Unemployment office still struggling with volume of calls

Posted at 8:28 AM, May 27, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-27 10:47:05-04

COLORADO SPRINGS — Unemployment continues to be a big problem during the pandemic. According to the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment, Colorado's jobless rate jumped to 11.3% in April and the state unemployment office is overwhelmed with calls from people needing help.

News5 spoke to one man who needs help making corrections to a payment request form.

"I've been calling and calling every day. Someone must be getting through, and it's just not me,"said Victor Almen, a Colorado Springs resident. Almen was laid off from his job a couple of months ago. He worked at a local car dealership in the "parts" department. Since being laid off, Almen has been relying on the Pikes Peak Work Force Center to find job openings.

Almen says he filed an unemployment claim shortly after losing his job and was approved to get benefits. Now, he needs help correcting some paperwork. The last time he requested payment, he made an error on the forms. The latest unemployment check he was owed is also still pending.

"I've called the unemployment office daily. When I dialed one line I was on hold, waiting to speak to someone for 30 minutes. Another time I called I was waiting for 45 minutes," Almen said.

Out of frustration, Almen drove to Denver, hoping to correct the problem face to face.

"The state knows that there is an abundance of unemployment, but it doesn't seem like they have done anything to correct the situation," he said. "There are people out there who need the money, and they are probably in the same situation I am in and can't get help. "

News5 Investigates learned the labor department is receiving up to 20,000 calls per day right now. They're asking everyone not to call on peak days, such as Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays, and to document every delay you encounter.