Updated: Monday, 03 Jan 2011, 10:56 PM EST
Published : Monday, 03 Jan 2011, 5:54 AM EST
INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) - It was a frustrating Sunday for thousands of unemployed Hoosiers who tried all day long to file for unemployment benefits, but got error messages on the Indiana Department of Workforce Development instead. With the filing system apparently back online early Monday morning, many now wonder if their claims will still be processed.
Pamela Lopez is one of them. After 363 days in the unemployment line, she’s used to a high stress level.
“I worked at Navistar, and when the plant decided to close, I was caught up in the management sweep. They just went in and cleaned everybody out. I’ve been unemployed since January 4, 2010. It's very tough to find a job out there, so there's a lot of stress, work worrying about the future,” she said.
On Sunday, Lopez was also stressed out about the present.
Like thousands of other unemployed Hoosiers, she went online to file for her weekly vouchers for unemployment benefits, only to find error message after error message.
“This is the claimant self-serve logon,” she said, pointing to her computer screen. “It says system temporarily unavailable. It said that when I logged on at 8:30 [Sunday] morning, and all day long I did this--all day long. This is the stress of trying to make the system work. You can't file it until Sunday, and you only have until 3 in the afternoon to file it. It can be frustrating.”
Lopez wasn't alone in voicing it.
The posts piled up all day on the WISH-TV Facebook page, describing a system that was “not working” and “wouldn’t let me log on.” Many of our viewers also wondered if they would still receive their benefits on time, even though they would clearly have to file after the 3 p.m. deadline.
24-Hour News 8 put those questions to the Department of Workforce Development Sunday night, and received a statement from spokesperson Valerie Kroeger around 8 p.m.
"The system is operating slower than normal,” it read. “We are working to correct this. The system is still accepting claims so claimants should continue to file their weekly vouchers."
Lopez did just that, trying for the next 14 hours. Just after 11:30 p.m., she finally had a breakthrough.
“It looks like the site is back up,” she said. “14 hours. That makes it tough, because now I have to spend more time seeing if this is going to be a problem. I may have to call, or go in. I don't know. [The site] has been down before, but it's never been a full, right at the deadline type where you couldn't get your claim in. This is the worst I've seen.”
The Department of Workforce Development did extend the filing deadline until at least 5:30 p.m. Sunday after speaking with 24-Hour News 8 about the problems viewers alerted us to.
At 8:50 a.m. Monday, the spokesperson for DWD told 24-Hour News 8 anyone that was able file their claim by 5:30 p.m. Sunday would be paid on Monday. Anyone that filed after 5:30 p.m. on Sunday would be paid on Tuesday.
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