Getting help for the unemployed: the urgency is now

Posted on Apr 30, 2020 in Capitol Connection, Featured
To speed the claims process, more sites and volunteers are helping.

To speed the claims process, more sites and volunteers are helping.

The Department of Labor and Industrial Relations (DLIR) is working as fast as it can, given its antiquated system, to handle the flood of unemployment claims. In February, DLIR received about 700 claims per week; recently in one day the department received some 25,000 filings. Claims are being processed faster, thanks to an increase in staff and volunteers from other state agencies and the Legislature. Director Murakami said individuals can check the status of their claims 24/7 at huiclaims2020.hawaii.gov status.  He also urged people to make sure their information is complete and accurate before they submit their forms since that would affect how quickly they receive payments. DLIR said between April 17-23 it distributed more than $68 million in unemployment insurance benefits, including “plus-ups.”

Because so many people may be applying for unemployment benefits for the first time, Murakami said the DLIR website now has step-by-step instructions and video tutorials to walk people through the process. Self-employed individuals and gig workers — a group previously not covered by unemployment benefits— can go to pua.hawaii.gov for federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) to begin the application process. Keep checking the government agency sites and the governor’s home page for updates.

Read more in the May Capitol Connection newsletter

Subscribe to the Capitol Connection newsletter