New Mexico’s Automated Claims System Goes Down

November 6, 2006

New Mexico’s Labor Department’s system for processing unemployment insurance claims and checks went down last week, resulting in a deluge of calls to the agency.

The department’s phone lines have been jammed since a glitch briefly shut down the computer system last Monday. The wait was initially an hour, but that has been trimmed to about 45 minutes.

“The problem has been identified and fixed,” Labor Secretary Conroy Chino said in a news release issued last Tuesday. “However, the call center is being inundated with calls right now and it’s tying up phone lines. We are asking those calling in to be patient.”

Chino has urged benefit recipients to call the agency’s call center later this week or at night, when it’s not as busy.

Department spokesman Carlos Castaneda said the call volume was expected to level off.

Despite last week’s glitch, Castaneda said the new system is a dramatic improvement over its predecessor and has resulted in speedier processing of benefit checks.

The launch of the new system in January followed four years of delays, and its price tag quadrupled to $14.5 million, according to an audit by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Inspector General.

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