News : Zero Unemployment Hotline Calls Blocked Since July 2014
Madison, WI, USA, March 23, 2015 -- None of the calls made to the state’s automated unemployment hotline since May 2014 have been dropped, the state Department of Workforce Development reported earlier this month, a huge improvement since a critical audit last year found as many as three out of five calls in a two-year period weren’t going through.
The department also noted in its March 13 progress report that overpayments from unemployment insurance fraud decreased by 17.5 percent in 2014, an online internet claims application was launched and the trust fund ended 2014 with a positive balance exceeding $215 million.
The report follows up on a December 2014 audit of the state’s Unemployment Insurance program, which showed a considerable number of blocked calls at the unemployment call center.
In December 2013 and January of 2014, months that experience high call volumes due to seasonal layoffs, more than 80 percent of calls were blocked, the audit found.
The two months experienced an average of 93,000 calls per week, compared to fewer than 10,000 per week during the rest of the year.
John Dipko, Department of Workforce Development communications director, said in an email that the department was already addressing issues at the time of the audit.
Since the audit, noticeable improvement in call center numbers have been recorded.
From May 2014 through February 2015, none of the 628,773 calls received by the center were blocked, according to the progress report.
Additionally, 99.4 percent of all calls since July 2014 were answered within 10 minutes, according to the report.
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The department did not hire additional permanent or limited-term employees but "roughly tripled its capacity" through a newly instituted "rapid-response system," according to the progress report.
The system incorporated about 200 non-call center employees that are knowledgeable in unemployment insurance claims, increasing the amount of calls answered.
The progress report also notes that in 2014, there were 13,034 cases of fraud and $20,455,759 in fraud overpayment, a 17.5 percent reduction from the previous year.
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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