State says it’s paid 93% of unemployment claims so far

The Department of Labor and Industrial Relations (DLIR) has announced updated unemployment insurance claims information, including paying $1,727,662,401 since the onset of the COVID-19 Pandemic on March 1, 2020.

“Ninety percent (93%) of the valid unemployment insurance claims that have come in since the beginning of the COVID-19 Pandemic have been processed and paid out by the DLIR” said Deputy Director Anne Perreira-Eustaquio.

Below is a chart indicating the status:

No. of claims filed statewide:      238,438
No. of invalid claims filed statewide: – 69,688
No. of valid claims awaiting claimant to verify: – 11,405
No. of valid claims requiring DLIR action 157,345
No. of claims paid: 145,684
No. of claims requiring DLIR action 6/23/20 11,661

 

“One of our current challenges in contacting employers and claimants is them not answering our phone calls,” noted Deputy Director Anne Perreira-Eustaquio. “If you are an employer or worker involved in the unemployment insurance program please note that both (808) 762-5751 and (808)-762-5752 is the department trying to reach you to process claims.”

Perreira-Eustaquio said for the 11,405 claims needing verification, those claimants may go online to verify their claims at https://huiclaims.hawaii.gov/#/

The Department’s operations continue to evolve including the following common issues:

  • Persons working full-time and therefore ineligible for benefits but filing for the loss of part-time work,
  • Incorrect deposit information supplied by claimants,
  • No weekly certifications filed by claimants,
  • Claim backdate issues,
  • Separation from work that requires investigation,
  • Claimants that have filed multiple claims, and
  • Failure to create a username and password in the claimant online portal.

As reported across the nation, fraudsters are targeting state unemployment insurance systems in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic through various schemes and identity theft. Bad actors are using stolen personal information from sources outside of the department, such as from massive external data breaches like the Equifax breach, to apply for benefits through the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) and attempt to route payments to their own bank accounts.

As of June 24, the department has blocked $76,644,808 in possible fraudulent PUA payments and detected a potential of $15,829,889 paid out in benefits. Investigations are ongoing and will confirm the exact total of erroneously paid benefits. Since June 4, 5,989 victims have reported Identity theft after receiving a letter about eligibility for PUA benefits.

If you received a letter regarding a claim for PUA and you did NOT apply for benefits, please follow the instructions on the letter to report potential identity theft at pua.hawaii.gov. The DLIR is not able to detect how or when your identity was stolen and cannot prevent it from being used elsewhere. If you suspect that you have been a victim of identity theft, file a report with the Federal Trade Commission at www.identitytheft.gov. You may also check to see if your email has been breached by visiting https://haveibeenpwned.com.

For more information about identity theft and PUA benefits please visit https://labor.hawaii.gov/pua-fraud-faqs/.

Like all States, Hawaii’s Department of Labor and Industrial Relations initially struggled to keep up with the unprecedented increase of unemployment insurance claims. Hawaii’s recent, typical average claims load of 20,000 spiked to 228,367 over the course of just a few weeks.

Gov. David Ige said he has put DLIR Director Scott Murakami on a leave, due to the stress of the job.

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