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Jobless claims call center, simplified forms established

The Maui News

The state labor department took more measures to resolve the online logjam of unemployment compensation claims, and a new Maui County office has been set up to help with claims filings and job searches.

The state Department of Labor and Industrial Relations set up a call center to provide assistance with jobless claims “while working on fixing the current online claims filing process,” a news release said. Calls will be accepted during normal business hours weekdays 7:45 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Phone appointments can be made at (808) 762-5752; password reset, (808) 762-5751. Claimants who are experiencing difficulties can call (808) 984-8400 or send email to dlir.ui.maui@hawaii.gov.

The website to file claims is huiclaims.hawaii.gov/#/.

Local unemployment offices remain closed to walk-in and in-person services.

The department also announced the creation of a new, simplified web form for filing unemployment claims that is available 24/7. Individuals use it to either file a new claim or continue an existing claim.

“Simplifying the web-based application process and establishing an internal phone bank will allow individuals to file claims on a timelier basis,” said department Director Scott Murakami. “I sincerely apologize for the difficulties our community has encountered with our online site for filing claims.”

The safest and most efficient way to apply for unemployment benefits is through the new webform at huiclaims.hawaii.gov/#/. The state will backdate claims and deposit unemployment benefits for eligible individuals who were unable to file due to the overload on the online system.

Individuals filing claims will need a savings or checking account for depositing funds, financial institution routing number and a account number. The department advises applicants to have contact information and dates of employment for all employers over the past 18 months.

The newly formed American Job Center Maui website (www.mauiamericanjobcenter.com) also can help.

“This new website is designed as a one-stop shop for people looking for help with job search tools, social service agency information for residents in need and information to help struggling businesses that have been affected by the impacts of the coronavirus,” said Kay Fukumoto, director of the Maui County Office of Economic Development.

There also is an instructional video to help claimants walk through the process of filing for unemployment insurance and other assistance.

“The state Department of Labor’s online claims system for unemployment claims has been crashing because of dramatic coronavirus-related increases in demand,” she said. “But we understand that upgrades are being made to the system to handle the demand.”

The website launch was a joint effort by Maui County Workforce Development Program Partners, state Unemployment Insurance Division and the Maui County American Job Center.

For more information, call Karen Arakawa, American Job Center manager, by phone at 270-5777 or email at karen.arakawa@mauicounty.gov.

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