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Politics & Government

Delays in unemployment benefits due to budget cuts at Job Service North Dakota

Some unemployed workers who file claims with Job Service North Dakota are finding it’s taking longer for them to receive jobless benefits.

Job Service says because of federal budget cuts, the agency has had to close 7 offices across the state, and eliminate 60 jobs. At the same time, claims are up.

"12,392 claims have been filed since the first of the year," said Job Service director of unemployment insurance Darren Brostrom. "If you look at 2015 at this time, it was 10,192. In 2014, it was 7,636. And in 2013, it was 7,351."

Brostrom says if you go back earlier than 2013, it would be in the 7,000 to 8,000 range.

Job Service director Cheri Giesen says the increased numbers of jobless claims has meant a delay in some people receiving benefits.

"A little more than half the individuals who file for unemployment insurance will receive their benefit payments in about 14 to 21 days," Giesen said. "Now we know the rest of the individuals probably have an issue on their claims. When that happens, that goes into a queue, and we are experiencing 7 to 8 week delays in making those determinations for those individuals."

Giesen says Job Service is looking at ways to help reduce that time. And she says when Job Service announced it was closing offices, it committed to sending staff to those communities to help with outreach efforts. She says that process is underway.

Offices in Valley City, New Town, Oakes, Harvey, Beulah, Grafton and Rolla have either closed or are closing.

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