Brookfield, Vermont, April 15, 2020: GOP Gubernatorial candidate John Klar calls upon the State of Vermont to take emergency measures to provide unemployment compensation promptly.
Emergency hospitals have been set up for COVID-19, yet the State has not been able to process all of the 73,000 new claims for unemployment. “This delay is causing enormous stress for a large swath of the Vermont public,” John Klar warns. “People are just as concerned with how they are going to feed their families and heat their homes as they are about becoming ill -- perhaps more so. Vermont cannot allow this delay to persist -- it presents an entirely different threat on top of the virus.”
John is sympathetic to the unprecedented overload of claims placed on the state filing system, but has talked to numerous people who are becoming panicked by the lack of assurance that they will receive benefits: “I know of one woman who called the Department 350 times without reaching an operator. Others have had problems with their Social Security numbers in the automated system. Most people have waited weeks already. This will have a domino effect on the economy if not remedied immediately.”
Klar calls upon the government to set up an emergency operation of phone and computer services to expedite claims processing, perhaps hiring some benefit claimants as emergency employees -- many have the skills. Empty state offices can be converted to respond initially to the claims demand: many existing state workers can be diverted from other operations that are non-essential. Claims processing MUST be expedited.
Government cannot kill a virus. But it must do what it CAN do -- deliver relief to qualified, needy claimants before irreparable harm results! The State of Vermont must solve this bureaucratic crisis immediately.