Governor Hutchinson addresses unemployment application issues

KNWA

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — Throughout the past couple weeks, people in Northwest Arkansas have contacted KNWA/Fox 24 with stories of filing for unemployment and running into problems. Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) stated the state is working to improve the application system to handle the amount of filings.

More than 40,000 people have applied for unemployment stemming from the business hit taken early in the COVID-19 outbreak, Hutchinson said. Still, common problems expressed through messages, emails and calls indicate the online application portal goes down, a listed phone number results in dropped calls and seemingly-endless lines pop up at local unemployment offices.

The problems are being worked through with more workers and updated systems, Hutchinson said.

“We’ve had tens of thousands that’ve successfully gotten through and filled out claims,” Hutchinson said. “I know it’s frustrating, but they’re working on it every day. It’s a challenge.”

The state’s added 20-30 new staff members to work the phone lines, Hutchinson said. New IT systems were installed to handle the load. In-person services will still be offered, but Hutchinson said he wants to limit the people going to the offices.

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