Tennessee Revamps Website For Access To Unemployment Benefits

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(Memphis) Sharon Turks knows plenty about frustration.

She ran into it when the office she used to go to for unemployment benefits closed.

Now she must go online or try to get through on crammed phone lines.

"You are putting us in an awkward position in order to get what we need. Not only are you putting us in an awkward position, you are also delaying the process in order for us to pay our bills," says Turks.

The Tennessee Department of Labor says there are only 200 people to work 500 phone lines that can get up to 30,000 calls a day.

"We wish we could have more people to work the phones and do that sort of thing, but the truth of the matter is we have to rely on technology," says Jeff Hentschel, with the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce.

The state has revamped its technology.

Now people can fill out a form on the website if they have a problem.

They will get a call back within two days.

Coming in December, the online system that proves you still qualify for unemployment will allow you to correct any mistakes, without locking you out of benefits.

You will also be able to change your pin online.

Early next year, there will be a new internet filing system that can be accessed 24 hours a day and not just to get benefits.

"Not only are you filing for unemployment, but it will start sending you job openings that are in your field." says Hentschel.

It's good news for those who have been waiting for help.

"Things are too hard now for people to be delayed," says Turks.

Shelby County was one of the last areas to lose walk-in unemployment offices backĀ  in June.

The Labor Department says all the upgrades to the on-line system will be up and running by this first quarter of 2014.