It was mighty hard to get onto Delaware’s JobLink site Wednesday.
Many of those who tried got this message: “This website is under heavy load (queue full). We’re sorry, too many people are accessing this website at the same time. We’re working on this problem. Please try again later.”
As of June 12, signing up at that link will be first step that the unemployed must take in Delaware in order to keep getting their benefits, the Department of Labor announced Tuesday.
On orders from Delaware Gov. John Carney, as of that date, anyone on unemployment must prove they are looking for jobs in order to keep getting state and federal benefits.
When COVID-19 hit last year and the unemployment rolls swelled by tens of thousands overnight, the requirement to hunt for a job was dropped and payments were increased to $900 a week in a combination of state and federal money.
As vaccinations have risen and the community opens up, employers have complained that they can’t find enough people to take the jobs that are open. One reason, they say, is because of high unemployment payments, coupled with no requirement to seek a job.Error, group does not exist! Check your syntax! (ID: 11)
Carney said Tuesday he will not drop the extra $300 in federal pay as other governors have. That extra money runs out in September.
But he did order the Department of Labor to reinstitute the job-seeking requirement.
Now, the unemployed once again must first sign up with JobLink, which will require creating or uploading a resume. In addition, they also must complete at least one unique job search a week to remain eligible.
JobLink, which was required before the pandemic, allows employers and job seekers to create and post jobs and resumes in a sort of state-sponsored matching system.
“Delawareans are getting vaccinated, and businesses are reopening and expanding hours of service,” said Secretary of Labor Karryl Hubbard in a press release. “Thousands of jobs are currently available and UI claimants want to get back to work. JobLink is a key tool for connecting potential employees to employers.”
Claimants should check in JobLink to ensure they are properly registered, the Labor Department stressed. The system will include information about the most in-demand occupations by industry and on-the-job training and apprenticeship opportunities.
Once registered, claimants can begin their weekly required job search, which they must document and record to keep getting unemployment payments. For more on how to do that, go to labor.delaware.gov.
The Department of Labor is planning a number of customized communications, including phone calls and posts on the website, to alert those in the system that the rules are changing.
“With nearly a month to complete the JobLink registration, we are seeking to provide Delawareans ample time to comply with the reinstatement of these requirements, said Darryl Scott, director of Unemployment Insurance, in the press release. “We want to strongly encourage people to start this process now.”
On Wednesday, it looked like people were taking that seriously.
Unemployment benefits are available to workers in Delaware that are unemployed through no fault of their own, who are ready and able to accept work, who are actively seeking work and whose past income meets a minimum amount based on an 18-month base period.
Betsy Price is a Wilmington freelance writer who has 40 years of experience, including 15 at The News Journal in Delaware.
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