To: Governor David Ige and DLIR Director Anne Perreira-Eustaquio
We, the undersigned, urge the Department of Labor and Industrial Relations (DLIR) to reopen the Unemployment Offices in Hawaii for safe, direct, in-person services including the submitting of claims for benefits and receiving updates of status of claims. Banks, credit unions, pharmacies, and grocery stores have shown this is possible. The state's tax offices and driver licensing locations are also open for direct in-person services.
Receiving and processing claims is an ESSENTIAL service especially in these dire times of COVID, with thousands of backlogged UI claims, an ineffective, antiquated computer mainframe at DLIR, and lack of accessibility and responsiveness via the DLIR website and call center. Unemployment benefits are vital for Hawaii's unemployed workers and their families, and often language interpretation and computer assistance are necessary. The State's unemployment offices should:
Open up and provide safe, direct services with language access;
Timely Assistance and Response; and
Modernize the UI System.