COVID-19 Response Timetable

Posted on Mar 9, 2021 in News
March 6, 2020 COVID-19 Workplace Safety Posted OSHA workplace COVID-19 Guidance
March 12 COVID-19 Workplace Safety Posted OSHA’s Classifying Worker Exposure to SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19)
March 17 UI Appointments Appointment only Instituted to effect crowd control & exposure to COVID-19
March 18 Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFRCA) Division C Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act, Division D Emergency Unemployment Insurance Stabilization and Access Act of 2020 (modifies its unemployment compensation law and policies with respect to work search, waiting week, good cause, or employer experience rating on an emergency temporary basis as needed to respond to the spread of COVID-19, temporary relief of UI loan advances through 12/31, 100% funding of EB, waiting week), Division E Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act
March 18 Mainframe Mainframe degrades & cannot process all claim applications
March 23 Webform Application Allows all claimants to file applications 24/7, but creates huge burden on back-end processing to make corrections
March 23 Keeliikolani Bldg Call Center Set up telephones in multiconference room
March 25 38 DLIR Workers Redeployed Set up workstations in multiconference room
March 27 CARES Act PEUC, PUA, FPUC 1 enacted, also 50% federal funding for non-profit employers’ UI benefit charges—all of which requires programming with the mainframe
March 28 RUDDER Reducing Unemployment Disruption & Driving Economic Regeneration launched, $500 for new employees to offset training & associated costs, $500 more after 6-month retention
April 4 COVID-19 FAQS Comprehensive DLIR FAQs in response to COVID-19
April 6 Entrepreneurs Sandbox, 38 additional DLIR workers redeployed Entrepreneurs Sandbox call center goes live, set up workstations for DLIR workers to access the mainframe UI program
April 7 FPUC FPUC implemented 10 days after enactment, $600 FPUC available to eligible claimants
April 13 Hawaii State Library 20 HSPLS staff set up with access to UI program and begins helping process claims
April 14 Inquiry Portal Gives claimants the ability to check on their claim status24/7
April 20 Hawaii Convention Center Processing Center with 360 staff & volunteers in multiple ball rooms processing claims, involved setting up 360 workstations
April 28 PUA PUA program implemented 1 month after enactment DLIR & DoTAX procure vendor and set up web-based program for PUA claims
May 1 Hawaii Convention Center Additional 170 volunteers trained
May 2 Phase 1 Migration of SQL certification gateway, SQL replicated database established Measures reduce load on the mainframe expanding processing capability, replicated database and mainframe synchronize
May 8 Mainframe DLIR given additional, dedicated resources on the state’s mainframe
May 9 Phase 2 Migration Amazon Cloud Front reduces impact of bots and ability to manage front end traffic in the UI portal
May 10 Server Capacity 15 servers to process initial and weekly claims
May 11 Alpha claim certifications Claim certification by first letter of last name to spread the load on the mainframe during the week
May 17 Extended Benefits Hawaii triggers on 13 additional weeks of benefits available after exhausting regular UI or PEUC
May 18 PEUC PEUC implemented 1.5 months after enactment, 13 weeks of additional benefits available via the portal after exhausting regular UI
May 27 Fraud Notice DLIR issues fraud alert
June 29 Hawaii Convention Center Phone capacity expanded – Mon-Wed-Fri 7a-6p inbound, Tue-Thur 7a-noon inbound, outbound 12-6p, Sat outbound only 8a-6p
July 7 Fraud Notice DLIR issues notice of FBI announcement of UI fraud with stolen identity information
July 25 FPUC Program expires
August 8 Lost Wages Assistance (LWA) President launches FEMA LWA program. requires programming on the mainframe
September 12 LWA Self-Certification Self-certification on the UI portal enables LWA claimants to self-certify that their unemployment is due to the disruptions caused by COVID-19
September 14 Reimbursable Employers Funds available from the CARES Act for reimbursable employers, provides emergency funds to help mitigate economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic by allowing these organizations up to 50% reimbursement of benefits charges for weeks of unemployment between March 13, 2020 and December 31, 2020. Only nonprofit employers that make payment in lieu of contributions are eligible for the reimbursement.
September 21 LWA 1.5 months after enacted, LWA provides six weeks of an additional $300 benefits
September 23 LWA Funds Staggered distribution of funds to claimants of current unemployment insurance programs including the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program. With the assistance of the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency (HI-EMA), the DLIR received approval to pay six weeks of benefits from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
September 30 Virtual Call Center Launched with vendor with 200 agents taking and making phone calls
October 21 Adjudication Unit Launched with vendor with 100 agents performing adjudications
October 24 Extended Benefits (EB20) Extended Benefits for UI or PEUC exhaustees EB available
December 16 Special Project Call Center Received Gov’s approval for project with100 positions to staff an internal call center at the Hawaii Convention Center
December 21 Congress passes CARES Act extensions – Continued Assistance Act (CAA) Modifies or extends to March 14, 2021 many of the relief programs first created in March 2020 by the CARES Act, including three expanded unemployment insurance benefits programs & a new benefit program for “mixed earners”:

1.      FPUC at $300 (+11 weeks)

2.      PEUC extended to 24 weeks (+11 weeks)

3.      PUA extended to 50 weeks (+11 weeks), requires weekly certification of eligibility due to COVID-19 disruptions

4.      Mixed earner compensation – additional $100 for certain claimants

5.      Extends through March 14, 2021 a provision in the CARES Act which amended the Families First Coronavirus Response Act to provide federal support to cover 50% of the costs of unemployment benefits for employees of state and local governments and non-profit organizations.

6.      Extends through March 14, 2021 the CARES Act provision which gave state unemployment offices temporary, emergency authority to use “non-merit” staff.

7.      Extends through March 14, 2021 the provision in the Families First Coronavirus Response Act which provided temporary full federal financing of Extended Benefits (EB) for high-unemployment states. States are normally required to pay 50 percent of the cost of EB, which is a program in permanent law.

8.      Extends through March 14, 2021 the waiver of interest on federal loans states have taken in order to pay state unemployment benefits.

December 26 CARES Act Expires DLIR takes FPUC, PEUC and related CARES Act provisions offline
December 27 President signs the CAA Requires programming with the portal and mainframe to bring programs online
December 30 Special Project Adjudication Unit Received Gov’s approval for hiring 75 positions to staff an adjudication unit at the Hawaii Convention Center
January 9, 2021 PUA Extension Launched 1.5 weeks after enactment PUA extension
January 15 PEUC Benefits 2.5 weeks after enactment programming completed for extending PEUC to regular UI claimants that exhaust allowing them to file and certify
January 19 Bilingual Call Center Staff Special project UI call center recruited staff that speak the following languages: Ilocano, Tagalog, Japanese, Korean, Mandarin, Pohnpei, Spanish, German and Visayan
January 23 Form 1099-G DLIR mails federal & state tax benefits statement
January 26 FPUC $300 Launched 1 month after enactment
January 30 Email to claimants that filed for EB20 Email 12/15-12/28 Email to claimants that filed for EB 12/15-12/28 – programming updates and federal funding has allowed the department to offer a choice of either EB20 or PEUC for claimants that filed for EB20 between Dec. 15, 2020 and Dec. 28, 2020
February 4 UI Modernization Project The DLIR Data Station will replace all current essential Benefits, Tax and Appeals UI functionality with cloud-hosted, software-as-a-service application. 18 month implementation timeline.
February 8 IRS Fraud Guidance Taxpayers who are unable to obtain a timely, corrected form from states should still file an accurate tax return, reporting only the income they received. A corrected Form 1099-G showing zero unemployment benefits will be issued by the DLIR.
February 16 PEUC 2 Launched 1.5 months after enactment, 11 additional weeks with a “soft” phaseout for four weeks to April 10
February 19 U.S.DOL Fraud Grant The U.S. DOL provided funding to the first 28 of the states and territories to apply and will assist them with administrative expenses incurred from implementing the new identity verification requirement for the PUA program and/or assist with enhancing existing identity verification tools and procedures, DLIR awarded $1.2M.
March 1 EB20 Programming initiated to turn off EB20 with the week ending 3/6
March 6 EB20 Triggers off