployment insurance claimants could file for federal and state extended benefits only by telephone. While telephone claims-filing is restricted to the Unemployment Insurance Call Center business hours, online claims-filing is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Previously, only customers for regular RI unemployment insurance benefits had the option to file claims online, because the original computer programming for regular claims-filing was not compatible with the two extended benefits programs. However, with a $140,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Labor, the RI Department of Labor and Training, in collaboration with the RI Department of Administration's Division of Information Technology, was able to create new programming that made online claims-filing possible for all available RI unemployment insurance programs.

Since last summer, the RI Department of Labor and Training has offered three separate unemployment benefit programs to eligible job seekers: regular unemployment insurance; state extended benefits; and federal extended benefits, also known as the Federal Emergency Unemployment Compensation program. Collectively, these programs allow a maximum of 79 weeks of unemployment benefits for those who meet initial eligibility requirements and are currently able, available and actively seeking work.

Director of Labor and Training Sandra M. Powell stated, "The new internet-based applications make filing unemployment insurance claims more convenient for the customer and more efficient for the agency. By allowing more unemployment insurance customers to file online, we expect over time to see a reduction in call center volume and a decrease in call center wait times."

Raymond Filippone, assistant director of Income Support at the Department of Labor and Training, said that he expects up to 45 percent of new federal and state extended benefits claimants to choose the online option. "The more customers who file online, the lower the average claims processing time will be," explained Filippone. Average weekly claim loads this summer range from 2,000 to 3,000 initial claims for regular unemployment insurance benefits and from 800 to 1,100 initial claims for state and federal extended benefits. The weekly total of initial and continuing claims for all unemployment programs this summer has ranged from over 30,000 to just under 40,000. 

While customers are encouraged to file claims online at www.dlt.ri.gov, they may still choose to file unemployment insurance claims by telephone at (401) 243-9100 during the following call center hours: Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Wednesdays from 8 a.m. to noon; and Fridays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Mondays and Tuesdays typically experience the highest volume of calls during the week; callers experiencing difficulty earlier in the day may wish to try after 3:00 pm.  For information on Unemployment Insurance or Extended Benefits customers should check our Frequently Asked Questions on our website at www.dlt.ri.gov/ui.  Customers may email the call center with questions at uihelp@dlt.ri.gov.

About the RI Department of Labor and Training

The RI Department of Labor and Training offers employment services, educational services and economic opportunity to both individuals and employers. DLT protects Rhode Islandís 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 on the programs and services available to all Rhode Islanders, please call the RI Department of Labor and Training at (401) 462-8000 or visit the web site at www.dlt.ri.gov.