HONOLULU (KHON2) — The Department of Labor and Industrial Relations (DLIR) released more updates on unemployment insurance claims information.

According to the DLIR, the department paid $1,853,823,044 and 1,739,559 weeks have been claimed since the onset of the pandemic in March 2020.

Department Deputy Director Anne Perreira-Eustaquio says that there have been nearly a thousand new claims a day over the past week.

“The department has managed to maintain a ninety-three percent (93%) level of payouts of the valid unemployment insurance claims that have come in since the beginning of the COVID-19 Pandemic,” she said. “We also reduced the number of clean claims without certification by 950 so we still have 10,455 clean claims ready for payment of benefits by filing weekly claim certifications.”

Courtesy of the DLIR

“One major issue preventing claimants from receiving benefits is the use of devices with out-of-state IPs (Internet Protocol address) or Virtual Private Network (VPN) software,” said Deputy Perreira-Eustaquio. “Benefits are stopped when it appears claimants are filing outside of Hawaii so claimants should allow the system to detect their location when filing certifications.”

Officials said that the department’s operations continue to evolve, including 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,
  • Not allowing location information while filing certifications,
  • Claimants that have filed multiple claims, and
  • Failure to create a username and password in the claimant online portal.

The DLIR also says that 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,” said the DLIR.

As of June 24, the department has blocked $95 million in possible fraudulent payments and detected a potential of $18M paid out in PUA benefits. Investigations are ongoing and will confirm the exact total of erroneously paid benefits.

If you received a letter regarding a claim for PUA and you did not apply for benefits, 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.