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VIDEO: 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 the status of unemployment in Hawaii.

Murakami said that DLIR has processed 75% of the claims received. Of the claims processed, over 73% have been paid. There are still over 64,000 claims that need to be processed. Since March 1, the state Unemployment Insurance trust has paid out over $343 million.

As of Monday, the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program has processed 35,144 applications and has paid out over $136 million. While the Pandemic Extended Unemployment Compensation program, which extends UI benefits for an additional 13 weeks, has processed just under 600 applications.

Murakami could not provide an update as to when DLIR will offer in-person assistance. He did mention that the department is currently exploring options for an online appointment system.

The number of new filings per day has decreased slightly. Currently, the department is receiving approximately 900 new filings on average per day, as compared to 1,000-2000 per day reported by Murakami last week on the COVID-19 Care Conversation.

Murakami does not expect to see a surge of new claims when the 8-week PPP loan period runs out. He instead expects there to be a gradual increase as DLIR believes most individuals have already been captured in the initial claims received.

In response to the influx of claims due to the pandemic, DLIR has been making a number of technology updates to its antiquated system. Murakami shared that the department’s front end web portal services should be completely updated by mid-June.

Murakami’s closing comments acknowledged the individuals whose claims have yet to be processed. “It must be even harder knowing that we have gotten through 75% of claims, but we haven’t gotten to yours yet,” he said. “Those are the ones that are the most challenging for us because they require us to do a higher level adjudication, but we will get there. I appreciate everyone’s patience and understanding,” he added.

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

Join the COVID-19 Care Conversation, live every weekday at 10:30 a.m. Yunji de Nies and Ryan Kalei Tsuji will discuss the latest news, resources and community concerns about the coronavirus outbreak in Hawaii.


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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