Kansas Department of Labor failing Kansans every day

Kansas Department of Labor Website - Server Error

My wife was made redundant in December 2020, her position was experimental, and due to the COVID—19 pandemic, she was unable to do her job effectively, so the company, understandably decided to cut their losses. And since that time, she has received one unemployment payment of $396 from the Kansas Department of Labor, which arrived on January 5, 2021; and nothing since.

My wife, Erin, is a part-time student, so has to declare her student status on form K-BEN 317, which she has done, repeatedly, and submitted via fax, email, and postal mail, and KDOL has claimed they have not received K-BEN 317 through any of these delivery methods. Even before this pandemic, this has been an issue, the question is; are KDOL incompetent or maliciously ‘losing’ the school attendance form?

Good luck calling KDOL, my wife did get through after 2+ hours on hold, only to be told that they had not received K-BEN 317, that is why she has not received any further unemployment benefits since January 5, 2021. The representative gave Erin a different email address to send the completed school attendance form to, and guess what, several more weeks have passed and nothing, no deposits from Kansas DOL.

In addition, KDOL “upgraded” its website to file claims online at the end of January; and it doesn’t work. At the beginning of February, claimants were required to sign up to the new website; and there was no signup link, the link did appear a few days later, and Erin successfully signed up, but upon getting in, she was greeted with a “server error” message; this error message has been persistent for weeks now.

I checked the mail before I concluded this blog and in the mailbox was a notice of determination letter from KDOL, saying that my wife is no longer eligible for unemployment benefits beginning 12/27/2020.

Kansas Department of Labor Unemployment Determination Letter

So, months after December 27, 2020, and sending the requested information, no less than four times, via three delivery methods, Erin has been denied for not supplying the requested information. In the meantime, bills are still coming in, and my income alone is not enough to cover all the bills and debt payments every month. And, there is still no stimulus payment from Washington DC; and no guarantee that it will even pass with Democratic Senators like Kyrsten Sinema and Joe Manchin, who blocked the removal of the filibuster, which would allow Democrats to pass legislation with a simple 51 vote majority.

And based on what I have read online, Erin is far from alone in finding it hard to get unemployment benefits. And Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly is being a politician making excuses and talking about the past. No-one cares what happened in the past, how outdated Kansas’ IT infrastructure is, how many staff have been hired to answer phones, or how many fraudulent claims have been stopped. IT’S NOT ENOUGH!

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