Many Delawareans are still waiting for unemployment benefits following confusion over a system error for self-employed and independent contractors who are out of work due to coronavirus, according to the Delaware Department of Labor.
The announcement refers to unemployed residents who filed for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, which in Delaware was launched in May thanks to the federal stimulus package passed by Congress.
After going weeks without benefits, most of those claimants still haven’t been paid and have been confused by the department’s handling of their payments. Claimants watched their claims go from being erroneously marked as “processed” to not processed. The system marked “far more claims as processed than had been reviewed and approved by staff,” according to a Wednesday morning Facebook post from the department.
“As a result of this system error, the online view for many claimants was changed to show a payment was going to be made,” the post says. “We corrected this problem and as a result, the ‘Processed’ status was reversed for claims which had not yet been approved for payment.”
Those claimants already had to wait several weeks longer than other unemployed Delawareans, who have been able to apply for benefits due to coronavirus in mid-March, because the department was waiting for guidance from the federal government on how to roll out this program, according to Labor Secretary Cerron Cade.
Since the program launched on May 16, more than 6,000 claims have been filed that would lead to more than $14 million in benefits, according to a Friday news release from the department. That’s about 6 percent of the total number of people who have filed for unemployment.