State says upgrade will help unemployment system

State says upgrade will help unemployment system (Image 1)

Many people are finding themselves out of work and in need of help from the state's unemployment system.

But recently several people have contacted News 2 saying they can't get through to the unemployment office.
Susan Collins is one of them.  Each day she calls the hotline and each day she hears the same message.
It says, “We cannot take your call at this time. Please try again later.”

Collins was laid off almost a year ago from her job of 28 years.
“It was a blow, let me tell you. A very big shocker,” said Collins.
Since then she's been looking for work, but hasn't found a job yet. In December, Collins decided to file for unemployment benefits.
“That's when the trouble started,” she said.

Collins collected her first unemployment check in December. It was during her weekly certification online that she answered a question incorrectly.

Collins was unable to proceed and was instructed to call the claims center, which she has done every day for six weeks.
“I watch the clock and as soon as seven in the morning hits, I start trying to get in touch with someone,” said Collins.

Still, Collins can't get her calls answered.
“It's the same thing over and over. It's a recording and it tells you that they can't take your call, try again later,” explained Collins.

A spokesman with the Department of Labor and Workforce Development told Nashville's News 2 the agency is dealing with high call volume and many callers have the same problem Collins does, they answered questions incorrectly online, stopping the claim in its tracks.
“I would just like them to call me and tell me what to do to get this straightened out,” said Collins.

The department is currently testing system changes that would enable people to reset pins and change answers on their certification without having to call the call center. The improvements are expected to go live in mid-February.

Anyone with an issue with a claim can fill out a form online and request a call back.

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