MONTPELIER, Vt. (WFFF) – The Vermont Department of Labor’s online unemployment complaints system has been temporarily disabled since Wednesday due to a huge increase in fraudulent claims.
On Monday, Commissioner Michael Harrington detailed what the department is doing to get things up and running. He also explained that there has been a sharp increase in fraudulent claims in the past two months.
“What we started seeing on Wednesday night was a mass filing effort by fraudulent architects of about five to ten submissions sent per minute,” said Harrington.
The temporary suspension of the I.U. Vermont online The system came up days after the federal government asked state officials to review the eligibility of thousands of people who used it. In March 2020, Vermont lifted some eligibility requirements to deal with a growing backlog of complaints.
According to VT Digger, the US Department of Labor’s jobless unemployment administrator told state officials that his decision to pay people before establishing eligibility created a “substantial compliance problem.”
Governor Phil Scott was asked about this on Friday: “We were in a crisis situation at the time, without our own fault and because of a 50-year-old mainframe and all the obstacles and obstacles that we would have to go through, we couldn’t make it work without that the Vermonters suffer. That is why we are in the position we are in today, I will take some responsibility for that, but I still think it was the right thing to do. “
While the Vermont Department of Labor works to strengthen its fraud prevention measures for unemployment, Vermonters can still file a claim for the first time or open a new benefit year by calling the I.U. Assistance Center for Claimants in (877) 214-3330.
Harrington said it may take some time to bring the system back online, because officials want to make sure the problem is fully understood and addressed.
“When we started to see the peak, we knew immediately that they had found a way to manipulate the online application and the system,” said Harrington. “What we said internally is that we are not going to put it back online until we are sure that we have taken all measures to prevent fraud from entering the system.”
If you receive anything in the mail from the Vermont Department of Labor, particularly from the Unemployment Insurance Division, and you have not applied for benefits, you must inform the department immediately. The tip line can be reached at (802) 828-4104.