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Kansas works to fix buggy system for filing for unemployment

April 14, 2020 GMT

MISSION, Kan. (AP) — Amid a surge of complaints from desperate out-of-work Kansans, state officials are making another effort to fix the state’s faltering system for filing unemployment claims as the coronavirus outbreak wreaks havoc on the economy.

The Kansas Department of Labor said in a tweet that tech workers were taking the agency’s website down for an hour each at noon and at 7 p.m. Tuesday.

Gov. Laura Kelly said Monday that the department has received more than 130,000 initial unemployment claims over the past three weeks. She said that initial claims are up by 3,400% for the year. But even those numbers don’t capture the full extent of job losses in the state, in part because a 43-year-old mainframe computer cannot keep up.

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Kelly said the system was the victim of of “decades of neglect” and already was slated for an upgrade. A team of dozens of experts worked over the weekend on a solution.

“But it’s sort of like repairing a plane in the air,” Kelly said.

Republican state Senate President Susan Wagle took the administration to task over the problems, saying people are complaining to her that passwords aren’t working, they aren’t getting money despite filing claims weeks ago, and are facing other problems.