Unemployment system upgrade still causing frustration for filers


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    AUGUSTA (WGME) -- CBS 13 is on your side, following up with the Maine Department of Labor on its new unemployment claims filing system that went on line last week.

    Labor officials say they've worked out many of the glitches, but people are still having problems filing claims.

    "It's a nightmare. It really is," said Gloria Pressey of Waterville.

    Pressey and her fiancee are currently unemployed. To make matter worse, for two weeks her fiancee hasn't gotten an unemployment check.

    "You don't know if you're even going to be able to get food, let alone pay your rent or anything else,” Pressey added.

    "Got to pay bills," said Joshua Reay of Waterville. "Have some kind of holiday for the family and stuff."

    Reay says every time he goes to file his weekly unemployment claim, the state labor department's new "ReEmployME" computer system, which went online eight days ago, boots him off.

    The department's communications director admits the new system has had some glitches, but she says the biggest problem is people not filing claims correctly.

    "The lion's share of what we're seeing, what we're seeing and what we can isolate, has to do with clients getting onto the system, making sure that they're not only creating an account but also doing a work search," said communications director Laura Hudson.

    But Reay says when he went to get help filing his claims today at a Career Center, it still didn't work.

    When asked if it was any help, Reay said, "a little. Not really that much. Cause I still need to get ahold of Unemployment so that I can figure out what's going on."

    This couple is now worried about missing a third unemployment check.

    "I think it's a little ridiculous,” said Gloria Pressey. “Everybody has bills and Christmas. And this is the worst time of the year to possibly do this."

    "We were dealing with a legacy system that was bound to fail. And the system was not going to wait for the holidays,” said Hudson.

    And there is some good news. The Labor Department says last night they mailed between 5,000 and 6,000 checks out-- many of them multiple checks to the same person-- which they say will cover the last two weeks that claimants hadn't been paid.

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