The state has paid out approximately $803.2 million in unemployment benefits since March 1.
Eighty-eight percent of the valid unemployment insurance claims that have come in since the beginning of the COVID-19 shutdown have been processed and paid out by the Department of Labor and Industrial Services, according to DLIR Deputy Director Anne Perreira-Eustaquio.
“We sincerely appreciate people’s patience and wanted the public to know the scope of the remaining issues, as well as the scope of the incredible progress, made,” Perreira-Eustaquio said.
More than two months ago the COVID-19 pandemic forced an economic shutdown nationwide in an effort to quell the spread of the virus. As a result, jobs were lost, businesses closed and some establishments will not come back.
“Our unemployment insurance operations continue to evolve as we work to address the remaining claims as well as the newly filed claims more strategically and quickly,” Perreira-Eustaquio noted. “We are very grateful of all the state employees that have volunteered to help with this unprecedented situation as well as our hard-working DLIR staff.”
DLIR has worked to hone and refine unemployment insurance data to more strategically target those with pending claims as well as to evolve processing operations, including at the Hawai‘i Convention Center and Hawaii State Library.
The department deals with common issues as their operations continue to evolve:
-Incorrect deposit information supplied by claimants.
-No weekly certifications filed by claimants.
-Claim backdate issues.
-Separation from work that requires investigation.
-Claimants that have filed multiple claims.
-Failure to create a username and password in the claimant online portal.
Like all states, Hawai‘i’s Department of Labor and Industrial Relations initially struggled to keep up with the unprecedented increase of unemployment insurance claims. Hawai‘i’s recent, typical average claims load of 20,000 spiked to 228,367 over the course of just a few weeks.
For more information about unemployment insurance and other labor issues please visit: https://labor.hawaii.gov/covid-19-labor-faqs/.