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State announces alphabetized intake structure for unemployment insurance claims

MONTPELIER — In response to the increasing number of initial claims for unemployment insurance benefits and inquiries to its claims center, the Vermont Department of Labor (DOL) on Friday announced it would implement an alphabetized structure for the intake of weekly claims and inquiries.
The structure will take effect this Sunday, April 12.
“We are asking the public for help in implementing this new call structure, as we look to help those that are in need”, said interim Commissioner Michael Harrington. “We continue to see the impact that COVID-19 has had on our community and our goal is to be able to reduce call volume so we are helping more Vermonters get benefits faster. This is a short-term solution and we will continue to monitor this program to determine the impact it is having on call volumes.”
The new process will reduce the number of claims assistance calls and traffic to the claimant portal by designating specific days of the week for individuals to contact the department, based on the first letter of their last name. Full details of the structure can be found below:

FILING OF WEEKLY CLAIMS:
No restrictions will be placed for claimants looking to file a weekly claim over the phone through the DOL’s automated phone line, 1-800-983-2300. The phone system is open 24-hours on Sunday, and from 5 a.m.–4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.
For those looking to file their weekly claim online at labor.vermont.gov, claimants are encouraged to observe the following structure:
Sunday, 24 hours, ALL
Monday, 3:30 am – 11:30 pm, A-E
Tuesday, 3:30 am – 11:30 pm, F-L
Wednesday, 3:30 am – 11:30 pm, M-R
Thursday, 3:30 am – 11:30 pm, S-Z
Friday, 3:30 am – 4:30 pm, ALL
Saturday, CLOSED, CLOSED

CALLS TO CLAIMANT ASSISTANCE LINE:
Those looking to contact Claimant Assistance regarding questions about their claim or if they are experiencing problems filing their weekly claim may call 1-877-214-3332 on the designated days below.
Sunday, CLOSED, CLOSED
Monday, 8:15 am- 4:30 pm, A-E
Tuesday, 8:15 am- 4:30 pm, F-L
Wednesday, 8:15 am- 4:30 pm, M-R
Thursday, 8:15 am- 4:30 pm, S-Z
Friday, 8:15 am- 4:30 pm, ALL
Saturday, 9 am- 3 pm, ALL
Claimants are encouraged to voluntarily follow these guidelines set forth by the DOL.
The Department of Labor announced on Thursday through a weekly report that for the week ending April 4, 2020, the Department processed 16,474 Initial Claims and 21,953 Continued Claims. In comparison to last year, this is an increase of 15,955 Initial Claims for the same week. The April 9, 2020 report can be found online at vtlmi.info/weeklyUi04042020.pdf.
Those looking to establish an initial claim for unemployment insurance benefits may still do so any time online at labor.vermont.gov.
For further information and updates on the Vermont Department of Labor, visit labor.vermont.gov.

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