By Daniel Johnson, Staff Reporter
Students who are required to maintain contact with Workforce Solutions are running into difficulty when trying to claim unemployment benefits, apply for benefit extensions or request assistance looking for a job because of recent changes in software, said CNM Connect Achievement Coach Sally Moore.
The new software was implemented on Jan. 6, 2013 by Workforce Solutions to streamline the process of claiming unemployment benefits, but it is causing problems instead, she said.
“The new software for claiming unemployment benefits was meant to make things easier and it has not operated the way it was meant to. Instead, it has become the cause of the problems that everyone is dealing with,” said Moore.
Students who tried to certify or check the status of their claim online were unable to access that information, she said.
Wait times for the help line have become so long that many people just give up, she said.
“I called to try and find information and was put on hold for more than four hours before I eventually just hung up,” said Moore.
Because of the complications, students must now have appointments to see someone at the Workforce Solutions facility, she said.
It is recommended that anyone having problems with claiming unemployment or contacting Workforce Solutions contact Law Access New Mexico, she said.
Law Access New Mexico is recommending that students put their claims and job searches in writing and mail those to Workforce Solutions to certify if access to the website is restricted or contact cannot be made with the call center.
If students are running into financial problems because of the situation with Workforce Solutions, they can apply for assistance by qualifying for things like the Rust Scholarship, she said.
“It is very concerning that it is difficult for students to get those benefits and we want to let them know to come and see us if they are having trouble with bills or other things,” said Moore.