Kansas Department of Labor reboots unemployment system; new registrations required

photo by: Screenshot/Kansas Department of Labor

The Kansas Department of Labor's unemployment benefits website is pictured Dec. 29, 2020.

Gov. Laura Kelly’s administration rebooted the Kansas unemployment system Tuesday as it sought to address problems in providing benefits to workers left jobless by the pandemic.

The state Department of Labor said it brought its system for providing unemployment benefits back online as planned Tuesday after shutting it down Saturday afternoon. The shutdown allowed the department to improve security after receiving thousands of fraudulent claims.

Republicans in the Legislature continued to worry about the Department of Labor’s ability to get benefits to the unemployed and to thwart scammers. They worry that individuals face paying taxes on benefits they didn’t receive and employers are on the hook for covering some or all of the costs of bogus benefits until the fraud is fully detected.

The unemployment system’s reboot required jobless workers to register again for benefits, and the department said more than 15,700 did so within the first 10 hours. About 2,400 failed to verify their identities and needed to try again, while fewer than 200 people “experienced an error of some sort,” Department of Labor spokesperson Jerry Grasso said in an email.

“The very large/vast majority of people registering are getting through and registering successfully,” Grasso said.

Grasso also said the updated system blocked more than 390,000 attempts by internet bots and human scammers to log in. That’s an average of 11 attempts every second.


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