Business

Computer glitch means NC jobless can't collect

Posted May 4, 2012

— The Division of Employment Security website has been down since late Thursday, locking out those who log on to update their benefits.

Spokesman Larry Parker said the division's web and phone services were offline as the result of a mainframe problem, but that people could update their files by visiting a local DES office. However, visits and calls to offices in Raleigh, Smithfield, Durham and Cary showed computers there were offline as well.

"They said everything was down all across the state," said Kwame Manigault. He was trying to update his banking information at the Raleigh DES office.  Jobless left waiting by another glitch at DES Jobless left waiting by another glitch at DES

Jason Miller was trying to file his weekly jobless certification. He wasn't able to file online, and said Raleigh office staff told him they couldn't help him, either. He said they also told him his check might be delayed as a result. "You don't get your money until whenever their systems come back up."

"Actually, it's my anniversary," said Miller, who's been out of work for three months. "I was looking forward to having that money." 

Parker said claims could be made on paper, in person. "We do have a form that is available at all of our offices statewide called a 506-D that allows them to manually answer those questions to file a certification," he said. He added that office staff told him Miller was offered that option.

WRAL wasn't offered any such option. We called unemployment offices in Smithfield, Cary, and Durham. Workers at all three offices said the computers were down and they were not able to process weekly claims. No one we spoke with mentioned a paper form.

"I'm going to have to check into that," Parker said, "but unfortunately, I've been told differently - that folks have been filing weekly certifications at local offices today."

Parker said DES would work on the problem around the clock in hopes of being back online by Sunday, when a lot of people file their weekly claims.  

It is not the first time that technical problems have surfaced at the DES. In 2009, as the recession swept across the state and pushed unemployment to record levels, filers saw the website crash repeatedly, delaying benefits and increasing stress for the jobless. Friday's glitch means those collecting benefits, who must re-certify their status weekly, are unable to get a check. 

An audit in March showed the state had overpaid almost $700,000 in unemployment benefits in 2010-11. Between July 2008 and June 2011, the U.S. Department of Labor found that North Carolina paid $534 million more than it should have in unemployment benefits.

In the past two years, audits revealed more than $1 million in overpaid unemployment benefits, caused by a computer glitch that took months to fix. The commission borrowed nearly $3 million from the federal government, which it hasn't paid back yet.

28 Comments

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  • buzzkill May 7, 10:10 a.m.

    Just to let everyone know....this was not a MAINFRAME issue. The mainframe is a stable, reliable, secure, robust, upgradeable and proven platform.

  • storchheim May 4, 7:36 p.m.

    smi11er, get on them HARD. I waited 8 weeks while several people knew very well the ball had been dropped and lifted not a finger to correct it or even tell me the truth.

    Oh, and tell her to be sure and get last names. I was told that since I didn't, there was just no way at all to find out who should be disciplined because all I had was dates, times, transcript, and first names.

  • sunshine1040 May 4, 7:19 p.m.

    Next headline will read unemployment has dropped. Sorry but folks want to be elected or elected in NC get the numbers to read the way that you think will be most favorable even if it is a computer error

  • whatelseisnew May 4, 6:32 p.m.

    "Insert rabid, appallingly ignorant comment which desperately attempts to blame Obama and/or democrats for the result of eight years of "Mission Accomplished" politics. Also, be sure to include all the latest nutty talking points from FOX and fascist AM talk radio."

    You do not understand who the fascists are, for a bit of help please see "ObamaCare and an example, for a historical bit please see Medicare. Both share the practice of forcing people under Federal law to buy insurance. the only positive factor in ObamaCare is at least people are not being forced to use a Government system. Medicare is probably the worst health insurance you are forced to buy. Worse yet, you are FORCED to pay for it decades before you are able to file an insurance claim for hospital expenses. I would love to run an insurance scam like Medicare. Only the Government could do something like this and then claim they can't pay the bills.

  • muggs May 4, 6:02 p.m.

    westernwake1, Have you offered your assistance to help these people out and are they still using the same computor and software engineers as before,the people who are depending on the state to do their part should try to find solutions to these problems,part of that would be to insure they have capable peopl to not only fix their computor problems but to prevent them,this seems like about the fourth time that this has occurred,you can,t blame those if the fault is not human error,but if it is,well they need to either be replaced or removed from the position of putting someone who depends on their benefits in a tight spot.

  • dollibug May 4, 5:56 p.m.

    Perhaps this is an *EXCUSE*....no wonder the unemployment numbers are down.....

  • SARCASTICLES May 4, 5:53 p.m.

    (Insert rabid, appallingly ignorant comment which desperately attempts to blame Obama and/or democrats for the result of eight years of "Mission Accomplished" politics. Also, be sure to include all the latest nutty talking points from FOX and fascist AM talk radio.) ;)

  • westernwake1 May 4, 5:42 p.m.

    "westernwake, you should understand that "mainframe issues" to not cause telephony or web site availability issues. However, network issues will do so very quickly." - Singlemalt

    Any software architect or engineer who can not resolve telephony, website, mainframe, or network issues is not really fit to be employed.

  • storchheim May 4, 5:27 p.m.

    5 to 7 years and $50 million? Is Lanny Cansler entangled somehow?

  • smi11er May 4, 5:22 p.m.

    They have more then a minor glitch...Wife has been waiting 5 weeks... They claim all is approved but not a dime. They don't really care.

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