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VIDEO: Hawaii Department of Labor and Industrial Relations Director Scott Murakami joins the COVID-19 Care Conversation

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Hawaii Department of Labor and Industrial Relations Director Scott Murakami joined the COVID-19 Care Conversation today to share updates on unemployment claims and the PUA system.

Murakami said that DLIR has now paid over 73% of processed claims. There are still over 74,000 claims that need to be processed.

The new PUA system, which allowed individuals to pre-submit applications last week, is currently in the testing phase. Murakami said they are still targeting this week to begin processing those applications. He did not have details on how quickly applicants will receive funds once the applications are processed.

For individuals who receive self employment and employer income, Murkami clarified that these individuals need to first file through the Unemployment Insurance Program. If denied, the next step would be to file a new claim with the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program. Those who applied for unemployment, but have now gone back to work, are still entitled to funds from their separation period, as long as the applicant is eligible.

When asked about the certification process, Murakami said that if claims are not certified within three weeks by the applicant, they will be classified as “inactive.” This requires the claim to be reactivated by the applicant. Murakami is looking to automate the reactivation process to avoid applications being deemed as “inactive.” There are over 900 people who have not yet certified their claim. Murakami encouraged applicants to file their claim certification as soon as possible and said DLIR is able to transfer money directly into an applicant’s bank account versus issuing a check

Murakami reconfirmed that DLIR is processing claims in chronological order, but that some claims are more complicated and require more time to process. Currently, DLIR is receiving approx. 1000-2000 new filings per day. Murakami hopes the department will be caught up in the next few weeks, but was clear to note that there are many variables at play.

Watch here and comment through our Facebook page. Join us tomorrow for our “Ask a Doctor” segment with Dr. James Barahal from Hawaii Pacific Health.

The COVID-19 Care Conversation, sponsored by Hawai’i Executive Collaborative and Hawaii Pacific Health, airs live every weekday at 10:30 a.m. on the Honolulu Star-Advertiser’s Facebook page. Yunji de Nies and Ryan Kalei Tsuji discuss the latest news, resources and community concerns about the coronavirus outbreak in Hawaii.

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