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Nebraska Unemployment's October Upgrade Might Have Saved COVID-19 Collapse

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Nebraska has moved about 40,000 people through the unemployment insurance claims process since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic March 8.

Labor Commissioner John Albin shared the statistics Wednesday, on the eve of new weekly unemployment numbers.

By the state’s estimate, it has successfully enrolled around 40 percent of the 100,000 claims since coronavirus closures started to wreak havoc on the state's economy.

The crush of claims has left the state's Department of Labor scrambling to get people paid under the benefits they've earned, and a software upgrade the department rolled out October 1 might have saved the system from collapse.

"There's no way we could have taken 100,000 claims through the methodology we did prior to that," Albin said in a KETV NewsWatch 7 interview via Zoom, noting nearly all of the unemployment claims have come in online.

Still, 60,000 people in Nebraska are waiting for their relief to arrive.

Albin also said the state will move Thursday morning to run about 8,000 people through its system who aren't normally entitled to unemployment benefits.

Nebraska has paid out $79 million in unemployment benefits dating back to March 8.

That's the same amount the state paid in the entire 2019 fiscal year.

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