State’s system overwhelmed as number of unemployment claims surge

Unemployment claims rising amid coronavirus pandemic

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - The influx of unemployment claim filings put a strain on the Alabama Department of Labor’s system causing some people not to be able to file.

There has been a surge in filed unemployment claims since businesses began laying off people due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Cullman resident Victoria Miller tried to file a complaint beginning March 17 after being let go because of the coronavirus. For more than a week she has attempted to file her claim.

“This is a very scary time for myself and my child,” Miller said.

Miller said the state’s website would tell her to call the state’s number. However, when she would call, she was directed to the website.

“There’s a lot of things happening and a lot of people are scared. And the only hope I had was the unemployment and I can’t get through to do that either," she said. “If I don’t make an income, then I’m going to be put out of where I live."

About 17,000 claims were filed Sunday and Monday according to ADOL spokesperson Tara Hutchison. This is nearly double the number of claims filed through the previous Monday through Friday week combined.

The Alabama Hospitality Association President anticipates 225,000 hotel and restaurant workers will be laid off.

Tara Hutchison said the department’s IT team is working on solving the problem with the state’s system.

“Due to the unforeseen nature of this situation, we are asking if people just to have some patience and understand that we’re all in this together and we’re all working as hard as we possibly can to make it as easy on us as we as possible,” Hutchison said.

Hutchison said to continue calling and using the website to file claims. The website is open to take claims almost 24/7 except for Friday evenings and all day Saturday.

To file an unemployment claim you can call 1-866-234-5382 or visit the state’s website.

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