HONOLULU (KHON) — On Thursday morning, Governor David Ige and Director of the Department of Labor and Industrial Relations (DLIR) Scott Murakami discussed the state of unemployment claims.

Due to what the governor called an “antiquated system,” tens of thousands of unemployment claims are still waiting to be processed. As a result, the DLIR is instituting an alphabetized system to help manage incoming unemployment claims.

“Starting on Monday of next week, we’re asking the community’s support in helping us file your certifications during particular times,” said Murakami. “On Sundays it’ll be an open period where everyone can file, but if you are unable to file on Sundays, then for claimants with the last name starting A-G, please file claims on Monday. For claimants filing with the last name starting H-O, please file your claim on Tuesday. And for claimants filing with the last name starting P-Z, please file your claim on Wednesday. I ask for the community’s support in allowing your friends and neighbors with the corresponding last names to file during those times.”

Governor Ige added: “Everyone’s trying to get on to the system and it’s been bogged down, so now we’re trying to divide the traffic and make assigned times. It’s to help with the performance of the system.”

And if you miss the day for your last name? Thursday through Sunday is open to everyone.

“Rest assured we’re going to make times available for everyone,” Murakami said, “but your kokua with this helps out all of the community and your neighbors.

The state of unemployment claims

“We’ve processed 141,077 claims as of yesterday,” Murakami said. “That represents just shy of 63% of the total number of claims we’ve received. Of the 141,077 claims we’ve processed, 100,602 claims were paid out. The other 40,000 were claims that were denied. What that leaves us with is 84,510 claims that need to be processed. That’s really our priority now.”

That a majority of the claims has been processed is little solace to those 84,510 people still waiting. Murakami described some of the solutions the DLIR has already implemented to try and speed up the process, including redistribution of personnel and technology improvements.

“We now have over 600 volunteers working not just at the convention center but also at the state library system, all working to make corrections to the 84,000 filings that we have in our claims process now. So all these people are behind you.”

The DLIR also went live with a replicated database this week.

“What this does is it improves the capacity both in our portal as well as the database system, and reduces the number of calls we make to the ETS server.” This helps to control traffic so that the system doesn’t get overloaded as easily.

“That’s really what slows the process down. The mainframe just gets too many hits and it slows everybody down.”