Many Kansans still struggling with state’s unemployment website, overloaded phone lines

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

OLATHE, Kan. — The Kansas Department of Labor said Friday it resolved an issue with some confusing questions about availability to work that led to tens of thousands of people calling about their unemployment claims.

“Please remember that it is your responsibility to read all correspondence from the KDOL and to read every weekly claim question thoroughly before responding,” the agency posted going on to say that Kansans’ claims will not be held up in processing because of erroneous responses.

But that flood of calls and technical issues are keeping some people from being able to file in the first place.

If you’ve ever had trouble with a password, you can probably relate to Denise German’s woes. But imagine if you were out of work and that password is what separated you from any weekly income.

The Olathe woman is self-employed and was happy to find out a few weeks into the pandemic that Kansas was processing Pandemic Unemployment Assistance claims. The program expands unemployment to self employed, independent contractors and gig workers.

But the system wouldn’t let her file when she first set up her username and password.

Now every time she tries to log in with that password, she’s told it’s wrong and she’s locked out for hours from trying to re-enter it. 

The only course of action: call Kansas’s overloaded Call Center. She’s tried at all hours to get through, but has never reached a call taker or been able to leave a message.

Each week that goes by is $600 in federal assistance and up to $488 in state unemployment insurance she says you could really use right now.

“It is just amazing that Kansas has not been able to provide the resources for those of us that live here and need the assistance of our state,” German said.

Despite other technical glitches with the website and people’s struggle to get through to the call center, the state said it has paid out more than $600 million in benefits to many of the 275,000 Kansans who have filed for unemployment.

If you haven’t received a check, at last update the state said it was still reviewing as many as 24,000 applications for those self-employed type workers to see if they’ll qualify. 



More News