Updated: April 04, 2020 10:33 AM
Created: April 02, 2020 04:47 PM
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.- Thousands of people in New Mexico applied for unemployment benefits in the last week of March.
Bill McCamley, the secretary of the Workforce Solutions, said his team has been faced with an unprecedented challenge.
“I’m sorry for this situation, and we understand that this process has been frustrating for a lot of people," he said. "There’re no illusions here that everything is perfect.”
McCamley said his department is working to get more people to handle the phones.
"We crashed trained about 50 people last week," he said.
About 30 of those people are already answering calls, according to McCamley said. And more help may be on the way.
"We are looking to find some retirees who have some experience in this that we can bring back temporarily, and we’re looking to get some help from other state agencies," he said.
McCamley said despite some hiccups, their website has been the greatest tool for unemployed New Mexicans.
"Our website has so many more applications and certifications than then we’ve previously ever seen – and while some other states out there have websites that have crashed or gotten so slow that they’re basically not even working – our website has stayed functional," he said.
The week before the public health emergency, New Mexico had around 800 unemployment claims. In the last full week of March, there were 32,000 claims, according to McCamley.
McCamley said the high number isn't all bad.
"At the end of the day, that’s the message. If we stay home, if we socially distance ourselves, we’re going to help flatten the curve on this virus," he said. "Less people are going to get sick. Our hospitals aren’t going to get overrun at the end of the day we can get back to our normal lives sooner than later. And get back to work.”
To apply for benefits online, click here or call 1-877-664-6984 on the day that corresponds with the last number of your Social Security:
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