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Web site glitch snags unemployment claims

Posted January 5, 2009
Updated March 9, 2009

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— Technical problems with the state Employment Security Commission Web site will likely delay unemployment benefits for thousands of filers, but they will get paid, an agency spokesman said.

Andrew James said Monday afternoon that engineers have added an additional server to handle the increased traffic to the ESC site, which crashed Monday morning after nearly 130,000 people tried accessing it over a two-day period to file weekly benefits claims.

ESC Web site Glitch means benefits delay for thousands of unemployed workers

"We didn't know what the limits were, and I think we reached the limits," James said.

The true test of the upgraded system, he said, will be to see how the system holds up Monday evening and Tuesday.

Hundreds of people lined up outside the ESC office Monday morning in Raleigh, some looking for answers and hoping to file their claims in person.

"It's very frustrating, because it's the beginning of a new year, and everybody wants their money," said Tonya Leslie, who was laid off from a textile job she held for 10 years.

"How am I going to eat?" asked Claudine Winfree, who lost her restaurant job about three weeks ago. "I'm on a fixed income. I don't have the money. I can't get food stamps. We need this money."

Anyone trying to file a claim Monday has until 9 p.m. to access the system, he said. They can also call 800-372-3453 or 877-841-9617 (for initial claims).

James said the lines are open and working but that callers may experience delays getting through because of the overwhelming number of people trying to get through.

James said that about 23,000 people usually file on a Sunday or Monday. He attributes the increase to the state's 7 percent unemployment rate.

There are approximately 300,000 people in the ESC unemployment system. About $33 million in benefits is paid out weekly.


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  • zProt Jan 6, 2009

    If the employer is paying the premium, the employee pays it by default. What could be simpler than that?

  • HockeyBowler Jan 5, 2009

    "Most people don't seem to understand unemployment insurance. Each month, you pay unemployment insurance. If you think you don't, ask your employer and they will let you know exactly how much is being sent in on your behalf."

    Yes, and I am entitled to my money, hence it is an entitlement.

    No, unemployment is paid by the "employer," not the worker. Each employer's tax rate is assigned based on the rate schedule in force and his/her own experience. Experience includes length of liability, tax payments, wages paid, timeliness of payments, and benefit payments charged.

    So - go ahead and ask your employer, they will explain it to you.

  • mtnmama Jan 5, 2009

    strawberry- "IF" what I said is true? I assure you it is, so IF YOU are telling the the truth, I'm glad you are surviving. And it sounds as though you are either independently wealthy or gainfully employed. If you know people who are cheating the system and do not report them, then you are no better than they are...just my opinion, of course. If I was one of the self righteous, judgemental jerks surfing the internet looking for sites where I could feed my egomaniacal appetite by unfairly criticizing people on this thread, I would assume that you are commenting while at work, thereby cheating your employer out of time, resorces and money, but since I'm not and I don't know your personal circumstances, I will take the high road here and assume you are a shift worker, or had the day off today. Afterall, wouldn't that make you the same as those cheaters you referred to? Stay well.

  • viking416 Jan 5, 2009

    Strawberry, you should take your soap box to Washington and talk to them about Bank and Auto bailouts. That is where this problem started Wall street not Main st. btw..you can file your claim by phone if the website is down...very easy

  • jockeyshiftspringer Jan 5, 2009

    MeredithOne said: "Just for everyone's info: the ESC site is working now."

    Thanks for the info!! Just filed mine.

  • Raleigh Boys Jan 5, 2009

    I see James is feeding the newspaper some 'news' about adding another server. I hope he did not add another Pentium II running Netware 4.1 to handle this load.

  • OLD PIRATE 2 Jan 5, 2009



  • batteringram69 Jan 5, 2009

    FYI, strawberrysw4,

    I take it you are currently employed?

    Come sit in my shoes after I was laid off from 2 different jobs in 2008, one company moved to Mexico, the other company gasping for air to stay alive regarding the construction/heavy equipment industry. I am currently drawing unemployment which is the only thing I have going. With a family of 4 with no insurance as well, you'd be thanking you lucky stars for that unemployment check every week. To top it off, nobody and I mean NOBODY is hiring right now. I was laid off the second time in December and pretty much the 15 or more places I dropped off resumes' to had the same gloom response: Not hiring. I'm sure the others who post on this board who are umemployed are getting the same responses.

    Yeah, let's do away with unemployment benefits (sarcasm inserted).

  • TheAdmiral Jan 5, 2009

    "Most people don't seem to understand unemployment insurance. Each month, you pay unemployment insurance. If you think you don't, ask your employer and they will let you know exactly how much is being sent in on your behalf."

    Yes, and I am entitled to my money, hence it is an entitlement.

  • kikinc Jan 5, 2009

    No one here is saying that they're relying on the government to take care of them. I think the majority of people would much rather work than take unemployment. But sometimes there are no other options. When you have mouths to feed and bodies to clothe, you take what you can get. I, for one, wouldn't want to be on unemployment. I'd take a considerable pay cut. But if it came down to it, my family comes first. If unemployment would help provide for them, so be it. I'm not too proud to admit I need help. And 6-8 months of money saved won't save you sometimes. I live with someone who's been unemployed since April. There are no jobs, no opportunities, so he is going back to school. W/O that unemployment that's been coming in, we wouldn't have a cent right now. And at least we still have money in reserve in case something catastrophic happened. I'm not too proud to accept the help that I pay the insurance for.