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Unemployment frustrations continue despite new call center

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Posted at 4:20 PM, Apr 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-16 22:38:29-04

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — A new call center that’s supposed to help with the influx of unemployment claims instead has turned into more frustration for those waiting for assistance.

“We all had very high hopes, but I did get through. It’s easier to get through.”

Donna Van Norden is one of 300,000 Nevadans who filed unemployment claims. She used the new call center for her situation. Unfortunately for her, they couldn’t resolve an issue involving a recent paycheck.

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“It is easier, but those folks really can’t resolve pending issues so your kind of back to where you started,” Van Norden said.

The Nevada Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation (DETR) says the new call center is meant to answer general questions, not claim specific questions and are limited in what they can do.

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“They cannot reset an account, they cannot issue you a password, they can give you general information about the process and where you can find information,” Rosa Mendez, the public information officer for DETR, said.

When asked why a call center was set up this way, DETR says it also has seen a volume of calls involving general questions from online users.

“For example, ‘I finished my claims, what happens afterwards? I don’t know what happens afterwards.' So things like that, they can help with things like that,” Mendez said.

The call center itself is run by a third-party company Alorica. It’s a global brand specializing in call center outsourcing and has about 100 people dedicated to answering questions on unemployment. Reviews on Glassdoor.com are average with compliments on paid training and full-time work and complaints about lack of advancement and upper management.

Van Norden says she and others would like to see more employees who can help with their claims, saying many claim-specific ones are resolved when they get a hold of someone.

“So that really seems to be the key. If you can get to the right person. It seems to be most of these issues can be resolved relatively quickly,” she said.

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DETR says it is continuing to look into expanding their staffing to handle this unprecedented volume of claims.

The new call center is open Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and can be reached toll-free at (800) 603-9671.