, Newburyport, MA

Local News

September 19, 2013

O'Connor Ives: Benefits troubles need 'immediate attention'

Senator urges state to hold Deloitte financially responsible

NEWBURYPORT — With the state’s unemployment rate rising to 7.2 percent in recent weeks, the number of Bay Staters seeking desperately needed benefits is ever growing. More than two months after the state acknowledged it was having problems with its new unemployment benefits computer system, UI Online, affected residents, including many in the Greater Newburyport area, are still struggling to receive benefits.

The ongoing computer problems have drawn the attention of local state Sen. Kathleen O’Connor Ives, D-Newburyport, who earlier this week complained to Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development Secretary Joanne F. Goldstein.

In a letter dated Sept. 17, O’Connor Ives wrote that the issue required immediate attention and the state needed to hold the company it hired, Deloitte Consulting, financially responsible for what she called serious technical failings.

“Taxpayer dollars should not be expended to pay for mistakes with their product. There should be an immediate stop-gap remedy so that residents can obtain their anticipated benefits during this time when Deloitte Consulting is attempting to correct their systems,” said O’Connor Ives in a separate statement.

Many claimants have expressed frustration, saying they could not file claims electronically through the state and that it was nearly impossible to reach an agent on the phone to resolve issues.

According to O’Connor Ives, her office has recently received about a dozen calls from Greater Newburyport residents who initially tried, but were unable to access the state’s unemployment system. The results have been disastrous. One constituent reported she has not received any unemployment compensation since the end of June.

“This added economic stress has forced one of my constituents to pay his mortgage with a credit card, while another woman faced the possibility of withdrawing her child from school due to an inability to pay for the services,” the senator wrote to Goldstein.

Text Only | Photo Reprints

Port Pics
AP Video
Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue Raw: Corruption Trial Begins for Former Va Gov. The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming UN Security Council Calls for Gaza Cease-fire Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating 13 Struck by Lightning on Calif. Beach Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Israel, Hamas Trade Fire Despite Truce in Gaza Italy's Nibali Set to Win First Tour De France Raw: Shipwrecked Concordia Completes Last Voyage Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge From Nest Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage Virginia Governor Tours Tornado Aftermath Judge Faces Heat Over Offer to Help Migrant Kids Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma More M17 Bodies Return, Sanctions on Russia Grow
Special Features