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State adds staff and phone hours as unemployment claims rise

North Carolina is extending phone hours and adding more staff to respond to the growing number of people seeking help with unemployment benefits during the coronavirus pandemic.
The Raleigh News & Observer reported Saturday that the leader of the Division of Employment Security is willing to do even more.
Lockhart Taylor, the head of the office, said there has been an average of 80,000 calls a day since the middle of March when businesses began to close.
Taylor acknowledged complaints about unanswered phone calls at a recent meeting with state lawmakers.
“We really are in somewhat uncharted territory,” he said in reference to jobless claims.
Some people have told The News & Observer that they’ve had difficulties with both the phones and the website when trying to file for unemployment benefits.
Taylor said his office is investigating the possibility of an online chat system to help. People are now able to call in on weekends as well.

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