New round of frustration with state's unemployment system


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New round of frustration with state's unemployment system

By Michael Lopardi. CREATED Dec 4, 2013

Las Vegas, NV (KTNV) -- People trying to file unemployment claims are reporting a new round of frustration with the state's new benefits system.

The Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation launched the new system in September and is still working out the kinks.

Dion Garbutt of Las Vegas can only sit at home and wait.

"I don't want any special treatment," Garbutt said. "I just want to file unemployment regularly and I want to get back to work. I don't like sitting here waiting on an unemployment check."

Garbutt said he's a freelancer who qualifies for unemployment when he's not working. But for him, filing an unemployment claim has become a job in itself. Garbutt said he hasn't been able to file a claim in two weeks.

"I need my unemployment for now so I can pay my bills and move on," Garbutt said.

Garbutt said he's having trouble logging onto the website and reaches a busy signal when he tries to call the call center.

"I have not been able to talk to anyone at the unemployment office at all," Garbutt said.

Frustrated, he emailed Gov. Brian Sandoval's office and then he emailed Action News.

The unemployment office said the old system had to be replaced and despite the hiccups, the new system has successfully processed tens of thousands of claims.

DETR spokeswoman Mae Worthey said the agency is continuously improving the system and installing patches to correct problems. The message: try again; a new fix may have been installed since you last tried to log on. Worthey said the office has also beefed up its help desk staff to assist with technical problems.

The unemployment office said only people who truly need to speak with an operator should call; that leaves the lines open for others. Worthey said the office is also receiving calls from people concerned that Congress may not extended federal unemployment benefits at the end of the year, which is also tying up phone lines.

"I do understand that it's a new system and they got to get the bugs out but I have no other recourse," Garbutt said.