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Unemployment filers encounter online trouble

Posted August 10, 2009

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— For the second time this year, a computer glitch has prevented thousands of North Carolina residents from filing their claims for unemployment benefits online.

The state Employment Security Commission Web site began having problems Sunday, spokesman Larry Parker said. The agency was able to process about 30 percent of the claims filed on Sunday, he said.

Employment Security Commission Web site Computer problems annoy unemployment filers

An average of 89,000 people have been using the Web site on Sundays in recent weeks to file claims, officials said.

The computer system continued having intermittent problems Monday, and crews worked through the day trying to resolve the issue, Parker said.

"Our computers malfunctioned, and we aren't sure what caused the malfunction at this point," ESC Chairman Moses Carey said.

In January, the ESC computer system crashed after more than 130,000 people tried to file unemployment claims. The agency then upgraded its system to handle the growing number of people seeking jobless benefits statewide.

Carey acknowledged that the ESC computer system is "fairly old," but he said it has been capable of handling the volume of unemployment filings in recent months.

"There's no doubt our system could be upgraded and needs to be upgraded, but that hasn't been a deterrent to people receiving their unemployment insurance benefits over the last few months," he said. "The volume was not the problem this time. The ability to get through the system was slowed down significantly."

Sharon Stephenson couldn't get onto the Web site Monday morning, so she drove to the Raleigh ESC office to file her unemployment claim in person.

"It's important. It's the only income I have," said Stephenson, who is looking for a job in the medical field. "It's not much, but it's better than nothing."

The ESC pleaded with people to be patient as crews try to fix the computer problem. Officials encouraged people filing for unemployment benefits to do so via toll-free phone lines at 877-841-9617 for initial claims or 888-372-3453 for continuing claims.

Parker said a vendor helps the agency handle overflow calls, so all claims should be able to be handled. Anyone who gets a busy signal should wait a while and call back, he said.

All claims filed by 9:30 p.m. will be processed in 24 to 48 hours, while those filed after that will be handled with claims that come in on Tuesday, he said.


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  • yaya Aug 10, 2009

    Responding to 27615
    I have 4 pople in my home unemployed and approved for ESC benefits, so internet is much cheaper than gas looking for employment and it is a MUST and is acceptable by the ESC for job searching. We were downsized by our previous emploers and we downsized our lifestyle to keep the internet. BACK TO YA.

  • Adelinthe Aug 10, 2009

    Trabmansan - "And some folks want them to take over health care & the insurance industry.....Pfft!"

    Well now Bart, in all fairness, the ESC wouldn't be taking over the health care industry.

    But I do know whatcha mean.

    God bless.


  • Trabman_san Aug 10, 2009

    At least you all were granted access for unemployment. I lost my job back in June (no fault of my own) and they have been 'researching' this ever since. It has been almost two months and I cannot find work, AND, ESC has not looked at my circumstances. What is up with that? AintSeenNuthinLikeIT

    Just another prime example of why we do not want expansion of the government. ESC is full of incompetence & bureaucracy. And some folks want them to take over health care & the insurance industry.....Pfft!

  • Adelinthe Aug 10, 2009

    Hi CT - "If you are calling, the rules are: SSN's ending in EVEN numbers primary day to call is Tuesday, or if you miss Tuesday, you can call Wednesday through Saturday."

    She probably knows that.

    The problem is, the computer and phone systems were down the days we were suppose to file. That should mean they take anyone now to make up for when we couldn't get through.

    God bless.


  • Adelinthe Aug 10, 2009

    Finally got through on the phone, but geez - it takes forever to do it that way.

    Still...it's done for this week.

    Thank God.

    God bless.


  • Adelinthe Aug 10, 2009

    AintSeenNuthinLikeIT - "and they have been 'researching' this ever since. It has been almost two months and I cannot find work, AND, ESC has not looked at my circumstances. What is up with that?"

    They have to contact your previous employer to verify the circumstances under which you lost your job, i.e. laid off vs. fired for cause.

    Because it's been 2 months, I'd get back in touch with the ESC (if you can) and ask them for the status. If your employer still hasn't responded, get the ESC to send the request to your employer again.

    There's also a 6-week waiting period, but that runs CONCURRENTLY with the background check, i.e. it doesn't begin after the background check is done.

    Praying for you.

    God bless.


  • Adelinthe Aug 10, 2009

    Discman -

    That didn't work for me either.

    But thanks.

    God bless.


  • Adelinthe Aug 10, 2009

    Not for me.

    I can get to the Individual Services page, but once I key in my ID and PW, it takes me to an IE error page.

    Dang their hides.

    God bless.


  • Faceman Aug 10, 2009

    WOOHOO!! Its back up..slow but back up!!

  • HughBlueJorgan Aug 10, 2009

    With all of these problems ESC claims it has with its servers and etc, makes me wonder if what I heard is true. I was told several weeks ago that a group had hacked into the ESC systems.

    Has someone else hacked into their systems?
    Do these hackers have Social Security Numbers and unemployment information?
    Where were WRAL and other media when all of this was going on?

    Its time that the Federal and/or State people investigate ESC!!!